Meal prepping is hard. Well that’s a lie, it’s not really hard, it’s just time-consuming. VERY time-consuming … Around this time of year a lot of people are putting their New Year’s resolutions to work, starting to eat healthier, and maybe attempting this whole meal prep idea. To those of you who are new to meal prepping: it’s preparing a good chunk of your foods ahead of time so that you have healthy snacks ready to grab and go when you’re on the run. Or if you’re like me, saving yourself from coming in the door at the end of the day, famished, and ready to eat everything in sight. Meal prepping helps me go for the healthy prepared salad or fruit, rather than the chips and salsa. Those small adjustments can make a big impact on your health journey!
Meal prepping helps me a lot, BUT I want to be honest about how I feel about it, because it’s a true LOVE-HATE relationship.
I love it because I need it…
Eating healthy and putting good nutritious foods into my body is a non-negotiable in my life. It’s a “must-have” and not a “nice-to-have”, and because of that, I will figure out ways to make that happen and meal prepping helps me achieve that goal.
I hate it because it takes so much time…
If you follow me on Instagram you will see that I meal prep for about 3-4 hours on Sundays or Saturdays. I prep my lunches, every dinner, and make sure I have breakfast stuff ready to go. I try to eat every 3-4 hours, so I have two lunches instead of one, which makes it a little more timely. Overall the time that it takes is the only thing I don’t like about it because I love to cook and knowing I am eating delicious, healthy meals. So it’s all worth it in the end!
Meal prepping and committing to eating healthier, is exactly that, a commitment. It’s a sacrifice, and you have to make a promise to yourself that you will follow through with it.
With that said, there are ways to make it a little easier, and that’s what I want to share with you today. These are some of the things that I do to make my meal prepping process faster and easier.
1) Make sure you have enough containers, or at least matching ones!
This sounds a little nutty, but it helps. When I moved out on my own, I slowly starting stealing my mom’s Tupperware, and any time people would leave a piece of plastic containers after a party, I kept it. (So if your container is missing you now know where it is! 😉 ) Since I have slowly stolen everyone else’s plastic containers, I now have a smorgasbord of different types and half of them don’t have tops. It could get pretty annoying when I am mid-meal prep and don’t have anything to put the food in or a top to cover it with. My advice would be to NOT do what I did, and get a set of plastic containers of your own to use. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. Marshall’s has great prices, or even Costco or Target.
2) Every week block out time to get your meal prep on:
For me this happens on either Sunday or Saturday afternoons. It will vary between those two days, but each week I add that time block in. If I have a lunch on Saturday, then I will block out time Sunday. If Sunday is full, then I will block out time Saturday. Either way, it’s happening on the weekend, and I know I have to make time for it.
When I was a kid I remember my mom doing this every Saturday morning. She would wake up and go to the grocery store and then would be halfway done with her meal prepping before us kids or my dad were even awake. Once you get into the routine and make the commitment of prepping your food every week it will turn into more of a habit. You will no longer think about the time commitment or what your giving up to make it happen, it will just be a part of what you do every weekend.
3) Plan your grocery list and your meal plan for the week BEFORE you even leave for the store:
Planning everything out ahead of time will save you SO much time. It will save you time at the store. It will save you time at home because you know exactly what you are cooking. And it will also save you money because (if you’re like me), you won’t overbuy. Too many times I have gone to the store and mindlessly strolled through the aisles picking up different things that I think look cool or fun to make. Then, I get home and have enough food for a family of five, for two weeks, or on the rare occasion, barely have enough food to get me through Tuesday. Planning or having a general idea of what you want to get is essential, and maybe just get a couple cool new foods you want to try. 😉
4) Don’t get too fancy:
There may be some people who completely disagree with me on this, but I eat a lot of the same, simple things. This way, I know that I am eating exactly what is within my plan, and when I go to the store I know exactly what I am getting and how long it will take to prep. Meal prepping should be as quick and simple as humanly possible. I partially believe this because if I got fancy I would be in the kitchen all day long, but I also don’t think it’s unnecessary. Making quick easy healthy meals makes it easier for you keep coming back to the kitchen every week to doing it again, and you know you’re going to like what you’re eating.
5) “Pre”-prep snacks and dinners:
A lot of times when people start meal prepping it will just be for lunches at work. While that is a great start, prepping snacks and dinners is next-level. When I do this, all I have to do after work is put my dinner in the over or just heat it up in the microwave. I become an absolute bear when I am hungry. I will eat everything in sight and get “hangry” to the point where my husband is literally terrified for his life… So in order to save Dan’s life, and to save myself from eating a full meal of snacks before dinner, I have to do this.
These steps have helped make my daily life much more efficient and it is easier to repeat every week, so I can stick to my health goals.
Watch out for upcoming blogs on exactly WHAT it is I am making for my meals.=]
Until then– happy prepping!