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.
MAKE A PLAN
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
1. You’ve made your list, and you’ve shopped… now what? Now you need to start thinking about your storage options. Are you going to use glass? Plastic? Partitioned meal prep containers? That’s completely up to you and what makes the most sense for your budget. Personally, we use the bulk meat storage option, and just weigh it out for each meal, because our fridge isn’t super large.
2. Get a few different sizes of containers, and make sure you get some little guys for your condiments. The 20-24 oz containers are good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner… and the 1 cup size containers are great for snacks.
TIME TO COOK
1. While you get used to meal prepping, set aside a 2-4 hour block once a week to prep your food… Sunday is a good day for this because it sets you up for a work week full of awesome food, with a meal or two available if you want to get delivery or go out to eat. If you want to cook more than once a week, set aside 1-2 hours on Sunday and Wednesday for meal prep.
2. Cook all of your protein at the same time. This is where I love the instant pot, because you can literally throw pounds of chicken in there and it will cook perfectly in less than 45 minutes. While the chicken is getting tasty in the instant pot, brown your ground beef. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, this is a good time to prep your tofu, beans, lentils, quinoa… whatever your favorite protein options are.
3. How are you going to cook your veggies? Roasted, steamed, raw? Cut and prep all of your veggies once your protein is finished, cut them the same size so everything finishes at once. Don’t forget the salt and pepper!
4. Now that veg is handled, cook your starches if you’re going to have rice or quinoa on the menu. Got potatoes? Get them hacked up and cook them on a different pan while you cook your chicken in the oven.
5. Let’s talk breakfast. Breakfast is essential, and it can be whatever you want it to be… if you’re not into eggs and ham, make yourself a second lunch and take that as your breakfast… whatever you choose, just make sure you’re eating breakfast because it sets the tone for the rest of your day. Easy breakfast options are: egg bakes, omelets, protein muffins, oatmeal, and cereal.
Meal prep doesn’t have to be super complicated, don’t get fancy, and you’ll be just fine. It’ll take you a couple of weeks to find your groove, but be patient… you can do this. If you have meal prep questions, or need some inspiration, hit us up.