Today’s post comes from health and fitness coach, Gina Lamb. Thanks so much, Gina!
Have you heard the saying “Fail to plan and plan to fail?” So simple, and yet so true when it comes to prepping for the week ahead. Let’s be honest, whether you are a mom, dad, student or working full-time, it can be hard to make home cooked meals all the time.
I get questions and comments all the time about my prepped foods like, “I wish I could do that” or “That just seems like a lot of work” or my favorite “Will you do mine?” Ha ha.
I am here to tell you that you CAN do it and it is not as hard as you might think it is.
Does it take a little time on a Sunday, or the day of your choice? Yes. Does it take a little planning? Yes. Will it be 100% worth it? YES!
Here are my three main reasons why I meal prep.
- To save time in the morning and my sanity.
- It saves money! Eating out is expensive and adds up.
- You know what is in your food, win!
If any of these three reasons resonate with you, please read on for my meal prep tips!
OK, let’s get started.
1. Do not try to prep it all!
If this is your first time or are new to meal prep, I highly recommend you do not try and prep all your food for the whole week. This will most likely overwhelm you as it still overwhelms me.
A good starting point is to decide which meals will make the biggest difference in your week. Are your mornings hectic and you will skip breakfast or eat out?
Maybe you have time for breakfast but find your lunches and snacks would be the best. Maybe dinners bring the most stress then put together some meal starters or prep some ingredients for slow cooker recipes.
Think about your week and do what makes the most sense for you. Start with just a couple of recipes and then build from there as you get the hang of it.
2. Pick easy recipes to start with.
Trying to make an elaborate recipe will take more time and can be frustrating. We are trying to save time and if you pick something that is very time-consuming you may get frustrated and want to quit. Below are a few easy breakfast, lunch, and snack ideas to help get you started.
- Overnight oats: In a pint size jar add ¼ cup Oats, ½ cup Almond milk, 2-Tbls yogurt and mix. Top with fruit (I like blueberries or diced apple) a little sweetener if you want and cinnamon. Pop in the refrigerator and eat within 4 days.
- Smoothie packs for a smoothie: Portion out 2 cups of veggie and sliced fruit bags, toss in the refrigerator or better yet the freezer. Add to 1-2 cups of water or almond milk in your blender.
- Hard boiled eggs
- Sliced vegetable snack packs
- Nuts – ¼ C in a baggie
- Cheese slices to go with whole grain crackers
- A piece of fruit.
- I like to package up hummus or a nut butter to go with my veggies or a piece of fruit as well.
Think grab and go!
- Taco salad in a jar: In a quart size jar add dressing or salsa on the bottom then onion, corn, meat or beans, tomato then top with lettuce.
- Chicken fajita rice bowls: Season and bake chicken, bell pepper and onion to go over rice.
3. Always make the items that you need to cook first
This way as you are cutting up veggies and such your warm items have time to cool. I always look for items that I can bake together to save myself some time.
For example, if I am making chicken fajita bowls I will get my rice cooking, then slice the chicken, bell peppers and onions, toss them on a baking sheet and bake together.
Put a pan of eggs on to boil at the same time so they have the chance to cool before you refrigerate them.
Chop up your veggies, grate some cheese (optional) and this way when everything is cooked and cooled you can toss into containers and your lunches for the week are done along with a snack.
Always remember there is no right or wrong way to meal prep, just find what works best for YOU and your needs. If all you get done is hard-boiled eggs and overnight oats that is great!
Do what you can based on your time and lifestyle, every bit helps. Meal prep is to help make your life a little easier and not stress you out, so enjoy the process and only do what you can do.
Happy Meal Prepping!