A lot of prep work needs to be done to eat healthy, which I know can feel very daunting when first starting out. However, if you plan well and are prepared to spend some time at the beginning of the week doing smart food prep you will be setting yourself up for success. A huge cause of why people end up eating unhealthy food is because they get caught off guard...hungry and with nothing healthy on hand. That’s why if you are prepared, slipups are less likely to occur. It may take a few hours to do the prep, but you will ultimately save time over the week, as well as, have healthy food ready to go to set yourself up for success!
And let me clarify...I love meal prepping but I'm not big into meal planning. I would rather see us get to a mindfulness and listening to our bodies as to what they want vs “ tonight is chicken and salad night but I really want salmon and broccoli”. I also believe that meal planning can give us a false sense of security and a false sense of control. It's kind of like being on another diet so to speak. So please remember the difference...meal prep but not necessarily meal plan:).
Here are my tips…
1. Create smoothie freezer bags.
Smoothies are a delicious quick breakfast option or snack to have when on the go. When you are doing your meal prep for the week get some zip lock bags and fill them with your favorite smoothie ingredients. All you need to do is grab your pre packed smoothie bag from the freezer in the morning, add a liquid of your choice, blend and you have a quick healthy meal in a matter of minutes. By using frozen ingredients it makes your smoothies nice and thick too.
2. Eat your leftovers and cook in bulk.
If you don’t have time to do a big bulk meal prep session then when you do get time to cook make extra, so you can have leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. It’s all about making smart use of your time, so if you are going to the trouble of cooking, then you may as well cook a few meals at one time. Now before you roll your eyes at having to eat leftovers, remember that it’s far better to eat the same healthy meal a few times, then it is to fall of the wagon when there is nothing healthy on hand.
3. Chop your veggies in bulk.
When you move to a healthy diet that doesn’t come out of a box then you will find that there is a lot more time spent chopping vegetables. It’s crucial to get your greens and veggies out of their plastic bags and stored properly. They will last much longer. I also have small mason jars filled with water on my top refrigerator shelf to store parsley and basil. My current parsley is going on three weeks and it's as beautiful as the day I bought it. Chop your veggie sticks for snacks and then store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Cover the veggies in water which will keep them fresh and crunchy for up to five days. Chop all your other vegetables and then store in zip lock bags. You can either keep these in the fridge or freezer and ready to go for when you need that quick meal on hand. Your veggie options will be endless...stir fry, steamed veggies, soups, add ins for salads. So again, the idea is to have your refrigerator stocked with healthy greens, fruits, veggies, and protein and then when dinner time rolls around you have plenty of healthy options that you're in the mood for vs “tonight is chicken and salad night and I really want salmon and broccoli”.
4. Hard boil a dozen eggs while you're chopping veggies.
You now have a healthy protein ready to go! It doesn't get easier than that!
If you haven’t realized already from all of these tips you are going to need a lot of containers and fridge room to store all the food you are making. Look for glass containers or BPA free containers. Other handy things to have in the cupboards for meal prep are ziplock baggies for your smoothies, veggies and freezer meals. I know all of this can seem like a lot of work to start with but remember why you are doing it and that big changes don’t come easy. However, once you start prepping this way, you will be able to find your groove in the kitchen and I promise it will get a lot easier as time goes on. There is so much truth in that saying “by failing to prepare you’re preparing to fail”. Remember by having quick instant healthy meals on hand you are less likely to fall off the wagon and grab take out or worse!