*Map Out Your Week!*
Having a blueprint of your week and knowing what’s ahead is the first step to success. For the most part, most of our days are fairly predictable and if there are days we foresee being a little unpredictable, we can plan for that too! First, decide which days will be best for you to hit the grocery store. We find it helpful to do one bigger haul and then hit the store one more time later in the week if need be. After this, map out which days you will have the time to food prep. In general, if you work a Mon-Fri job, Sunday is the perfect day to do the bulk of your prep and then we find it helpful to plan in a day mid week. Usually as the week goes on, fresh foods like your fruits and veggies will run out so stopping a second time to stock up on these will make sure you are set to go through the end of the week!
Pinpoint which days you foresee being most challenging! If there are certain days you know you won’t be home until late, have a social gathering or will just be a jam-packed day, plan for these days first and make sure you have them nailed down!
*Keep It Simple*
Once you have the overview of your week down, it’s time to get specific on what foods you want! A huge mistake we see is people trying to overcomplicate the process. Sure, we all want to eat food that tastes good, but the majority of the time, simple and easy is going to create the most success!
- If you want a cassoraole, soup or specific recipe- plan this into your week first! Because the nutrition contents of a recipe is set, you can plan this in and build your day around it to make sure the rest of your day falls into place.
- Pick your proteins. Decide what protein sources your want for the week, then build each meal around this. We find it helpful to do a bigger batch of chicken, beef, turkey, pork or whatever you prefer in a crockpot or instant pot. It’s always a good idea to have prortein prepped and ready that you can add to anything or eat by itself as snack! Shred it chop it, bake it, grill it, season it! Switch up the ways you prepare it to make it more interesting!
- Add your veggies. These should be a staple in your diet and making sure you are getting at the very least 2-3 servings a day is a good place to start! We like to roast a large sheetpan of various veggies you can add to your meals. Toss in a little olive oil and roast half way and that way when you reheat they will be perfect! Having a variety of fresh, chopped veggies on hand is always a great snack or add to a meal and/or having your veggies chopped to just throw in the oven at night when you get home for dinner saves a lot of time as well!
- Add your starchy carbs (if needed!). Once you have your proteins and veggies, you can fill in the rest of your carbs with your starchier options- foods like rice, potato, quinoa, squash, bread, wraps, noodles, beans, etc! This are good to put in last, since they are carb heavy we want to make sure you have room for your veggies first and then fill in the blanks here!
- Add your healthy fats. Since protein and carbs can have fat sparing nutrients, it’s best to plan those in first along with any oils or butters you may need to cook them and then add your fats last! This can be avocado, cheese, nuts, seeds, nutbutters, cooking oils, butter and dressings. These are like the icing on the cake!
“Always Have an Emergency Day Planned!”
Inevitably, life happens and sometimes food prep runs out, you drop your food or something happens to where you need a plan B. This is where we find it helpful to have an emergency day in your back pocket!
- Make sure you have your house stocked with emergency foods like canned proteins, canned or frozen veggies and boxed rice or pasta. These are great to always have on hand so if you do run out of your fresh supply, you can fall back on these!
- Know which restaurants you can go to in a pinch. If you need to eat out, have some restaurants and meals that you know you can make work. This way if you need to pick up for you and/or the family or end up meeting friends for a social night, you have a plan and know what fits in your day! My Fitness Pal is great for this because it has a huge data base of restaurants and menus !
*Make On-the-Go Easy!*
It may seem so simple but setting yourself up with good quality tupperware and food bags is going to make life so much easier! We recommend glass tuppoerware (free of BPA’S) and nice, portable food bags to make sure your food stays fresh! It may seem like a no brainer, but it will make your life that much easier and won’t leave you throwing out food that’s gotten lukewarn and gross!
*Have Back-Up Meals*
Having meals on hand will always be a no-fail! These are meals you can have in your freezer that you can grab in those emergency moments as well!
- Freeze your own meals! You can make cassaroles, crockpot meals, breakfast burritos, etc. and have them on hand to grab when you’re in a pinch! Spend a day dedicated to making a few breakfasts, lunches and dinners that you can have in your freezer to grab when life gets crazy!
- Try out a food prep service. We know that food prep servies can tend to get pricey, but having a backstock in your freezer for those weeks when you just can’t quite get on top of your prep is a great way to make sure you are stocked! We love Trifecta, Icon Meals, NW Fit meals and Ice Age Meals to name a few!
Meal prep doesn’t have to be coplicated or overwhelming! If it’s still something that intimidates you, start small with 2 days at a time and work from there! You will inevitably find what works and doesn’t work for you! We hope these tips help clarify how to meal prep in a simple way!
Happy meal prepping!!