Let me make one thing very clear… I did not get big eating bad food. And if you’re on track to put on a couple of extra pounds, don’t you dare do that by eating something yucky. I’m happy to say that there have only been a few times over the last year or so where I have eaten something bad and 90% of that time it’s because I screwed up a recipe. Don’t settle for food that’s gross or that you simply don’t like. There are way too many ways to get creative.
One of the best ways to be healthy, lose weight, or save money is to meal prep. Meal prepping does require some commitment… Did that make anyone’s chest constrict just reading the word? But, it’s totally worth it. My meal preps used to be a hot mess. I was getting so bored with the food and I typically ran out of stuff by Wednesday afternoon. There was definitely a learning curve involved, but now that I know what I am doing I swear by the art of meal prepping. I want to give you all a few ideas and tips that I have learned myself along the way.
- Pick a Day
- I believe wholeheartedly in the power of Self Care Sundays. I invite you all to join in with me.
- On Sundays, I take care of all the things that I need to get done to prepare me for the week. I sacrifice a few hours that day to set me up for the next six days. Seems like a pretty even exchange, huh?
- Pick a day that works for you to get everything prepared. I only prep once a week, but I know many that will prep on Sunday and Wednesday to have new foods for the last half of the week. Whatever works for you.
- Plan, Plan, Plan
- Do ya’ll remember the old Disney World commercials where the little girl was like “Location, Location, Location” while she was packing her suitcase? Those things suckered me in every single time… anyways…
- You can’t just go to the store and expect that the right things that you need to make healthy meals all week are going to magically fall into your cart. That’s how you end up with Doritos in there.
- I make a little chart of what my three meals a day plus snacks will be for the week and what ingredients I need from the store. That also will help to keep you on track at the store and stay away from random impulse buys.
- Pro tip: If you are interested in saving money, you can check the sale ads before you go to the store and meal prep around whatever meat or veggies are on sale that week.
- Mix It Up
- To the tune of “Rake it Up”
- I try not to eat the same foods back to back. If I have something for lunch, I refuse to eat it again for dinner.
- Meal prepping is not like signing a treaty to eat the same food all week or eating them for whatever meal you wrote them down for on your meal prep “calendar.”
- I ensure that with my recipes I have enough food for breakfasts, lunch, and dinner. But, if one day I don’t want the chicken that I planned to have for lunch I will just move it around and fit it in on another day. That’s okay. Don’t torture yourself into eating food that you don’t want because you’ll never get the feeling of satisfaction.
- Versatile Foods
- Most people refuse to meal prep because they are caught up in the idea that all of it is going to be boring… WRONG. Find foods that are versatile and can make multiple different things throughout the week.
- Example: Cook a pound of ground beef/turkey. Use as a topper for taco salads. Use as meat in marinara sauce. Put in a low-carb wrap for burrito. Use with rice and beans as a Mexican bowl. Cook flat for hamburger steak. Five different uses from one pound of ground meat.
- Example: Make spaghetti squash. Monday: Fill with marinara and rotisserie chicken. Tuesday: Fill with alfredo, broccoli, and chicken. Wednesday: Fill with taco seasoning and chicken with veggies. Thursday: pizza sauce, light cheese, and chicken. Nine ingredients for a whole week of food.
- These versatile foods will be a lifesaver if you have a palate that is easily bored.
- Meal prepping your breakfast doesn’t involve buying five different protein bars for the week. They are full of additives and while I eat them myself, I try to keep it to once a week or if I’m really in a pinch.
- People are funky about their breakfast. Just about everyone I know is obsessed with the super easy baked egg-white cups. I think they are gross. You don’t have to like everything that people tell you on the internet is good.
- If you want to eat low-carb cold pizza, be my guest. Keep making healthy choices that work for you. Or eat a yogurt bowl because ya’ll know how much I love those.
- Lunch & Dinner
- Lunch doesn’t always have to be a cold cut sandwich. Elementary school really scarred me and I feel that lunch typically revolves around a sandwich and Cheetos. Get comfortable with knowing that you can eat something a little more substantial at lunch time. Cook for your body & the types of fuel that it needs.
- On the flip side, dinner does not always have to be a five course meal. If you want something light, feel comfortable just eating a salad with some protein on top. I’ll tell you a million times, you need to be listening to your body.
- If you are someone who gets hungry or likes to eat more frequently, go ahead and prep your snacks as well.
- Don’t deprive yourself or sit around and be starving all day if you are actually hungry. It is easy to plan those snacks into your weekly prep.
- Example: Go ahead and put two tablespoons of hummus in little containers and bag up a few carrots. It is grab and go snacks that’ll help keep your hand out of the candy dish or blowing $10 at the gas station.
- Hold your Ground
- This is probably the hardest one for me.
- Meal prepping tends to knock you out of the group invites to lunch with coworkers/friends. If you have made a meal, you need to be eating that 80% of the time, especially if you have a goal in mind. But, it’s okay to splurge sometimes and go out with friends. The goal here is not to commit social suicide (Mean Girls, anyone?) Feel comfortable with turning down the invitation sometimes to keep working on you.
- Just keep in mind, if you meal prep and don’t eat any of the food that you cooked, you are basically throwing your money in the trash.
- If this is you, just know that I have a perfectly good garbage can at my house that you are welcome to pitch your money into.
Example Meal Prep Weekly Plan:
- Breakfast: Siggi’s Yogurt bowl with granola & fruit
- Lunch: Ranch chicken with red potatoes and Carrots. Side of broccoli.
- Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant (they have great Monday night specials). Salad with no bread and dressing on side
- Breakfast: Two eggs whites and a piece of toast with avocado and banana
- Lunch: Taco-seasoned ground turkey on salad with all favorite taco toppings. Add extra salsa. Skip the extra cheese and sour cream. Looking for creaminess? Add guac.
- Dinner: Ranch chicken with red potatoes and Carrots. Side of broccoli.
- Breakfast: Siggi’s Yogurt bowl with granola & fruit
- Lunch: Low-carb wrap with rotisserie chicken, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, and Greek dressing. Add kalmata olives if you’re feeling fancy.
- Dinner: Taco Salad. Add a few Siete chips crushed on top if you are needing some crunch!
- Breakfast: Scrambled egg whites on top of one piece of toast with a banana
- Lunch: Low carb wrap with rotisserie chicken, buffalo sauce, and spinach. Add laughing cow spreadable cheese for creaminess and extra flavor
- Dinner: Greek salad topped with chicken, tomatoes, olive, cucumbers, feta and dressing. Tessemae’s Green Goddess is perfect for these salads!
- Breakfast: Quick Breakfast Sandwich: EVOL. brand is my fave! or a protein bar with fruit
- Lunch: I throw everything I’ve got left over in a wrap or on top of a salad. I like to clear out whatever I’ve got left over and avoid wasting it.
- Dinner: Typically out with friends, but with a conscious decision like Fajitas or a salad with dressing on the side.
- Fourth Meal: Taco Bell. It’s always Taco Bell.
- Breakfast: Honestly, I’m not up early enough for breakfasts on Saturdays….
- Lunch: Cheat Meal #1
- Dinner: Cheat Meal #2
- Breakfast: Still sleeping… it’s hard being a young adult out here people..
- Lunch: Something quick like Subway or whatever I’ve got around the house
- Dinner: Whatever I meal prepped for lunch on Monday
Happy prepping, everybody! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions. I would be happy to look over your meal plan for the week or even help you create an original one until you are more comfortable making one yourself!