Meal Prep Tips & Strategies
Does the thought of planning your meals for the week seem daunting?
To me, not having a plan seems worse. When you have a plan guess what happens?
Having a plan = better food choices = feeling better = more energy = weight loss!
I have been planning and prepping my meals for years. It has become a normal part of my family’s life. I had not considered a life without it until recently.
Last week, I popped into the break room during lunch to fill my Yeti up with water.
During the visit, my “boring” choice for lunch prompted an unsolicited discussion, or justification, from the clinical staff that went something like this…..
- How do you eat a salad every day? It must be so BORING.
- I need to start packing my lunch more often.
- I was going to bring my lunch today, but I forgot it.
- How do you have time to pack your lunch? I always start my week out good, and then it just falls apart.
- It is so much easier to just go to the cafeteria.
- How do you manage to pack your lunch every morning?
There was so much brain chatter over lunch.
I used to be the same way. I would go to the cafeteria, spend 10 minutes trying to decide what I wanted to eat. I would spend another 5 trying to talk myself out of the fried food, or the burger, versus the salad.
One guess what I would choose? Yep, the burger.
This was followed by overeating, feeling bloated, and then the lovely 3 pm crash.
My solution to eating a nutrient-rich meal with the proper portion sizes…
There is no way I would have the time to figure out my lunch and then pack it in the morning. It just won’t happen. It is not possible and does not fit my lifestyle.
For me to successfully bring my lunch to work, I must plan. Without a plan for success, I would fall flat on my face. The same goes for dinner time.
How many nights have you walked into the house, after working all day, and driving the kids to practice and said: “I have no idea what we are going to eat for dinner, let’s just order pizza.”
Yep, Me too!
When you have a plan, you have way less brain chatter.
I don’t have to figure out what I am going to eat and then battle the good versus evil cafeteria game every day.
I know exactly what we are eating every night of the week and it is prepped and ready to go. No last-minute picking up pizza or Chinese. No more, what do you want? I don’t know, what do you want?
It is a process.
It took time, and consistency, to stick to the prep and the plan. Most habit changes do! Over time it becomes a habit, like brushing your teeth.
The few hours my family spends on this task makes our busy week less chaotic and full of healthy nutrient-rich foods.
My meal prep adventure started with lunches, and then progressed to breakfast and dinner. I do not eat very many snacks intentionally.
In the hopes that my process may make your meal prep a bit easier, or get you started on your journey, I would like to share some steps I use to Meal Prep For a Successful Week.
- When you have a plan ahead of time on what you are going to eat, there is less brain chatter.
- Less chatter = less decision fatigue = more brainpower for more important decisions.
- Schedule an hour each week (this will get quicker over time) to plan out up to 5 meals. If you are new to meal prep, work your way up to 5 meals.
- Find a system that works for you. We use an excel spreadsheet and a grocery app on our phone, Our Groceries, that allows everyone in our family to add to the list.
- Get the family involved in meal prep. One can chop, one can prepare, and one can cook.
- When you find meals your family likes, add them to your “go-to meals” list. You can exchange these out every week.
- If you want to take it a step further, start to measure your food, or work on increasing your awareness of what and how much you are eating.
You got this!
If you want more help on setting yourself up for success and dialing in your nutrition click the button below to schedule a free 15 minute consult!