#1 Use a simple weekly planner and grocery list to plan out your meals the day before. Click these links for nice templates I found online for a weekly meal plan schedule and a grocery list. Once you do this type of planning for 4-5 weeks, you can reuse your schedules from month to month, or from season to season. No reason to cook the same tired thing every single week!
#2 Use what you’ve got. Every weekend, review what’s in your fridge. Have spinach that is about to turn? Throw it into a risotto. Have some chicken that you need to cook? Make soup!
#3 Be prepared with the right tools. Sturdy, BPA-free, microwave and freezer-safe containers like these will do you a world of good when reheating or storing your meals.
#4 You are more apt to make a green smoothie if you have prepped the ingredients in advance. Here is a video I put together on how to prep “smoothie packs.” I throw these into my Shakeology to give it an extra kick. For my kids, I use one frozen baggie along with one container of low sugar fruit yogurt and almond milk. They love them, and have no idea how much extra nutrition I’ve packed into their yummy drink! (Note: Freezing the produce improves the texture of your shake, and is also a great way to utilize produce that is close to turning bad.)
#5 Don’t eyeball your portions. Use these color-coded containers (contact me for more info on these) or basic measuring cups to make sure you are getting the appropriate amount of each food group. It’s so easy to put in twice the serving size of rice if you are just spooning it into the container.
#6 Everybody loves snacks, right? There is nothing worse than bring stuck in a meeting or in a traffic jam with no healthy options available. Your head is hurting, your energy level is falling, and your “bathroom break” really consists of you running with a dollar in your hand to the nearest vending machine and then inhaling peanut M&Ms and pork rinds. Don’t go there. Portion out almonds, rice crackers, or sunflower seeds and put them in your laptop bag. Grab an apple, or a Lara Bar and stick it in your purse or glove box. Just make sure you choose something that won’t spoil quickly. I can’t tell you how many times I have found a bag of nuts in the bottom of my briefcase and practically cried tears of joy.
#7 Don’t do too much right off the bat. You are sure to become overwhelmed and burn yourself out almost immediately if you try to do too much too soon. I advise my clients to start with baking a whole chicken, hard boiling some eggs, and cooking a batch of rice and broccoli. Those simple items are a great way to get started. The following week you can throw in some mason jar salads and change up your vegetable to cooked carrots. The week after that, throw in a batch of soup. Soon it will be become like clockwork and you will have a manageable meal prep that takes around two hours, but saves you at least ten hours throughout the week!
What other tips do you have for our readers for a successful meal prep! Share in the comments, along with any questions you may have.