Prep For Success

Starting a meal plan can be challenging, and even thinking about it is exhausting. Making sure you have the right tools and tips for success is the first step towards building your confidence and setting your mind at ease. But with so much information out there on diets and New Year’s resolutions, it can be hard to navigate through good and not so great advice. After doing some searching combined with personal experience, I have created a list of a few tips to ease into the art of meal prepping. 

Make a list– Always an important part of shopping, a list is also important for organizing your meals for the week. Make a list of what you have at hand already and of what you need. This list can also be your Meal Plan calendar that you build your week around. Templates for meal plans are available for download online, such as this one here google docs meal plan template. Such tools help to see what you have at home and keep your budget happy.  

Think Simple– Making dinner for the week does not need to be fancy. Simple is well, simple. I like to focus on my protein source, then vegetables, and then the common carbohydrate that I can add if needed. This is a great way to get comfortable with a routine. Once you have mastered this, try adding in some fancy flair as you go. You can always spice things up by adding different seasoning or sauces to your plan for different meals.

How Often-Think about how often you want to cook when you get home or have leftovers. A good rule of thumb is to only keep leftovers for 3-4 days in the fridge, so know when you set up your plan to account for days you will need to cook. I like to make sure I have on the calendar two days each week set up for when I am going to cook (typically Sunday and Wednesday) and when I will be eating leftovers.

Make time for prep- Prepping the little things the night before, or morning of can take away stress later when you need to cook. When making your plan, think about what you need to prep ahead of time such as thawing meat, chopping vegetables, or measuring rice. I like to create my meal plan with a “Prep Ahead” section for things I need to do for the next day. This is most helpful for breakfast time. Prepping overnight-oats the night before or slicing veggies for a snack helps me in the morning be able to have a quality breakfast without spending too much time in the kitchen.

Be organized with your portions-There are a few ways to stay on top of your portions when planning out your week. One way I like to do it is by making food for the week- a protein, vegetables, and carbohydrate, in a large batch and individually portioning my meals using a food scale and portioned containers that I then keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can find good containers at most stores or even online for a good price. The other item to invest in is a lunch box to keep your meals cold throughout the day. Any way you pack your meals, always be cautious of the portion. Using a food scale is the best way to ensure you are staying on top of your diet and portion sizes.