Often when we embark on a new fitness routine we dive into the deep end and then wonder why can’t continue, feeling like we are simply treading water instead of swimming strong. This is often the case when it comes to meal prepping - it’s all or nothing. Either we prepare every meal in advance or we abandon ship and eat out all week. We will be on a roll and then hit a slump. This is OKAY! This is called learning.
Every time you commit to making healthy meals a little easier for yourself you are learning. You are learning which recipes are too complicated and won’t be revisited. You are learning that you need at least a lunch prepped each day. You are learning which foods are still good a few days after prepping. You are learning how to care for your body.
Here are some tips that I have pulled from a client email I created to help her move closer to eating healthy meals with more ease. If you are trying to change your body, you will have to change the way you eat, you will have to play a proactive role in providing your body what it needs. When we wing it in the nutrition department we don’t always end up making the best choices. By taking a few minutes each week to get a little game plan together we can stick to the plan and gain better results. Consistency becomes a more reasonable expectation.
Three Simple Steps
Towards More Meal Prep
Step #1 - Go to the grocery store once a week.
Saturday or Sunday are typically best because we have more time. Create a list to work from (after a while you will have a fairly standard list of staples that you know you consume each week). Check in your fridge, freezer and pantry to see what you have to start with. Use those items to spur inspiration for meals you can have and add the necessary items to make your lunches and or dinners to your list. **In the beginning I would hang my grocery receipt on the fridge to remind me that I already spent money on food.
Step #2 - Keep it Super Simple.
Decide on a go-to breakfast. Something so easy you could eat it every day. If you need to have two or three for variety that’s cool, but have a go-to simple breakfast always ready to go. I love a hearty piece of bread, toasted with almond butter and a banana. I never have to think about breakfast.
Once you have mastered your go-to breakfast start searching for your go-to lunch and dinner recipes. These are recipes that are super simple (not a lot of ingredients) and YOU LOVE THEM! Don’t worry, you will try a handful of recipes that “don’t work” for some reason or another. No stress. Keep searching and trying new recipes until you find a good one!
I like to prep some sort of salad or at least the ingredients for a salad AND a warm, protein filled dish that can be reheated throughout my week. Here are some samples:
Pre cut salad veggies to add to mixed greens. Make a simple oil and vinegar dressing or your learn to make your favorite salad dressing.
Think outside the. Box - use broccoli, potatoes, squash, and chickpeas as the base - HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES - You can also Google or search Gut Health Salads on Pinterest for more ideas.
Just prep the components and then throw them together in any way that you want in the moment. Prep 1 or 2 sweet potatoes and some roasted chickpeas and then add some shredded cabbage, avocado, some spinach and a healthy dressing for the same ingredients turned into a different dish. BUDDHA BOWL RECIPE
Warm Protein Filled Options:
Prep Baked or Grilled Chicken and Veggies. If you cook them all at once, even all on one pan in the oven you can eat the left overs all week - You can use these ingredients to add to or create a different “Buddha Bowl”. Add some brown rice and avocado and call it a day. These have been called Sheet Pan Dinners - Pick ones with fewer ingredients and minimize the number of dishes you use to make this meal prep a breeze.
Make a casserole, soup or stew. Reheat a portion each evening for a yummy healthy meal in minutes. HERE ARE SOME GUT HEALTHY SOUPS
Step #3 - Plan for challenges and treat yourself.
Just like you will start to find your go-to recipes to make each week, search for healthy on-the-go options for when life throws you a curve ball.
Balance all this planned eating with meals out on Friday nights or when ever you’ve eaten all your prepped foods. I like to go out or order in on Friday nights. I then eat any remaining meal prep during the day Saturday, eat remaining take out, go out with friends or make a new recipe on Saturday nights. I love to go out for breakfast on Sunday mornings and then go grocery shopping on Sunday - starting the whole process again. I even treat myself to the Whole Foods Hot Bar for lunch on Sundays as a treat for going grocery shopping.
Just like anything new, this process may seem overwhelming at first but becomes easier and easier the more you do it. The whole process (creating a list, shopping and maybe spending an hour prepping) can happen in less than 3 hours. I can now make it happen in an hour if I need to. If you can’t find the time, do an assessment of how you spend your time and decide if there is somewhere where you can cut back so that you can spend this time on creating your healthiest self.