Easy Meal Prep and Planning
Sure, we all want to make better choices and get control over what we eat. But let’s be real, meal prepping for an entire week can seem like a lot when you're new to it.
Finding time on the weekend to prep all your meals for the week may be challenging. However, you can start simple and notice the impact even a little bit of prep can have on your meals and health.
Let's see how you can begin to tackle this.
1. Weekly Calendar
First, one key element of your meal prep is to look ahead at the calendar and get a sense of what's coming up. How many meals will you need to prepare and for how many people? Schedule cooking or doing simple meal prep. Block off time in the calendar and try to be as realistic as possible.
2. Healthy Recipes
Second, having healthy and nutritious options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, will keep you inspired and on track with your healthy eating goals. Take into account your preferences. Plan for preparing the food you like to eat, that way you are more likely to enjoy your meals and take an interest in them. When you cook at home, you are in control over the ingredients and can cut back on added sugar, fat, and sodium. Prep for your go-to meals but try out new recipes as well, use a few overlapping ingredients and start planning your shopping trip. Having a standardized, consistent grocery list will save you time and minimize the chance of making shopping a hassle. You can also add special items to your standard list and stick to a budget at the grocery store.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be difficult. You should have fun and keep a list of what you and your family enjoy eating and add to it. If you have limited time, you can create a simple rotating menu that you can reuse over and over for a few months. Good prep also allows you to save money on groceries by buying in bulk.
3. Preparation of Food
Block one to four hours on Sunday evening and at least once mid-week for food preparation, depending on your prep style and skill level. Dedicate some prep time to cooking up at least a protein, whole grain and a vegetable that can do double duty. For example, you can make quinoa, chicken and roasted broccoli and have this as a meal. Another day combine chicken and quinoa into a salad. Leftover broccoli could be used to make marinated broccoli, for example.
4. Re-evaluate Your Meal Plan Choice
Ask yourself these questions: Is my meal plan working for me? Why not? Planning meals takes practice. Be flexible, change and adjust your meal plans. By engaging in meal prep and planning, however, you are guaranteed to develop a game-changing habit. When you end the week, look back and see which dishes hit the mark. For future reference, take note of how and why they worked for you. To decrease the pressure of meal prep, some find it easier to use an app for meal planning, which takes your personal nutrition goals into account, or allow cheat meals. Or you can prep for four days vs. five in the week, for example.
Remember, in the end, it’s what works for your lifestyle and health goals. With some effort, you can start to take control of your meals and health and change your habits to healthier eating. Figure out what works for you and run with it.