One of the most common things I hear people tell me is how they feel meal planning and prepping is hard. It can seem like such a daunting task when you let it overwhelm you because you live a busy lifestyle. Living a busy lifestyle is all the reason you should get into the habit of planning your week out as much as you can. Here are a few ways you can start implementing meal prepping into your week.
A few things you should consider before getting started:
Did you write out your goals?
Are you trying to lose weight?
Gain weight? Build muscle? Save money ?
Free up time during the week ?
When it comes to being prepared, planning and prepping is key to accomplishing your health and fitness goals. It’s important to know that meal prepping doesn’t need to be done perfectly and it definitely doesn’t need to stress you out. There really are ways to make this fun and the more you do it, the easier it will become. Meal prepping doesn’t always have to happen on a sunday either. You choose what day works best for you. Social media outlets and the internet are full of resources and pictures of people with their picture perfect preps. When you’re a busy working mother like me, time is of the essence and you will be lucky to have time to plan and prep some food ahead. Believe me when I tell you, it can be done. Don’t compare your planning and prepping to someone else’s who has been doing this for a long time. Their goals are different from yours.
Do you have a system in place ?
I love to plan my week out by using this blank template. You can view and print HERE. I spend some time looking at my calendar for the week and plan out our meals for the week. If it seems like my evenings will be pressed for time, I will try to use my crockpot more. If I will be home a little earlier, I will try a new recipe. The more you discipline yourself, the more you will look forward to this process because you will feel results. When you feel results, you will notice the difference between planning and not planning. Fail to plan, plan to fail.
Some people work night shifts, some people have weekends off, or some people work weekends. This needs to be a plan that fits your lifestyle. Sometimes, just simply having a few ready -to -go meals available and on hand will give you more flexibility to pick what you eat on the go. It is the best strategy. This doesn’t have to be perfect. You learn and find a system as you go.
How do you start?
In my private health and fitness groups, we always discuss the importance of eating a good balance of lean proteins , complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. I love living by the clean eating principles because they are easy to stick to and I never feel like I’m depriving myself. I’ve been watching my portions with these awesome containers and I love them. I’ve learned so much about my nutrition in general.
I love to include a good range of fruits and vegetables into my menu. If you plan on prepping some food, I always suggest you write down a list of meals that you will want to eat during the week. You want to consider your breakfasts, am and pm snack, lunch , and dinners. If you find that you go too long without eating, planning and prepping is key. If you’re trying to make healthier choices, start by eating 5-6 small meals during the day and eating every 2.5-3 hours. This will allow more structure into your diet and will help your energy levels throughout the day. You will not have blood sugar crashes if you’re eating the right foods. I always suggest to my challengers to set an alarm on their phones to get into this habit. Its hard work when you first get started, but your body will eventually crave it and love that you are keeping it fueled throughout the day. This will also help you not overeat throughout the day.
If you fill out your menu and grocery list, you will be able to go to the store and specifically get what you need.It will also save you money in the store because you won’t spend as much buying things you don’t need. If you are someone who is making multiple people food like me, doing this will help because you need to be prepared more than ever! It makes things a bit more challenging but well worth it! Before I started my health and fitness journey, my husband was not on the same train as me and my daughter could never eat a vegetable . Lets just say that consistency and results will influence your family within time if you make this a priority. How bad do you want those goals to come true? Then stick to planning and prepping every week. You have to put in the work.
Another way you can start this process is by starting small. If you want to start making healthier choices, start small but prepping some of those healthier choices. This is a great way for you to avoid temptations . If you’re not used to cooking a lot of food and find this challenging , start by prepping just 1-3 days ahead of time. This is what really works best for me . Most of the time, I always have fresh fruit and veggies washed, pre- cut , and visible in my refrigerator. If I don’t , it’s much easier to avoid them . It’s easy to try too much too soon, get overwhelmed, and make you not want to put in the effort anymore. So give yourself a reality check and make the best choices for your lifestyle.
Keep it simple
Keeping it simple means combinations like chicken, brown rice, and broccoli for dinner, and salmon, roasted carrots, and spinach for lunch. To add flavor without calories, stock up on herbs and spices. Once this becomes a little easier, you can start preparing staples — like rice, oats, lentils, and yams — in bulk. We are huge fans of yams in this family. I will make the whole bag in the oven and use them for breakfast and dinner sometimes. You can make a pot of rice, use some now for a meal, refrigerate a portion, and freeze a portion to be used later. Find what works best for you . Do not try to make a bunch of new recipes all at once because you will overwhelm yourself.
How can you make this even easier on yourself ?
Before you start your health and fitness journey, you need to draw your line in the sand and tell yourself that you can do this. Planning and prepping takes work yet it saves you plenty of time once you get home from a long day of work and you avoid eating out because you have food easy to grab at home. Include some no-cook recipes in your meal prep too. Snacks like my favorite superfoods and foods that don’t require cooking (like salads and overnight oats) can help save time in the prep process. When prepping, use the oven to cook several things at once. Veggies can generally roast together, and there’s a reason that sheet pan dinners are so popular in this house. I definitely use my oven all the time. Another thing you can do is to avoid shying away from the Crock pot . It’s a huge time saver. Just add ingredients, set, and forget. While it’s doing the work on one recipe, you have time to focus on another.
Consider making extra of the meals you make and serve them again for breakfast and lunch. Most foods ( except soups) can also be added to an omelet for breakfast or put with a salad for lunch. Another easy trick is to make salads or store leftovers in mason jars. You want to keep the liquid ingredients at the bottom for salads, then meat/toppings, then lettuce, and store them in the fridge. Then, the meal can be re- heated easily and put onto a plate and serve. I do this all the time.
Do you meal plan? What tips do you have that have helped you ? Share below!
Are you someone trying to live a healthier lifestyle? Be sure to leave your contact info here and I will be sure to send you the details of my next Virtual Wellness Bootcamp where we focus on creating healthier habits, positive, mindset , nutrition , and fitness.