I’ve been there… “I’m going to start meal prepping!” Is something I’ve told myself a number of times. I get all serious, plan out my meals for the week, iron out the details and jot down the specifics. My motivation to be consistently healthy throughout the week is at an all time high, I’m gleaming and determined on my way to the store, where I buy my groceries, then head home to prepare all the food. I finish my cooking, put all the food in separate containers and have everything ready to go for the following day. Awesome!
Then Thursday rolls around…
Maybe it’s been a hectic week or a busy day, and I realize I forgot my food at home.. Great.
This is where my subconscious mind takes over, you know, the voice inside your head encouraging you to make all those bad decisions?
“You’ve done great so far this week, you deserve a day off.”
“One cheat meal isn’t going to kill you.”
Well, one cheat meal turns into two, and next thing you know you’ve spiralled into a food coma and you come to only to realize you ate an entire bag of cool ranch doritos and washed it down with a litre of Mountain Dew. Sound familiar?
If you have a hard time consistently preparing your meals in order to stay on top of your goals (like me). Or if you’re new to meal prep and you have no idea where to begin, then this post is for you.
First of all, let me talk about some of the benefits of meal prep:
- Helps you stay consistent
- Can help to reduce stress
- Can help save money
- Ultimately saves time, and makes your life easier
- You know what you like better than anyone!
- Can tailor your meals to meet your specific goals
Getting Started with Meal Prep
The first thing that you’ll want to do is come up with a game plan. Figure out how many meals you’re going to eat each day, then figure out ingredients and how much of each ingredient you’ll need to get. Find a journal or notebook and write these things down! I find if I write these things down I am able to hold myself accountable and I have something to fall back on when I get lost.
Then, dedicate a day to making a grocery list, shopping, and cooking your food. These days may overlap but I find it’s best to get it all done in one day so I have no more worrying to do throughout the week.
Once you get your groceries you’ll need to cook the food. Start with the foods that are going to take the longest to make, and get them out of the way (I start with anything that I bake first). Season your chicken and veggies and throw them in the oven if that’s what you prefer.
TIP: Multi-task! While your chicken is in the oven, chop some vegetables, or cook your rice/pasta.
Throw on a YouTube video or your favorite podcast and get to work!
Once all your food is cooked you’ll need a place to put everything so it is easily accessible for the days to come. Let’s talk about storage.
Meal Prep Storage
When it comes to storing your meals you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of tupperware. I usually buy my containers from Walmart or Sam’s Club and they usually say ‘Meal prep containers’ or something along those lines.
TIP: Buy in bulk! The goal is to save money long term so why go out and buy fancy glass meal containers when you can get some cheap plastic ones for dirt cheap that do the job?
When storing anything that needs to be frozen such as meat or fruit that may not get eaten right away, just make sure to store in an airtight container and label when you put them in there.
Having your meals prepared and stored in the fridge ensures that whether something unexpected happens, or you’re running late in the mornings, you can just pop open the fridge, grab your meals, and head out the door.
Consistency when trying to eat healthier starts with being organized and having a plan for yourself. This is why I like to write things down in a journal or notebook, it takes all the guessing out of it!
Another thing that helps you stay consistent is eating foods that you enjoy. Maybe you don’t like plain chicken, rice, and veggies like some people and that’s fine! Take the extra 15 minutes to look up some tasty meal prep ideas online or on YouTube and experiment.
TIP: If you really struggle to stay consistent try keeping a food journal and plan out your meals the night before!
Meal prep is a great way to save some money, eliminate the stresses that come with choosing food to eat every day, and help save your most valuable resource: Your time.
Have fun with it! Throw on some music or your favorite netflix show while you cook and don’t let it become a chore.
It’s always nice to switch things up and have some variety so if you find yourself getting tired of the same old foods, look up some recipes to try out for the next week.
I hope this guide helps ease some of the stress and anxiety that comes with starting a diet and reaching your goals.If you have any questions about anything I covered, or anything at all feel free to email me at gable [at] 2020nutritionco.com !