Last Sunday I was busy and I didn’t do my usual weekly meal prep. I thought I would make time to cook on Monday night instead.
We’ll that didn’t happen…and yesterday I ate half a bag of chips for dinner.
When I get home I am exhausted and I only want to do what I want to do. Even though I enjoy cooking, after working all day, it feels like another job and I don’t want another job.
I have a system that works well, which I have been using for years, but when I don’t follow it, I end up making poor food choices all week.
When was the last time you ate a spoonful of peanut butter or had a bowl of cereal for dinner because you were too tired to make anything else?
Imagine how much time and mental energy you will have when you are not thinking (or worrying) about what you’re going to eat for dinner. You’ll feel better getting home after a long day and knowing all you have to do is heat up your food, and you’ll have so much more energy when you’re eating healthy, well balanced meals.
If that’s not enough motivation, you’ll have fewer dishes to wash, less food that goes bad in your fridge before you have a chance to cook it, AND you’ll be saving money.
You’re probably thinking, “if meal prepping is this great, amazing thing, why doesn’t everybody do it?”
Learning to meal prep is challenging. The process can be overwhelming if you’ve never tried it before. With a little bit of practice and some expert help, I can get you meal prepping in no time!
Here are my top 5 tips for meal prep newbies:
1) Make a date with yourself to meal prep on the weekend
- Prepping for the week will take 2-3 hours when you first start doing it. You’ll get faster once you have some go to recipes and more experience prepping.
- Block time off in your calendar for both grocery shopping and prepping.
- I like Sunday afternoon the best because I’m not tired from work and my food stays fresh all week.
2) Plan ahead
- Look at your schedule for the next week in advance and think about how many meals you need to make. Do you have plans to go out for dinner with a friend this week?
- I can’t eat the exact same thing for 5 days in a row or I will get bored. To keep my food interesting I use different spices on the same meat and vegetables or add a new dressing to my salad each day.
- Pick out 1-3 recipes ahead of time (preferably with ingredients that overlap), and make a grocery list so you’re only making one quick trip to the store.
- When picking recipes look for simple ones like roast vegetables with grilled chicken or a hearty salad topped with salmon.
3) You don’t have to cook all your food on prep day
- When you are first starting out, or if you can’t wrap your head around eating “leftovers” every night, stick to prep only and save the cooking for later.
- Chop up your veggies, get your spice mixtures and sauces made, and marinate your meats ahead of time. When it’s time to cook dinner you’ll feel like a chef on the food network because everything will be cut up and ready. All you have to do is toss it in a pan or in the oven.
- Any preparation you do for the week will make a difference— roast your veggies, make your salads, and get all the ingredients ready for the crock pot on prep day if you can.
4) Invest in good tupperware (this is my favorite)
- You want something large enough to hold an entire meal and rectangular, so all your meals fit nicely in your fridge.
- Leak proof, airtight containers will keep your prepped food good for the whole week and be transportable if you decide to take your meal with you.
- Glass is better than plastic so you can put the entire container right into the microwave without worrying about chemicals from the plastic leaching into your food.
- Mason jars and ziplock bags are also great to have on hand for storage.
5) Get pumped up for prep day!
- Blast your favorite music and dance around the kitchen, put on an episode of Friends in the background, or listen to a podcast.
- Make it fun so it becomes an effortless habit and you’ll set yourself up for many healthy, stress-free dinners in the future.
If you haven’t tried out my meal guide yet, get it free right here!
It’s a great way to try out meal prep without having to do any of the planning yourself. It has 3 recipes with lots of overlapping ingredients, a grocery list, and step-by-step directions with pictures to make prep day fast and easy.