I will stress this over and over again. MEAL PREP IS NECESSARY FOR YOU TO STICK TO YOUR NUTRITION GOALS. If I could hypnotize you right now to make this forever stick in your brain I would. Meal prep = <3. Trust me on this one.
Now, this being said … Meal prepping was one of the most intimidating aspects of fitness for me and I know it is for many other people who are just starting out as well. When I was given my meal plan and I saw that I was supposed to be having 5 – 6 meals a DAY, I almost fainted. And I had questions:
- How the hell am I supposed to consume that much food and not look like a washed up beach whale?
- How do I find the time to eat that many meals a day?
- Am I going to be spending my entire pay check on food?!
- How do I find recipes/ideas on what to prepare?
- … How do I even begin this?
For the sake of this post, we’re going to focus on question 5. We will address the rest as time goes on, don’t you worry. 😉
I believe that in order for healthy habits to develop and be sustained, there needs to be an underlying knowledge and understanding as to why it’s important/beneficial to your well being. So we’re going to start there.
I get it, life is CRAZY. There is a constant “to-do list” and getting caught up with the pressures of everyday life (work, class, creating time for significant others/friends, errands) can steer us off our path to success. One way we can mitigate the chances of falling off track is to be prepared. This is where meal prep comes into play.
When you meal prep ahead of time, it not only brings awareness to what you are putting into your body, it allows time for other important things that can help bring positivity to your day. More time to work out, spend time with loved ones, meditate and what ever else that can reduce the stress of your everyday life.
What other perks does meal prepping have aside from freeing up some time?
- Convenience – I mean it’s practically an adult-version of a Lunchable, minus the disgusting amount of sodium and freaky “ham” chunks. Your own grab-and-go meals.
- Reduces the Risk of Over (or under) Eating – No more binge eating. Its pre-portioned so gone are the days of 3 plate buffet indulgences or eating granola bars as a sad excuse of a lunch.
- Saves Money – Say you buy lunch every day at the office. Averaging at $10.50 for most ‘quick service’ lunches, that is $52.50 a week, $210 a month, $2,520 a year. I think we can all agree that there are much better things to spend $2,520 on than soggy paninis.
- Holds You Accountable – You spent the money to buy the ingredients and took the time to prepare all these meals, chances are you don’t want to waste that.
- Bye-bye Temptations – Okay, maybe not goodbye completely. Because I mean when Janet from HR brings in fresh baked brownies you know damn well your mouth will start watering. But! For every day temptations, such as reaching for a bag of Doritos during your mid-afternoon lull at work, you’ll have some pre-prepared healthy alternatives at your convenience.
Get Some Storage. You’re probably going to need containers to store all your food because I can promise you that your 1.3 million mismatched, spaghetti-stained Tupperware with nonexistent lids probably won’t cut it. If you invest in new set of food storage containers, you’re setting yourself up to be well-prepared when it comes time to portion you meals! There are many options for storage containers on Amazon. Here are the sets I use:
Bring Back the Lunchbox. When I first started meal prepping, I was balancing a full-time class schedule, a part-time internship and a nighttime bartending position. I was constantly on-the-go and finding places to store my food when commuting from place to place was difficult. So I invested in a lunchbox. As much as I wanted the badass robot one I found online, I needed one that could hold multiple meals and stay cold all day long. I opted for this one. (Check it out). You can find similar ones on sites such as Amazon or Walmart for a reasonable price. Don’t forget to stock up on reusable ice packs too! They’re cheap and a lot more convenient than shoving ice into Ziploc baggies every morning.
Get Yourself a Calendar! I know it seems a bit extreme but it helps, I promise. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, even a small magnetic whiteboard to stick on your fridge. Just somewhere to write down your meals you plan to have that week. This way, when it comes time to head to the grocery store there is minimal effort in trying to think of last minute things to purchase. Because let’s be honest, we all know that when you’re aimlessly roaming around the store your carriage mysteriously gets filled with the newest Pringles flavors and mini muffins. So head to the store with a plan and only purchase what is necessary for that weeks meals.
Stay tuned for new meal prep recipes, tips and tricks. Remember, I’m still learning this too … So bare with me. As I learn new ways to streamline the process, rest assured I’ll be sharing all my newfound knowledge with you all too.
❥ As always, I am here to help in any way I can.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org