Picture this scenario: You’ve been working all day, and it was rough! You didn’t even have time to eat your entire lunch, so you’re starving. You get home and go directly to the fridge. What do you think you will grab? Well, if you prepped your meals, you would have healthy meals and snacks right there, conveniently ready to eat. Without prepping meals, you may be more inclined to grab a less healthy, convenient option that interferes with your health and wellness goals.
Meal prepping is used for assembling meals ahead of time to have healthy meals and snacks ready to go. It also allows you to pre-portion food, making it less likely that you will overeat. Meal prepping is beneficial for everyone, especially those who are exceptionally busy, on the go, or focused on portion control.
Here are some tips for meal prepping so that you may prepare for the week ahead and set yourself up for success.
Put aside time to compile a list of foods and meals you want to eat for the following week. Make sure to plan out your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for at least five days. Don’t forget healthy snack options!
Take a look in your pantry, fridge, or freezer for ingredients you may already have and take note of them.
Make a list of any food items you do not already have for the meals and snacks you want to prepare.
Sunday is a popular day for grocery shopping and meal prepping. We recommend choosing whichever day is your weekend to give yourself plenty of time to shop, prep, and set yourself up for the week ahead.
Go to the grocery store to get any of the items you may be missing.
Set time aside to prepare the meals you have planned. It is beneficial to do this the same day you get your groceries!
Put your meals into containers, label them, and store them in the fridge or freezer.
Meals that you’ll eat within the next couple of days can be kept in the refrigerator. The rest can be held in the freezer.
It can be challenging to try and make a week’s worth of meals in one day. We understand! There are ways to make it easier:
Use the same ingredient for multiple dishes. It takes the same amount of time to cook three chicken breasts as it takes to cook one. You can cook in batches and use those ingredients to make multiple dishes. For example, chicken can be used in various dishes like pasta primavera and a chipotle chicken salad the next day.
Always keep cut fruit and vegetables on hand. If you are trying to cut down on calories and stick to your meal plan, having an array of brightly colored fruits and vegetables accessible will increase your odds of reaching for those as a snack.
Keep it simple. Don’t try to make your meals elaborate. You don’t have to eat bland food but don’t make things harder on yourself than you have to.
Cook meals in batches and then freeze the rest. If you make a beef stew, cook more than you need so that you can freeze part of it for a meal in another week. After doing this for a few weeks, you’ll find that you will always have a few frozen meals ready for the upcoming week.
Make meal prep fun! Put on some music or a movie while you’re chopping vegetables, or have a video call with a friend while you both meal prep. You’re setting yourself up to reach your goals for the week ahead and reducing stress simply by prepping and planning.
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