Oh, the great and terrible meal prepping. It’s something that most of want to be healthy or improve our habits want to do, but it also over whelming! Most of all when you go on peoples Instagram and Pintrest boards and see these elaborate meal prep ideas. So many colors. So many $70 sets of Tupperware.
Have no fear and get those delusions of granger from your head. Meal prepping does not have to be scary. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Meal prepping is about doing one thing. Eliminating excuses to not eat right. Of not being able to lay out elaborate meals is a reason for not eating right, traditional full prepped meals is not serving its purpose.
Remember that meal prep is about making your life easier, not harder and you can find a style of meal prep that works for you.
Below is how I meal prep. its not exactly traditional but is probably pretty farmilliar to most people that have batch cooked and is super easy and realistic.
Where do you even start!?
Well first things first. You need to breath. Now that you’re doing that, let’s go through how to meal prep effectively.
Meal planning very rarely works. Why? Because it is really hard to stick to, sometimes because you run out of time, sometimes because you just don’t feel like what you have on your meal plan. And that’s fine! We enjoy food and we are supposed too. But after that we feel like we have fallen off the wagon and are less likely to get back on track.
Instead of beating yourself up or setting yourself up to feel food guilt, set yourself up for success.
First things first, take stock of what is already in your fridge and pantry. Clean out expired items and donate what you can to food banks and shelters. Remember that if you have something in your home, chances are you or someone you love is going to eat it so if you are trying to be better about something, its better not to have it there. e
This is also the time to notice the things that you aren’t eating. If you don’t like something, you probably don’t need to by buying it again and letting it decompose in your fridge. Don’t trick yourself.
Do not plan every single specific meal for every single day. As I said before, this can lead to over thinking and bumming yourself out if you think that you have “Fallen off the wagon”.
Instead, find one or two meals for the week that you want to actually try cooking. even snacks are great for this because it will build up your food prepping later (For instance I always make a batch of Chai seed pudding and baked tofu when meal prepping; something that I found in cook books and liked).
Four Day Strategy:
Think about what you normally eat in four days. I make a lot of bowls, smoothies and stir fries. So I only make a list of the things that I will eat in four days, including the recipes that I picked earlier. This works towards eating more real foods, that is fresh fruits and veggies. Rule number one is that real food discomposes.
In those beautiful food prep pictures that we see on pintrest and health food websites, you see the meals fully made and ready to go. This doesn’t exactly work for me though and it doesn’t work for a lot of people that might have kids that don’t exactly want to eat what you plan on. Instead of prepping entire meals I make the components of the meals so that they are ready to go. For instance these are the things that I always make:
- Sliced Veggies :Peppers, onions, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes, ect.
- Baked Tofu
- Chair Seed Pudding
- Strawberries/ Berries Cut
- Frozen Bananas
- Miso Butter
- Seasoned Chickpeas
- Tuna/ Salmon or “mock” salad
- Any sauces or spice blends you like
- Roasted cashews or nuts
Of course there’s are just some ideas. The purpose is to make cooking as easy as possible throughout the week so that when going to make a meal, all you have to do is put it together. Me mindful when you prep of how fast things might go bad. Things like tomatoes and avocado are best cut when you are about to use them.
Laying out your fridge
A mistake that a lot of people make is to think that they have to jam their fridge. This is part of the reason why I suggest the four day rule. When you over stock your fridge it is hard to tell what exactly is in there. You should be able to see what is in your fridge at a glance with the items that will go bad the fastest.
Not knowing that is in your fridge is mentally frustrating and will deter you from actually eating the food that you’ve prepped.
Make your things for the next day and pack it up the night before. Dont wait until the morning before because you never know when something is going to happen. Wake up late? Take too long in the shower? Kids have a night surprise waiting for you? There is always an excuse but now not having time when the mornings are tight isn’t a reason.
The most important thing to worry about during meal prepping, is that it is to help you eat better. This means not only eating healthy but eating in a way where you wont want to eat out and where cravings wont strike you and drive you into the arms of pre-packed and overly processed foods. Dont deter yourself from making something sweet if you like to eat things like that.