I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty busy during the work week. If I’m not in-between class and work last year, running from one part-time job to another this summer, or spending all day at the school when I start student teaching in the fall, I just don’t have time.
Maybe you’re with me. Life’s is busy and it’s just easier to grab some quick fast food or a cafeteria lunch, right? Wrong! There is a way to feel good about your meal choices, eat healthy all week, and still have time to smell the flowers.
The secret? Meal prep.
So what the heck is meal prep? Take the picture above. First thing’s first, you have to grab ingredients and food that you know you’re going to eat during the week. [To read more about grocery shopping, click here.]
Remember you want quantity but also interest. That means making/prepping things in bulk, but also giving yourself enough variety so it doesn’t feel like you’re eating the same thing every day. So grab ingredients that will make multiple meals and snacks.
Example: I typically eat a salad, some type of entree [sandwich, soup, leftover stir-fry, pasta, etc.] fruit/veggies, granola/chips/carb snack, and a yogurt everyday. So I’ll grab enough of those ingredients to pack for the next day, few days, or even the entire week.
Then, think 6 small meals per day. This is the best way to keep your metabolism up and promote weight loss! Yay! So as you’re prepping, make sure to have a bunch of things for each day. And no, I don’t mean a ton of food, but a ton of snacks.
Tip #1: Make multiples. Prep for your week by making multiples. For me, this means making four salads and packing them in Tupperware for each transport. I’ll use different veggies, toppings, and dressings to switch things up and give myself interest for each day. [For some salad ideas, click here.]
Tip #2: Plan ahead and make a list. Sometimes it helps me to plan ahead by making a list. I’ll look at what I bought from the grocery store and use my groceries to help map out my food during the week.
Tip #3: Divide and conquer! When I cook, I always make large quantities. This helps, because I can divide my leftovers into small containers and take some to work for lunch! [Tupperware is your best friend in meal prep!]
Tip #4: Fruits, veggies, and snacks! Don’t forget snacks! Your meal prep isn’t just the standard three-meals-per-day. Plan for snacks–granola, yogurt, dry cereal, multi-grain chips, granola bars, crackers and cheese, etc. [PSA: Fruits and veggies make great snacks too!]
Tip #5: Invest in a cooler/portable lunchbox. This will save you by keeping your food cold and letting you keep all your snacks and food in one place.
Plan for at least 20-30 minutes for meal prepping. It does take a little time, but think of the time you’re saving during the week! Wash all your containers/Tupperware at the end of the week and start all over again!
And also, make it fun! I love playing music or talking on the phone while preparing my meals. Don’t think of it as a chore. You’re making great, healthy food to have all week so make things you love and enjoy the time doing it!