Have you ever heard the saying “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail?” Well, planning your meals ahead of time is a great way to make sure you stay on track (no fails here!). To take meal planning one step further, you can pre-prep your meals to make eating healthy easier, and faster. How many times have to you waited too long to eat and then you grabbed the first thing you saw because you were starving? If you have healthy food ready to go then there’s no opportunity to grab unhealthy choices.
I know that for a beginner meal prepping can seem like a daunting task. Have no fear, I’m about to make it much easier for you. It may take a little more work up front, but trust me it will make your life a lot easier in the long run. You’re going to need some containers for all of the food you will be prepping so I suggest you invest in some if you don’t already have them. You can even get nice ones with dividers to help manage portion sizes here.*
So, you are going to start by planning out your meals for the week and write out a grocery list. Buy ONLY what is on your list. Do not give into temptations or any of those impulse buys. Once you have all of the necessary ingredients you can begin your meal prep!
Meal Prep Tips
- Roast different vegetables with the same cooking times all at once.
- Try overnight oats for a grab-and-go breakfast.
- Bag and freeze smoothie ingredients. Pop them in the blender in the morning.
- Lay out all of your ingredients before you start (in order!).
- Multitask- cook multiple things at once. Use a crockpot and the oven, the stovetop… just don’t take on too much and forget about what you have cooking 😉
- Cook the same food with different seasonings. For example, split your vegetable for the week into 3 different portions, then season them with different herbs and spices. You can still cook them together and this way you have variety with your meals.
- Batch tasks. Cut up all like items before moving onto a next one. Be sure to use sanitary techniques to avoid cross contamination between meats and produce. (You could also buy color coded cutting boards* that have an individual cutting board for each food group to help prevent cross contamination.)
- Clean up the dishes as you go so you can save time on clean up later.
- Eat before you prep so you’re not snacking on the food you’re preparing.
- Make it a family affair. Have friends and family help and have fun!
Don’t get discouraged if it takes you awhile the first couple of times that you prep your meals. Once you get into a routine you can easily get meal prep down to an hour or less. For food safety reasons, I recommend only prepping 3-5 days worth of meals at a time (with the exception of items that you will be freezing). If you are stumped on meal prep ideas Pinterest is a great place to look for recipe ideas. Until you get used to meal prepping I also recommend starting with simple recipes that only require a few ingredients, then get more fancy and creative as you get better at cooking and prepping.
What tips and tricks help you all with meal prep?
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