Meal Prepping 101
Simple suggestion to make meal prepping an easy part of your weekly regimen.
As a working mother and health care professional working long hours, I have to prepare to live a healthy lifestyle. One of the things we do have control over is the food we eat. Literally we have control. I know life gets busy and you feel like you don’t have time, but if you want to give healthy for you and for your family, you must make time. The SIMPLE plan will give you a guide to make this easy. It will take time, but within about 2 weeks, you will notice the different in time, convenience, money savings and likely a little looser pants. It’s a win win for everyone.
S- Start with a plan
I- Initiate a schedule
M- More is better
P- Prep and store
L- Learn to make it work for you and your family
E- Embrace snacks
1. Start with a plan-
My recommendation is to either use a pre-prepared meal planner (www.beachbodycoach/com/mrsct) or follow a a specific plan for daily meals. This way you go to the store with a specific list and know what you are shopping for. I like to even make it more simple that that and follow a carb, veggie, fruit, protein plan.
Breakfast- carb, protein, fruit
Lunch, protein, veggie, carb
Snack- fruit, protein
Dinner- veggie, carb, protein
So when I start planning I know that I need to prepare enough of each to make it through at least 3 days.
How do I prepare- I put protein (chicken breast, turkey, portk, and tilapia) on the grill or bake along with veggies, I divide everything into containers. For snacks, I cut up veggie and place them in baggies or I put greek yogurt and fruit in containers ready to go.
You must have a written down, well thought out plan. If you write it out there is no guessing and it takes very little time to get prepared for your week.
2. Initiate a schedule-
You need to allow time to prepare. Do not leave it to an evening when you have other things going on. Look at your weekly schedule and choose a time that you can dedicate to this. Get your partner involved and say I need you to cook these things on the grill or I need you to help cut these things up and put in these containers.
Dedicate 2 times a week, Sunday and Wednesday to do prepping. If you know that you will have a hectic day or week, schedule in a dining out option that you know has healthier options. decide ahead of time where you will eat and what you will order.
3. More is better
When you are cooking for dinner instead of thinking of what you have to cook for that meal, consider adding double or triple so that you can store for later. If grilling turkey burgers, consider making double and freezing some or crumbling up a patty or 2 to top a salad with salsa the next day for lunch. When roasting or grilling veggies, consider doubling up and using the extra for meals the next day. Look for opportunity to make more like lentils, brown rice, quinoa. Make additional amount to have over the course of several days.
4. Prep and Store-
I cannot stress this enough you must prepare for your meals to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Preparing your meals ahead of time and storing will ensure you stay on track. Invest in multiple storage container. I would consider a higher quality to keep food nice and fresh. Consider making salads in mason jars as they keep up to 4-5 days. Consider investing in a larger “lunch box” to keep with you at all time. Even if you are out and about, you can be prepared. Bring along your snacks (apple and peanut butter, carrots and hummus)
5. Learn to make this work for your family
I have blogged about this before, but there is no need to make an additional meal for your kids or husband/wife. Meal prep just like you I have suggested and add to the meals as needed. Add additional starches, fruits, fats. Example of making it work for kids. You eat the plain sweet potato, mash up, add coconut oil and a splash of brown sugar for your kids. Your husband may need to increase portion sizes. However your family needs to be healthy just like you. Why would you feed your kids things you wouldn’t eat on a routine bases. I understand on occasion, but not nightly. You have control over what your kids eat…period. Other examples to make things kid friendly, add cheese, add peanut butter, add bread, make into a fun face.
6. Embrace the snacks.
I mentined before how you can prep your snacks. Most people focus on eating 3 meals a day, which I understand might seem easiest. However the problem is, if you are eating 500-700 calories in these 3 meals which most people are because they are so hungry, then you will likely not improve your health or fitness. I recommend 5-6 meals a day. If you are staying around 300-400 calories a meal, you will be hungry in about 3 hours (or you should) this is because your body has burned what you have eaten. Therefore, it is ok to be hungry in 3 hours, and then you should eat. This is where the snacking comes in. If you eat a high protein and high carb breakfast, like eggs and oatmeal, at 7 am then you will likely be hungry in 3 hours, what do you do? Let your stomach grumble until noon and eat an extra large meal for lunch because you are so hungry or pack a small snack (nut butter and apple, hand full of nuts and an orange, nutritional supplement shake). I 100 recommend the later based on caloric needs and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So you need to prepare for your snacks just like you prepare for your other meals.
Sample Meal Plan
Breakfast- 1/2 cup oats with 1/4 cup blueberries, 4 egg whites and coffee (flavored coffee, 1 stevia and almond milk)
Snack- Shakeology plus a green apple
Lunch- 4 oz lean meat (chicken) 1 cup steamed veggies or salad and 1 carb (sweet potato)
Snack- tuna fish mixed with cottage cheese on a sweet pepper or plain greek yogurt topped with 1/4 cup berries
Dinner- 4 oz lean protein, steamed greens and 1/2 cup brown rice or quinoa
Each of the items above can be prepped on the grill or baked and placed in containers ready to take and eat.
Each item can also be seasoned to add variety or topped a salad
There are other items you can choose from as well that are easy to prep and store.
I offer more detailed nutrition coaching as well as 5 clean eating groups and 30 day complete health and fitness accountability groups. If you are inetrested, please fill out my get to know you form and I will get back with you within 24 hours.