15 Jan Stay on Track with This Beginner’s Meal-Prep Guide
Stay on Track with This Beginner’s Meal-Prep Guide
Fast-casual restaurants are all over the place nowadays. The gas station on the corner across from your work probably even has grab-and-go snacks and sandwiches. However, just because food is convenient, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy (we’ve all come to know and accept this).
How can you mitigate the need to eat out and possibly grab a sugary snack during a time of desperation? Meal prepping!
Planning and preparing your meals ahead of time is an effective way for you to take control of not only what’s on your eating plan, but also the quality and portion sizes of each meal or snack.
Here are some beginner tips on tricks on how to meal prep effectively:
Plan Your Meals
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Before it’s time to cook, make a list of foods and recipes that you enjoy and will serve you nutritionally based on your current goals.
The more easily foods can be made in bulk, the quicker your prep will be. It may seem overwhelming at first, but don’t get discouraged. As time goes on, planning will become easier and faster.
Pro Tip: Don’t throw out your plan once you’ve used it. Save it so you build up a backlog of plans to rotate through each week. Also, keep things interesting, trying out different meal options. The same meal for lunch all week is not only boring, but won’t necessarily provide your body the nutrition it needs. Stay inspired by swapping around proteins, sides, and sauces.
Make a Grocery List – And Stick to It!
Once you have a plan, make a grocery list based on the ingredients you’ll need, and stick to that list! Just like going to the grocery store when you’re hungry is a bad idea, allowing junk food in the house will make it that much easier to deter from your plan. If you do end up making an impulse purchase, and you can find a way to fit it into your eating plan for the week, feel free to indulge. Just keep these to a minimum so you’re not sabotaging your goals. You’ll also save money by lessening potential waste. 🙂
Pro Tip: Schedule a meal into your plan so that you can indulge in treats. This meal will keep you mentally and emotionally satisfied, as well as, kick your metabolism up as a mini “shock” from it’s regular, healthy food eating plan.
Use FITTEAM Lean
We’ve talked time and time again about the importance of protein (See this article). Protein fuels your muscles and keeps you fuller, longer. By carrying a stick of FITTEAM Lean, you’ll be prepared in case unexpected events happen. For example, you may have packed a protein-rich lunch, but your lunchtime meeting ran over. You just finished your workout, but it takes you 30 minutes to get home before you can have your meal-prepped dinner.
Rather than letting yourself get ravenous (risking overeating), mix up a FITTEAM Lean stick to keep you satiated until you can eat more. Your mind and body will thank you!
Look for Time-Saving Hacks
Little shortcuts can have a big impact on your meal prepping experience. For example, you can save time during the cooking process by cooking different food types at the same time. Roasting vegetables, baking potatoes and chicken breasts all at once will kill two, even three birds with one stone! – WIN!
If you buy pre-cut veggies and fruits, pre-cooked beans, or meats, you’ll save time during prep, as well. Rotisserie chicken and tuna are easy options for protein to add your meals or snacks.
Pro Tip: Preparing meals using a slow cooker allows you to “set it and forget it”, so you can multitask, too. Check out some recipes, here.
Try Mason Jar Meals
Mason jar salads all over Pinterest and Instagram as of late. They’re picturesque and practical; what’s not to like? You don’t have to limit yourself to salads, either. (Assuming you remove the lid) they’re microwave safe, easy to clean, and great for storing and transporting.
Pro Tip: Try out one of these simple salads to get into the mason jar trend.
Use Smart Storage Options
Like we mentioned above, the mason jar is an inexpensive and practical storage option. Along with that, it’s a good idea to invest in food containers of various sizes. Consider having varying sizes based on storing individual meals, large portions of cooked proteins and/or sides, sauces, etc.
Pro Tip: If you choose plastic containers, make sure they are BPA-free and they won’t melt when heated during re-heating or cleaning. An insulated bag that can hold multiple meals at once may also be a good idea if you’re going to be fully invested in the “meal prepping” lifestyle.
It may seem tedious and time-consuming when starting out, but remember it all serves a valuable purpose.When following a clean eating plan is as simple as reaching into the fridge or lunchbox, you’ll be less tempted to stray from your plan.
What tips or tricks do you use as part of your meal-prep regimen? See more of ours, here.
-Health & Wellness Coach