If you are like me then you probably have a very busy schedule, which can make staying on a healthy diet difficult. By prepping your meals ahead of time, you get rid of all temptation to snack on junk while cooking your actual meal, eating out because you don’t feel like cooking at the end of a long day, or just choosing the most convenient food at hand. This way you have your meals and snacks ready, all measured out and hunger will not dictate what goes into your body. Sometimes meal prepping can seem like an extremely daunting task. How are you supposed to cook all your food for 7 days, in one afternoon? It’s easy actually! Follow these simple tips and you will be on your way to meal prepping in no time!
Over the last month I did a lot of trial and error and learning as I went along, and let me tell you it’s changed everything! I started because I wanted to simplify my life, eat healthy and also save money. I love cooking at home but these days I find that I rarely have anything in my fridge due to 1) lack of time to grocery shop, and 2) lack of time to cook meals everyday so food ends up going bad before I can eat it. That leaves me in a place where I eat out a LOT! I was roughly spending $20-$50 on food a day at least! On top of that my diet and weight would fluctuate due to the inconsistency in my schedule.
Since I’ve started meal prepping I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t for me. I have been asked by a lot of people who are curious about how to start meal prepping, so I thought I would share some of my tips here. We all have different lives and schedules, I encourage you to find what works for you in your life. These are just some tips of mine to get you started in the easiest way possible. As I go I learn new recipes and tricks and that’s the beauty of it! You can literally tailor YOUR meals to fit YOUR life! I hope some of this helps and inspires you to take charge of your diet in some way and create a meal prepping routine that works for you!
- Come up with a plan. I make a list of everything I am going to make and what I will need.
- Invest in GOOD tupperware. I bought mine at Target, you can also find them at Walmart. Different sizes for meals and snacks.
- Do all your grocery shopping and prepping done at once. This helped me to get it out of the way so I could enjoy my free time the rest of the week.
- Make an assembly line. Try to cook everything at once by using stove top and the oven to make your life easier and decrease prep time.
- Eat with your eyes. I like to make veggie medleys with bright colors and variety so you are not stuck with the same boring lunches. Also, mix it up a little! Who says you have to do the same thing for everyday of the week? Do a couple varieties of dishes if you like.
- Make foods that will keep. Chicken breast and turkey meat are good for meal preps. If you cook seafood, make sure you eat it the first day or two or it will go bad!
- Keep it simple. Even if you just prepare some of your meals, the stuff that takes up the most time and effort like peeling and slicing veggies, roasting, or foods that take longer to cook. Then you have done most of the work and you can simply add to it each night. For instance, you can prepare all of your quinoa, rice, veggies, and things like that ahead of time so all you have to do is add your protein. It’s a good way to save time in your day.
- Like I said, find what works for you and your life!
- Check to make sure you have all the ingredients for all recipes beforehand!
- Grocery shop for the week
- Peel, chop, cut all raw veggies for the week to put in lunch or to have as a snack (Healthy choices are easier to make when they’re ready to be eaten!)
- Repeat the process for any fruit that requires cutting to be eaten
- Prep your protein/meals
- Make specific meals to eat as alternating left overs
- Make items to store in the freezer and eat at a later time
- Make your meat “basic” to be used in a variety of ways through out the week
Now, you can take prepping as far as you want to. You can:
Cook enough protein, veggies, starches to eat for the week (keeping these items basic will make them more versatile to use during the week) OR Cook two meals to generate enough meals to alternate for the week (five-seven days of dinners)
Grab and go snacks and things that don’t need to be heated or refrigerated are good things to have on hand. Most of the time I’m running out the door, usually late to something. It’s nice to be able to grab a couple snacks to throw in my bag to have just in case hunger strikes and I need something to hold me over til I can eat a good meal. Choose snacks that aren’t going to be your crutch or vice, snacks that are more on the healthy side and full of nutrients not empty calories and sugar. Here are some of the things I’ve found. I bought a large variety so I can have different snacks to mix it up.
I discovered the “kids school lunch snacks” section at Walmart and I’m so glad I did! It’s AMAZING and so cheap! Before that I was buying popcorn and crackers and things like that in bulk and individually bagging them up in portion sized ziplock bags myself, which is a great way to save money but it’s also time consuming and the price difference isn’t worth the effort. I found these single serving sized snacks are perfect for on the go and also portion control. Buying in bulk like this is so much cheaper than buying them individually in a store. Costco would also have a bunch of to-go things like this in bulk.
I like to have healthy dips for my veggies just to mix it up a little so it doesn’t get boring. Hummus is one of my favorites. I buy different kinds and flavors and alternate them throughout the week.
You can also find 2oz portion sized cups of hummus perfect for on the go snacking!
Having healthy REAL food readily available increases your chances of eating healthy and staying on track.
I LOVE Fage yogurt! It’s pretty much the only one I really like. I was so stoked to find it on sale, 10 for $10! So I bought a lot! Good thing about these is they last longer than a week so I stalked up. With 12 grams of protein, these are perfect for on the go mornings or an after gym snack.
Hard boiled eggs are another easy and great snack to have ready, since eggs tend to take a little more preparation to cook. I will boil and peel about 7 eggs and put them in a tupperware in the fridge and eat them throughout the week. Great source of protein and nutrients.
I love having these little “snack packs” as I like to call them! I cut up a variety of fruits and veggies, depending on what’s in season and what I’m feeling like, and put them all together in a cute little tupperware. It’s great way for me to get all my veggies, snacking and staying healthy while I’m at work or on the go.
Some of the things I have here are:
- red grapes
- red bell pepper
Finally comes the main meals. I will cut and roast and cook all my veggies and sides in large amounts. Then all you have to do is create an assembly line and fill up the dishes with any variety of the ingredients you like! It’s really that simple!
This time around I chose to make:
- roasted sweet potatoes
- green beans
- falafel balls
- broccoli, cauliflower, peas, carrots, and corn medley
- lemon, rosemary quinoa with brown rice
- garlic and herb couscous
- lemon wedge
And voila! There you have one week and more of meals and snacks! Happy Prepping!
All food prepared and photographed by me!