1. Set time aside – be realistic with what you can do right now
Stop getting overwhelmed with how long it’s going to take to meal prep and then giving up before you get started. And honestly, if you have time to scroll your news feed on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, then you have time to meal prep.
How much time do you have right now, today? What CAN you do? Once you’ve given yourself a set amount of time then start with that. Put it on your calendar and make sure you include time to clean up the kitchen afterwards and/or before if your kitchen is messy. Stick to this appointment to yourself once a week every week until it becomes a habit. Start with 10 minutes and go from there even if that just means you pack yourself a sandwich for the next 3 days. Get it done.
2. Containers & lunch bag
Make sure you have a decent bag to carry your meals for the next day in. Chances are you already have something that works. I actually recycled this bag that came with my breast pump from when I was extracting my breast milk for my little one but now I don’t anymore so I use the bag for my meals.
Also, you need just a few basic containers. I personally love mason jars because I’m always on the go and it makes it easy for me to eat out of a cup. Lay out your containers and get rid of anything that’s missing a lid, is broken or is simply useless. Get rid of the clutter. Also, get yourself one of those ice packs. I never warm up my food (personal choice) and always have my bag right next to me and the little ice pack keeps everything cool and perfect temperature when it comes time to eat.
3. Cook/ wash/ chop/ prepare
Next, just start cooking what’s already in your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator. Right now is not the time to worry too much about what you’re cooking but more to get you in the habit and help you increase your awareness of what you have in your kitchen. If you’re a bachelor and have nothing, well – now you know where you need to start! Meal prep also means simply washing and chopping vegetables and fruit. Remember, it’s all about eliminating as many barriers as possible. I know that when I come from work and am starving, I’m more likely to go for the cheese and crackers if I have to actually wash and chop vegetables to make a salad – you know what I mean?
4. Assemble the meals – macros made simple
Okay, here’s the basic formula for assembling your meals. 3 meals and 1- 2 snacks. Think of a plate as having 3 parts – lean protein, veggie and a starch. I forgot to add the healthy fat but use this sparingly and remember that the little bit of avocado oil or coconut oil you might use to cook counts as a healthy fat and so do thinks like avocado. But for now keep it simple – lean protein, veggie and a starch. Here are a few examples:
- Breakfast: Egg white (lean protein) scramble with sweet potatoes and broccoli.
- Snack: Medium apple and celery (starch + veggie) with peanut butter (fat and protein)
- Lunch: Lean ground turkey breast (lean protein), quinoa (grain/ starch) and cauliflower
- Snack: Hard boiled egg (lean protein + fat) and a rice cake (starch) and some celery or other raw veggie
- Dinner: Salad (veggie) with salmon (protein + fat) and a side of brown rice
5. Pack your meals – all about efficiency
Once you cook, chop, wash and prepare make sure you pack then in already to go containers. Don’t save it for the next morning! Chances are something will come up and you’ll be rushing to get out the door and throw your hard work away! Just pack them in single containers and claim a spot in your household refrigerator as yours. Let no one touch your meals. Remember, it’s about building new habits and eliminating as many barriers as possible.
6. Eat your meals – timing matters
So many people actually forget to eat so they skip meals and then when they finally get the chance to eat they gorge! It happens to all of us (me included) so don’t feel bad but be aware. The best way to combat this is to train your body to eat every 2.5 – 3 hours. Set a timer. Trust me, in the beginning it will seem weird and you will be full but be consistent. Also, these meals you’re eating are small and moderate not huge portions. Keep it real with yourself.
Well there you have it! Let me know how it goes and here’s a quick video of some meals that I made for next week! I’m not a vegetarian but these meals just happened to be vegetarian.
Love, health and happiness always!
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