Meal prep. It’s the most dreaded part of getting into a healthy lifestyle… yes, even more than exercise. What you put in your mouth is about 70% of the equation when it comes to losing weight. Yeah, that saying “you can’t out-train a bad diet” is cliché as fuck, but it’s true. If you don’t want to pay for a meal delivery service, then meal prepping is going to be the way to go if you don’t want to cook every single day.
- Meal prepping in the beginning can be daunting and seem annoying. But, like any other healthier choice, implementing it into your new set of habits, will get easier and easier every week. Especially in the beginning of this journey, it’s a key part of keeping with it and really, it makes it easier on yourself in the long run. If the food is already prepped for the week on Sunday, all you have to do is eat it.
MAKE A PLAN
Always make a plan… there’s a saying, “failing to plan is planning to fail,” and it’s true. If you don’t set yourself up for success, you’ll likely fail. Take one day and budget yourself an hour or two to plan our all of your meals for the week.
- You already know what you like. So, making a list of those meals may be a good start. Or, at least, a list of your favorite proteins (lean meat, fish, etc) a list of veggies and carbs you like to eat.
Here are the basics to planning any meal: pick a protein, a veggie or two, and a carb… starch or fruit, your pick. Then think about any seasonings and sauces you’ll need to make it less mundane, cuz trust… you’ll get sick of plain chicken and plain broccoli after a while.
Try to center your recipes around one or two protein sources, at our house we generally do shredded chicken and ground beef. Season it with salt and pepper when you’re cooking it, then leave it in Tupperware so you can serve it up during the week with whatever seasonings you’d like.
- Sausha: I’ve found that picking two or three different protein options works best for me. For example, I really like shrimp, ground turkey and chicken. So, having that in mind, I can batch make those three proteins and then mix and match with the veggies and carbs I’ve chosen for the week. For me, it keeps it interesting, and I can add seasoning or sauces to change the flavor if I get bored.
- Once you get proteins for the week picked out, everything else naturally falls into place. Protein is super important to hit, especially in the beginning because most of us aren’t used to consuming the proper amount. So, centering everything around protein is easiest, in my opinion, especially in the beginning.
When it comes to making sure you’re getting all your veggies, steamer bags are your friend. Stock up on them, huge variety and very low effort when it comes to cooking them.
- As far as veggies and/or fruit, and carbs, keep my favorites on hand, so that way, if you don’t feel like one, you can fill in with another. Go for broccoli, strawberries, blueberries, apples and bananas.
- It makes it super easy on yourself in the beginning to get some nice containers so you can portion each meal and then it really makes it grab and go.
Once you’ve made your menu for the week, it’s time to think about groceries. Make a list. It will help you stay on track when you’re shopping, and it gives you no excuse to slip those… extra items… into your cart.
- Sausha: Shopping is my favorite part. I love the grocery store. I always make a list before I go and I don’t ever go when I’m hungry. Personally, if I go hungry, I’m going to end up grabbing stuff that I don’t actually want and less desirable options and snacks just because I’m hungry.
Make sure you stock up on plenty of fruits, veggies, starches, protein, dairy (or not), and nuts… it’s better to have a little more than you need, than not having enough to get you through the week.
- I try to make my list based on produce first. Typically. In most stores, it’s the first thing you see when you walk in, so that’s always my starting point. Then I put my protein next on the list. I’ll pick my three and then I try to think of some options I like for snacks. I always try to grab some egg whites, whole eggs, plain greek yogurt (and flavored), almonds, cottage cheese, deli meat, beef jerky, even protein bars for when I’m low on time and need a good balance of protein, carbs and fat (quest are my go to because they taste the best to me and are really well balanced). Carbs are usually the last thing I add to my list. I always have whole wheat bread on hand. Typically I have the fruits and veggies I listed before and I always try to have potatoes and sweet potatoes on hand because they’re my favorite complex carb. Plush, they can be made any way you feel like. Mashed, hashed, smashed and baked. (baked sweet potatoes with savory seasoning are my jam)
- I also try to pick up some treats for the week. It varies, but something like natural fruit strips, ritz baked crisps etc are things I like to have because they satiate that carby, salty or sweet cravings I get and they don’t break the caloric bank.
- One other note I’d like to add – if you hate the texture of yogurt, you can always add in some all bran buds, hemp hearts or cacao nibs. Bran buds add some crunch and texture and also some fiber (for your poops!)
- It’s also good to figure out lower fat/sugar/ calorie options for your condiments. Start reading your nutrition and ingredients labels so you know what you’re putting in your body.
- Join your preferred store’s rewards program, it will save you a lot of money in the long run. When it comes to frozen foods and meats, shop sales and buy a little extra and freeze it… grocery stores have a usual rotation of what they put in their ads, so learn your store’s schedule and save yourself some cash.