Meal-Prepping Like A Pro
Updated: Jan 30, 2020
The ball has dropped, the corks have popped, and the clock has struck midnight. Now that we’re a few weeks into the new year, the newness of those shiny little resolutions is probably starting to fade (you can check out my perspective on the whole “resolutions” thing here. The motivation you were feeling might be waning. Now you’re running on pure grit and determination.
But if you’re like over half of Americans that made resolutions to eat healthier this year, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed on where to start. Taking the guess-work out of healthy eating is the best way to remove as many of the barriers to entry. And the best way to do that is through meal prep.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, meal prep or meal prepping is all about putting in the hours upfront that get everything ready for the week as far as food goes. Some people have everything pre-cooked so that at meal time all you have to do is heat. Some people just do all the washing, chopping, and measuring beforehand. How detailed you get is up to you and you’ll find yourself a comfortable groove once you get going.
But first, you’ve gotta start. I’ve got a strategy that you can start THIS WEEK.
1. Calendar it out.
Whenever I’m meal prepping, I love to start the whole process on Friday night so that I can hit the stores Saturday morning. You really can start whatever day you want but I personally need to be prepared food-wise as I head into the weekend. Especially as schedules fill up, it’s so easy to throw in the towel when you know you’ve got an hour’s worth of work before you’re sitting down at the table. But if I know that when I get home from an afternoon hike all I’ve got to do is throw the chicken I shredded yesterday into tortillas and heat up the rice and veggies I already cooked, I’m way less likely to call an audible and eat out.
So first take a look at your calendar for the week and think through your 3 meals each day. Any nights you KNOW you’ll be gone or days you’ll have a lunch meeting? Those are meals you don’t have to worry about. Or if know you’ve got a practice that’ll run late into the evening, you can plan crock-pot chili ready and waiting for you at home.
2. Start simple
The easiest meal to prep for, in my opinion, is breakfast. But that’s because I don’t really have a ton of variation. Rotating through overnight oats, smoothies, and yogurt and granola gives me enough variety not to be bored but enough routine that I can knock that meal-prep out in just a few minutes. Find staples that you love and build on them.
Stick with what you know works. I know people that eat the same thing for breakfast eeevery day. Especially while you’re starting out getting into a great meal prepping routine, not changing things up very often can really help you. Just make sure that with your other meals, you’re having a variety of foods to get the whole array of nutrients your body needs. But for the first few weeks, it can be a huge life saver to know that your tried and true smoothie pack will be waiting for you in the freezer.
Side note: food boredom is a real thing. If you know that looking into the fridge on day 4 to find the same thing you’ve eaten on days 1, 2, and 3 is going to drive you straight into the arms of a McDonald’s drive-thru, give yourself freedom and plan some variety in there.