I often get asked if I have any tips for meal prepping. This is SUCH a good question and YES I sure do! Before I get to my tips, I want to emphasize WHY prepping in advance is literally the KEY to staying on track with eating clean and healthy.
It’s so much harder to eat healthy on the fly, with no plan at all. If you have a plan, you’ll stick to it! Read this post about motivation. I know it’ll resonate with you, especially because we are all human and sometimes we simply don’t have the motivation to cook healthy meals, or we don’t “feel” like it. In that post I talk about how you can stay successful through those moments. And one of the keys that I talk about is planning ahead!
Here’s a few tips to make sure you are the MOST successful you can be with Meal Planning and Prepping:
1. REPEAT MEALS! This is so important to make sure you have it easy in prepping!
How I structure my week is this:
I eat the same breakfast, snacks and lunch all week. Then I alternate between 2 dinners each night of the week. I then write a new week’s plan every Sunday.
If this is not varied enough for you, alternate another dinner…or alternate your lunches as well.
The reason why I do this is because:
a) it’s WAY cheaper on groceries.
b) it’s SO MUCH easier to prep in advance this way.
So figure out what you’re cool with repeating and keep it simple for yourself.
2. COOK AHEAD!- There are various ways to do this, it’s all about finding the one that fits your schedule the very best.
a) You can cook every thing on Sunday all in one shot and be ready and packaged. If you do this method, begin with the longest cooking items first. Baking chicken, cooking meat, boiling/peeling eggs, cooking potatoes etc. (a quick tip: sweet potatoes cook in the microwave in 4 minutes with holes poked in them) While those are cooking, move onto the shorter cooking items and get those out of the way before the longer cooking items are done.
b) You can cook large batches as you go. For example, when it’s chicken night…I cook all the chicken. That way the rest of the chicken nights in the week, I’m ready to go already. When I’m ready to boil 2 eggs, I boil them all. And so on.
c) Prep only a few days ahead of time. Sometimes this really takes the overwhelm out of prepping ahead. On Sunday just cook and package 3 days worth. Then on Wednesday do the same.
3. COOKING FOR THE FAM– The hardest part is doing this kind of cooking for a family that isn’t used to eating this way. You have a few options with this, so you just pick whichever option is most realistic for you. Remember, the goal is for you to LEARN this stuff, to figure out how to structure into your life RIGHT NOW. That’s the only way you will be completely successful. Let’s face it. If something is too hard and you are meeting too much resistance, it is difficult to keep up. So don’t try to be super human. Just find the way that works for your family and stick to it.
a) Make your family eat this way with you- if you can, this is the ideal way to do this. It will not only get you healthy, but your entire family too. Taking simple ingredients and turning them into recipes is a sure way to make everyone happy also. Keep breakfasts and lunches simple. And then do a recipe for dinners.
b) Cook your meals separate than theirs- yes, this is going to take some fortitude doing this method. Some time management, and effective determination not to cheat skills. Remember, if you’re following a Love Bug Fitness meal plan, you have your cheat night once a week where you can join in the family. But if you do not think you can hang watching them eat fried chicken while you eat your grilled chicken and brussel sprouts….pick another method. Do NOT set yourself up for failure.
c) Integrate your food with theirs- Basically with this method, you ARE eating what they are eating, only a pared down version. This way is the best of both worlds, since your family will get healthier meals (and won’t even realize it) and you will stick to your plan. It does take some creativity, thought, and planning though.
Example: Your husband loves chicken enchiladas. So you make the chicken and separate out yours. You finish making his enchiladas, and use some of the sauce for you. Everyone gets a green as a side that they like and there…you’ve only cooked one meal, just separated out your premium foods from their bad.
I know these tips will help you like they’ve helped me!