Meal Prep Is A Life SaverIf you have trouble staying on track with healthy eating during the week, meal prep will be your savior. No excuses because the meals are already made. I have been meal prepping for years now and it has been essential to staying on track with my health journey. Meal prepping holds you accountable all week, you never settle for anything less than a nutritious meal. Eating out is expensive, you will save some serious money by choosing to meal prep, so get ready to see your money grow! Another perk, is that you are optimizing your health and will feel energized all day long. I began meal prepping in college because I was so busy running from class, to meetings, to work. To stay energized and on my A game I meal prepped. This way I could enjoy a healthy, nutritious and energizing meal. Snacks are also a life savor, when 3:00 p.m. hits and I experience fatigue, instead of reaching for a coffee, I always have a nourishing snack on hand. With a busy schedule, full course load, work and club meetings meal prep and batch cooking has positively transformed my health. The best part is, I look forward to Sunday’s where I spend my time in the kitchen, listening to music, candle lit, cooking beautiful meals.
What is meal prepping?Meal prepping is the decision to prepare your meals ahead of time so that you are sustained throughout the day or the week ahead. Instead of purchasing frozen meals that you heat and serve, you consume higher quality, unprocessed meals that you have created. Meal prepping is truly a form of self love, one prepped meal at a time. The meals you create are balanced, nutritious, satisfying and healthy.
Meal prepping will save you time and empowers you to make a healthier choice, without a second thought. Your meals will be portioned and satisfying, you will never reach for a quick and processed snack or meal again. Planning is a virtue!
Choose A DayFirst, take a look at your calendar and choose a day as your Meal Prep Day. Make sure you have enough time to go to the store and pick up groceries, put them away and begin meal prepping. Meal prepping takes about two hours after cooking and clean up. There are 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week, you can find a time that works for you and make meal prep a weekly priority. If you want to stay on track in 2018, meal prep is your solution!
Choose A MealThroughout the day it is best to consume food every 3-4 hours. Over the course of my nutrition journey, I find that my energy is sustained all day when I eat 4-5 small meals rather than three large meals. I highly recommend this approach because you will not run into that 10:00 a.m. fatigue or 3:00 p.m. wall of exhaustion. At first, it may be hard to choose which meals to prep, so I suggest thinking about your daily routine and prepping the meal that your time seems most limited. For example, most people I coach feel they find it challenging to eat healthy at lunch and dinner. So they will meal prep for lunch and batch cook for dinner. Roasted vegetables are great to batch cook, you can add them as a nutritious side to your dinner. The more consistently you meal prep, the easier meal prep becomes! It will become second nature after two weeks, and you will be excited to try out new recipes.
Choose A RecipeNow you can have fun and choose your recipes! I recommend keeping a Pinterest board of meal prep recipes. You can choose to consume the exact same meal everyday or create a variety of different meals. The choice is yours! I know I love variety so I will create all different meals that include different seasonings, spices, herbs and vegetables. Whatever meal you choose to create, focus on balance and adequate portion sizes. Protein portions are the size of your palm, include whole grains, healthy fats, fruits and/or vegetables.
Why Prep Ahead?
- It is a fun and enjoyable activity
- Saves so much time
- Relieves you from stressing out about cooking after a long day
- Holds you accountable to your health goals
- Makes you excited for your next meal
- Saves money
Meal Prep Essentials
- Fresh ingredients – Trader Joe’s, Farmers Market, etc.
- Ziploc bags
- High-Speed Blender
- Large Bowls
- Airtight Glass Containers
- Good Recipes!
- A cooking playlist
R E C I P E SVariety is very important when it comes to meal prepping right! You have two choices you can meal prep the exact same thing to enjoy everyday or you can incorporate different vegetables, proteins and herbs. On weeks your meal prep time is more limited and, cooking the exact same meal in a large batch will save time. If you have more time, create a variety so that you do not get sick of consuming the same meal.
Variety is the spice of lifeEnsure that your recipes include a protein, complex carbohydrate, healthy fat, vegetables and/or fruits. Herbs are a great way to add flavor and each herb offers different nutrients which will benefit your body. I love adding cilantro, basil, parsley, mint, rosemary or thyme. At the beginning of each week I will prep a batch of unflavored quinoa. You can use it all week to make a variety of different healthy & clean meals. You can enjoy quinoa in the morning warmed up with coconut milk, drizzle of maple syrup, cinnamon and fresh fruit. For lunch you can add it to a salad for extra protein. And at dinner you can use it in a stir-fry with olive oil, gf soy sauce, garlic and vegetables. Or make a Mexican quinoa bowl with grilled chicken, black beans, avocado, cilantro, tomatoes, peppers and onion. There are variety of clean meals you can create for meal prep on-the-go.
Breakfast–Protein smoothies -Overnight oats with fruit, chia & nut butter –Baked banana bread oatmeal -Greek yogurt, berries & granola -Hard boiled eggs with avocado toast -Almond butter, peanut butter
Lunch/Dinner-Tossed salad dressing on the side –Butternut squash soup in a mason jar -Complex carbohydrates (quinoa, brown rice, forbidden black rice, sweet potato) -Protein (hard boiled egg, chicken, fish) -Vegetable protein: chickpeas, edamame, black beans, tofu -Additions: nuts, avocado, hummus -Baked vegetables
Snacks-Vegetables & hummus -Homemade trail mix (nuts, seeds, shredded coconut) -Gluten free crackers -Granola -Fruit & nut butter -Greek yogurt
I hope this read helps you become an expert meal prep and keeps you on track with your health goals! If you have any favorite meal prep recipes, tips, cooking methods, etc. Share yours in the comments below, we would love to see them!