Updated: Apr 25, 2022
Meal planning is a great way to set yourself up for success and to allow yourself to stick to your goals throughout the week. Sticking to your goals can be challenging when you are pressed for time, taking care of kids, and constantly running out the door. It is easy to forget to make yourself a priority.
By prepping some healthy snacks and meals at the beginning of each week, you can easily grab and go and continue on with your busy schedule, while making your health a priority!
Meal prepping can feel overwhelming at times. If you are not sure where to start or what to make, of course, this process will feel intimidating. In this article, I will share some simple tips to make meal prepping feel like a breeze. By adopting some of these tips, you will be meal prepping like a pro in no time!
Tip #1: Write Out What You Want For Dinner Each Night Of The Week
Writing out different meals you would like to enjoy for the week can help you create a grocery list and begin prepping. Pinterest is an excellent resource for meal ideas! You can search for easy, healthy dinner recipes, and a selection will appear for you to choose from. It is important to keep in mind when choosing these meals to consider each food group. Keep your meals focused on whole foods such as legumes, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, high-quality protein, and healthy fats. Limiting refined grains and sugars will aid in keeping meals healthy. As you are scrolling through recipes, keep these food groups in mind. If any of them are missing, simply fill in the gaps. For example, if a recipe has every food group included except for healthy fat, throw in half of an avocado on the side!
Tip #2: Get Organized
Organizing your kitchen makes for successful meal prepping. Keeping your kitchen, pantry and fridge organized helps make menu creation simple and allows you to see everything you have on hand so you can better create a shopping list. Laying out all tools and ingredients you will need to start prep can be helpful when creating multiple recipes at once. Investing in quality glass storage containers can also help when getting meals organized for the week. When meals are split portion-sized into individual containers and ready to be microwaved in glass containers, this makes for an easy grab-and-go process for the future.
Tip #3: Consistently Make Time
Making meal planning a priority will help establish a habit. Once you’ve created the habit of setting a time every Sunday afternoon to meal prep, it will be built into your schedule and it will become a thoughtless task. Making time and staying consistent will be the key to success.
Tip #4: Always Bring A List When Grocery Shopping
Going to the grocery store without a list is a slippery slope. You can end up buying things you don't need or don't fall in line with your health goals. When you have a list with you, you are more inclined to only look for those items. You not only end up saving on money but you also save on time too. Grocery shopping, while you are hungry, is another dangerous game. You can end up buying things you’re craving at the moment, but don't necessarily align with your health goals. If you’re feeling hungry before grocery shopping, do not hesitate to have a snack first. This should hold you over until your shopping is complete!
Tip #5: Batch Cook
Batch cooking is when you prepare large quantities of specific foods for the purpose of using them in different ways throughout the week in different recipes. Try cooking a batch of quinoa or rice to have a base for recipes, washing and cutting a bunch of broccoli and cauliflower to have on hand to throw into a pan when ready to cook, or preparing a marinade for your choice of protein. Batch cooking this way can save you when you don't have tons of time to cook in the evenings. You could also batch cook cold dishes like pasta salads, quinoa salads, chickpea salads, tuna mash for sandwiches, etc. Batch cooking when you have the time allows you to stick to your health goals throughout the week when you do not have the time to cook.
Tip #6: Wash & Prep Fruits & Vegetables Right Away
As soon as you get home from the grocery store, put all of your produce in your sink and fill it with water and ¼ cup of white vinegar. This will strip any dirt or little bugs off your produce. Once your produce is washed, cut, and prepared for storage in the fridge so they are ready to enjoy. If your goal is to eat more fruits, this is a great way to aid that goal. If the fruit in your fridge has already been washed and prepped, you may be more inclined to grab an apple when you are looking for a snack.
Tip #7: Prep Smart, Not Hard!
If you do not have the time to wash and cut all your fruits and vegetables, there are lots of pre-chopped items at the grocery store that you can pick up. In most produce sections, you can find pre-cut fruits and veggies as well as zucchini noodles already spiralled, squash/potatoes pre-cut, etc. By purchasing pre-cut items, you save yourself on time and these items are ready to be thrown into a pan. Knowing when to scale back can improve your efficiency and allow you to stick to your goals, long-term.
The bottom line is that meal prepping is a great way to make healthier choices throughout the week and allows you to save on time and money. You can make it an enjoyable task you get to do every Sunday. Put on your favourite playlist or podcast and prep away! You could even include your kids in part of the prepping to make it a fun family experience.