Let’s talk meal prepping *cues overly dramatic thunder and lightning*.
If you are anything like me, to “meal prep” sounds like a dauting task, that will leave your kitchen a mess and your head throbbing. Afterall, it is difficult enough to cook a single meal, now we are talking making all of your healthy meals for the entire week? My head spins just thinking about it, and it sends me running to the computer to google “how to meal prep” “meal prep ideas” “easy healthy meals” “one-way ticket to Hawaii”. That last one is truly the most helpful, after looking at the tranquil waters, coconut drinks, and thinking of that beautiful sand in all the wrong places, you realize it is time to get serious.
Meal Prep. Preparing healthy meals in advance, for the sake of convenience, sticking to goals, and being financially conscious. You can do it; I believe in you. We just have to break it down and start simple, there is no reason you need to tackle the whole marathon in your first go. Rather than attempting to prepare 3 meals a day for 5 days all at one time, pick your most challenging meal and start there. There are no wrong answers here, so let’s break down our three most important meals of the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I am a huge snack fan, I couldn’t in good conscience leave them out.
If you find yourself frequenting the Dunkin Donuts drive-through line a few too many mornings in a row, then breakfast is your first challenge. Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day, it can give you clean healthy energy, or fill you with carbs and sugars preparing you for a major crash. And we want that clean, healthy energy! Go grab your keys and head over to your local farmers market, load up on some fresh eggs and veggies because were making frittatas! (Pro tip: if you use a muffin tin instead of a pan you can have easy pre-portioned mini frittatas.) Fruit salads, egg-white omelets, protein pancakes, yogurt and cereal are also fantastic options. Yes, you can meal prep your cereal, and putting a yogurt in a baggy with a spoon totally counts as meal prepping. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! Your meals can be as simple or complex as you want, this is all about making your days simpler and setting yourself up for success.
When you feel your stomach start to grumble mid-day, are you running over to Chipotle or McDonalds? Then I think you’ve found your reason to start meal prepping your lunches. I know for myself this is also where I am spending the most money during my days; do I want to add on a coffee and a cookie? Of course, I do! Next thing I know I have spent $23, that after lunch nap is calling my name, and I am starving by the time dinner rolls around. And don’t lie, I know I am not the only one that misses the days that my momma used to pack a healthy balanced lunch for me. So why are we not calling back to our youth and setting ourselves up for success? Worried about having to eat the same thing for lunch every day? Don’t be, preparing your meals doesn’t mean making yourself the same thing over and over again, there are tricks to preparing ahead, and still getting to choose what you want to eat for the day. I prefer to prepare by larger batches of food items, and then portion them out in the mornings. I will make my big batches or rice, quinoa, steamed veggies, grilled chicken, etc., and then I will portion them out in the morning before leaving for work. This way if I am not really feeling the chicken, I can grab shrimp or tofu instead. This is a small step that helps to keep me motivated during the week. Variety is so important, you don’t want to get bored!
If your favorite night of the week is take-out night (and lucky for you that’s every night), well maybe you should start with prepping your dinners. After a long day of work, hitting the gym, and taking care of families/pets etc. it can be a daunting task to prepare a healthy meal for yourself and your family. On top of not knowing what you’re in the mood for, or how many pans you’re willing to wash once the process if over, those takeout menus look pretty appealing. But if we schedule ourselves a bit of time to prepare our food in advance you can cut all of the hassle out of preparing a quality, healthy dinner for yourself. It is important to end your day on a high note, and head to bed feeling satisfied. I know, I know easier said then done. I am the first to admit that the employees at my local pizzeria know me by name, but lucky for me so does my Eat Clean Bro delivery driver.
After you’ve got your trouble meal down and you are comfortable preparing one meal for yourself a week, add in some snacks. While you are waiting for that rice to cook, bag up some fresh chopped veggies, mix yourself some trailmix, and portion out some Cheese-its. I am a habitual snacker, so I find it extremely helpful to pack up some between meal snacks, this way I know that I am grabbing something healthy and not eating an entire bag of cheddar popcorn because I am bored. This easy multitasking is a great segway into preparing more then one meal at a time too! You can slowly work your way up to preparing your whole days’ worth of meals, like we said earlier you don’t need to tackle the entire marathon at once, you can work your way into it.
This all sounds great, but then you say wait…where do I find the time for this cooking?! My biggest tip is to schedule yourself time to prepare your meals in advance. Yes, it sounds silly, but a routine can make all of the difference when it comes to setting yourself up for a successful week. You schedule yourself time for the gym, the doctors, to get your nails done or a massage, so why not block out some set time to prepare healthy meals. If you know that you are headed to the grocery store after work on Friday, and then you will be cooking from 8am-11am on Saturday, you will be less likely to skip your plans and push your prep off until the next week.
It can be difficult to find the time in our busy schedule to cook and portion food for a few hours but remember in the long run you will be saving the time and stress on a daily basis. If cooking at home still sounds too time consuming for your lifestyle, meal prep services such as Eat Clean Bro offer an affordable way to get healthy, ready to eat, fresh meals delivered. *the clouds open up, sunshine pours through, angels sing* Yes, that is right, meal delivery services such as Eat Clean Bro exist to take the trouble and thought out of meal prep. With plenty of variety, affordable pricing, and a lid that fits every container, they are here to deliver your meals straight to your door without the headache. See, meal prepping isn’t that scary, it’s really only a few clicks away.