As Candice has mentioned in recent blog posts, meal prepping/food prepping is a very important part of making sure we can stay on track with our nutrition. Since graduating college and starting my life as an adult, I’ve always food prepped in some sense. Normally just packing my lunch the night before or writing out what I was planning on eating the next day. As more time has passed, it seems my planning has become more involved. Now I find it easy, just another part of my day but when I first started, I found meal prepping/food prepping to be very stressful. I’d forget certain ingredients, not have enough clean tupperware or feel like I was endlessly weighing and measuring food. The next things I knew, my whole day would be gone and I couldn’t believe I used it to cook and plan all day! Trying to get your nutrition on track can be stressful enough that I wanted to offer some tips that I’ve learned a long the way to hopefully help your health journey become easier!
1. Pick out recipes beforehand
I’ve found that picking out which recipes I want to make for the week before the day I actually food prep makes things much easier. This way, you can pick up all the ingredients you need before the day you decide to prep which leads me to my next tip.
2. Pick a day each week that you want to meal prep
For me, this day is usually Sunday. I find it important to try and pick the same day each week. That way you stay accountable and it just becomes like a normal part of your routine.
3. Make a shopping list
This is probably the easiest and quickest tip I can give. Go through the recipes you picked out, find out which ingredients you still need, write them down or use this handy dandy app that I have been loving, Wunderlist.
4. Chop up ingredients or cook a few things before hand
Sometimes meal prepping includes cooking an entire recipe, sometimes it means chopping up veggies for a snack or preparing some sort of side. Whatever that may be, it normally helps me to prepare some of it before Sunday. For example, if I’m making a recipe that calls for a bunch of chopped up veggies, things will go faster on Sunday if I chop them up on Saturday or even Sunday morning before I actually plan on cooking. This way, everything can be thrown together quicker than if I left all the chopping for when I actually needed it. I’ve also found that if I chop up the veggies I want during the week and put them in a container, I’m more likely to eat them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought some peppers or celery only to have it go to waste because I didn’t take the time to chop it up when I got it.
5. Make sure you have pots/pans/tupperware clean
I’m sure plenty of you remember moving into your first apartment. While I do have a good amount of pots, pans and baking dishes, I don’t have multiples of each. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made one dish, put it in tupperware, washed it then made another recipe to put in it. To avoid extra dish washing, try to pick recipes that won’t be using the same baking dishes. To even further add to this point, try to pick recipes that will be using both the oven and the stove top. I forget this one sometimes and end up having my oven running all day! It’s much less stressful if you can have something in the oven, while you make another dish on the stove top.
These tips are obviously ideal if you’re following the same schedule week to week. I know life can get crazy and you’re not always going to have hours at a time to meal prep. I just wanted to offer some general guidelines to follow that will hopefully prove helpful even during the hectic times. Below are a few pics of my meal prep and what my fridge typically looks like after!
Chopping up onions and sweet potato
Shepard’s Pie from Cook Like a Cavewoman http://www.cooklikeacavewoman.com/paleo-sweet-potato-shepherds-pie/
All my food ready to grab and go!