Eating on the go often means running into a fast-food chain or grabbing a bag of chips from the convenience store. These quick pit stops are often not fulfilling and devoid of nutritional value that our bodies need to make it through the work day. With traffic and other morning obligations, it may be hard to pack a lunch each day, which leaves some people forced to make that drive through run during the lunch hour. Cue meal prep! Preparing meals in advance saves tons of time over the course of the week and helps keep you on track when you’re searching for the most nutritious options available.
Gone are the days of meal prep being classified as only for “uber healthy people”. With these simple steps, and a little bit of experimentation to discover what’s right for you, you’ll be a meal prep pro in no time. Taking the first step is often the hardest. Here are some tips to help start your engine.
Tackling the Beast: Getting Started
1. Ease Into It
Planning every breakfast, lunch, and dinner a week in advance can definitely be intimidating, and may leave you feeling ready to quit after one trip to the grocery store. Ease your way into meal prepping by starting with just one meal for the week, or choosing select days to prepare for. Reducing your load from upwards of 15 meals to 5 will take the stress out of your prep day, and save you some time so that your existing schedule is not completely torn to shreds.
2. Go for the Tried and True
Exclusively trying new recipes can also prove overwhelming. Start off with healthy recipes you know and love, or cut back the portion sizes on those traditional family indulgences.
Avoiding Relapse: Staying Motivated
1. Customize Your Experience
Part of staying motivated is staying true to yourself. Buy storage containers that highlight your personal style or work best for your food/storage preferences so that you are excited to plan and pack your meals, rather than feeling burdened by the task. Consider splurging on a cute print, so you’re excited to bring your containers in and show them off to your co-workers.
2. Stick with Your Faves
Choose the same grocery store to stock up at every week. That way you become familiar with the aisle configuration, cutting back on time spent prepping, and preventing you from taking that unintended stroll down the chocolate aisle.
3. Mimic the Pros
Once you feel like you’ve got the hang of meal prep or feel stuck in a rut, search online for healthy restaurant copycat recipes, like this DIY Chipotle Burrito Bowl. That way, you can satisfy your craving for your favorite take out meals while cutting cost and ensuring you get the nutrients you need, and nothing else.
Remember, meal prep doesn’t have to be super complex or difficult, and it may take a few tries to figure out what works best for you!