How to: Meal Prep Efficiently

The “new year, new me” mentality has settled over everyone like a thick fog. In previous years, I would’ve kept on with no changes, as I used to be heavily into weight-lifting and healthy eating, but 2018 did a number on me. I had a baby…so there’s that. So when January 1st arrived, I was there with the rest of them, humming that tune; promising to drink more water, find time to take better care of myself, and OH YEAH, get back to the gym rountine and macro tracking I was so invested in. So far so good, I’ve been going to the gym almost every day (thanks to my wonderful parents and their sacrifice to babysit) and have been eating very healthy, with some treats here and there.

One thing that has really helped me in my fitness lifestyle is meal prepping. I do not “diet” per say, but I do track the macronutrients I eat, which is basically maintaining a percentage of the proteins, carbs and fats that composes my calories every day. I adjust the percentages and calories according to the goals I want to achieve. It’s simple, non-restricting, and I lost 25lbs using this method. Feel free to do your research on it!

Anyway, back to meal prepping. Even if you aren’t dieting, it’s a great tool that saves you time and money. I did it for myself as a single girl, and now for both my husband and I! Here are some tips I’ve learned through it all.

1. Eat what you want.

Maybe a strange piece of advice to see in a health-geared article, but I’m serious! If you hate kale (like me), don’t just buy it for the sake of being healthy. God gave us an extensive variety of different and amazing veggies to choose from. Eat ones you actually like. Same goes for meal prep. Don’t force yourself to scarf down a bunch of rabbit food; find healthier verisons of your favorite foods so you have something to look forward to. Chicken and rice (hi, bodybuilders!) which tends to be bland, can be taken up a notch with a simple teriyaki sauce. Or buffalo sauce. Or bbq, or tikka masala…ect. If you’re a sweet tooth, try making “nice cream”, a banana-based ice cream. Big pasta fan? Take a zucchini to a spiralizer and make some zoodles!

2. Prep your prep

Take some time to thoroughly think about the food you’ll be making. Realistically account for the quanties that you need, make your grocery lists accordingly, and go shopping. Make sure to defrost any meat you’re using the night before (if it isn’t fresh) and clear your schedule for 2-4 hours. If you have kids around, get someone to watch them, or set them up with an activity that allows you to be relatively hands off for that time. New mamas- wait until your babe is asleep. Don’t want to burn your food by running back and forth!

3. Hot and Cold

Make sure you separate cold prep foods from foods that are meant to be eaten warm. This was a mistake that I made multiple times early on, and the results were dismal at best. Noted, you could fish out what you want to reheat amongst cold food, but trying to bob for grains of cold, starchy rice amongst leafy grains is pretty time consuming and an all around preparation fail. If you don’t want to use more than one container, seperate your hot and cold foods with the use of a sandwich bag.

4. Clean while you cook

As you can imagine, dishes can pile up during meal prep. If you have any down time while a meal is in the oven, get started on clean up. In the end, you’ll be able to kick up your feet instead of wondering if a bomb went off inside your kitchen. Dieting/macro counting can use a lot of specific food measurements, so opt out of washing measuring cups and spoons and invest in a food scale instead. Cheap, reliable, and way easier to measure out your servings. I have owned a couple, and this one is my favorite.

5. Account for snacks

Breakfast, on point. Lunch? Salad. Dinner was caloric perfection. You are the embodiment of health. Suddenly, at 9pm, your stomach growls. You recognize the feeling and try to fight it. Not this time, Snack Demon. But before you know it, you’re ordering pizza while hacking your spoon into unsoftened ice cream, mouth stuffed with popcorn. Fries are somehow in the oven. “With a side of extra ranch,” the entity demands, and you miserably oblige.

Ok, a bit dramatic. But you get my point. Your meals can be exactly on track, but unhealthy snacking can seriously throw you off of your game. Make sure you have good snacks in the house, or make them yourself. These energy balls are a great addition to your pantry- find the recipe here.

Lastly, here a few nutritious recipes to help inspire some good cooking. Best of luck, ya health nuts.

Greek chicken bowls:

Turkey taco bowls:

Shrimp and zoodles:

Chicken teriyaki bowls:

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