We hear it all the time.
The secret to success in healthy eating is prepping your food. It’s true, but it also can be a daunting task if you are not used to it. It’s one of the biggest obstacles my
clients face on a regular basis, so this week I am going to fill you in on how I consistently prep meals without it being overwhelming and time consuming.
First, let’s be clear. I don’t like to cook. If it weren’t for the fact that eating healthy is extremely important to me (and I prioritize things that are important to me), I wouldn’t do it, but I do. I have spent the past several years becoming very efficient at meal prepping because I prefer to spend my non-working hours doing other things.
There’s no reason for you to reinvent the wheel, so here are my best tips to make meal prep (and healthy eating) easier:
1. THINK AHEAD — I always make sure that I have the groceries I need before, or at the start, of the weekend. I will make a quick trip to Costco on a Friday afternoon if I have an extra 30 minutes or I will go as early as possible on Saturday morning. I will also order my groceries (either from the grocery store or through a service such as InstaCart) if I know my time is going to be tight on the weekend. With free delivery from so many places these days, there is NO reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of this service!
2. KEEP AN ONGOING LIST OF NEEDED ITEMS — As I run out of things during the week, I add it to a list. I use different methods for this. I either add it to an online shopping cart for a store that I am going to order groceries from and let it sit until I am ready to purchase or I use the notes feature on my phone/IPad. I also keep a small dry erase board on the side of the fridge so that my husband can add things he needs.
3. A CROCKPOT AND INSTAPOT ARE MY BEST FRIENDS — I used to grill a lot of chicken and other meat to have on hand during the week and still do on occasion. However, since I discovered the Instapot, it is my new go to for meal prep. This, along with my beloved Crockpot (I have two), make it very easy to throw in the ingredients and move on. I usually will make about 5 different meals on a Saturday or Sunday morning between these magic machines.
4. FREEZE EXTRA MEALS — Because I can easily double recipes in the Crockpot and Instapot, I will keep half of what I cook in the fridge to eat and freeze the other half. That way I am always ahead and, if I do have a busy weekend where meal prep is out of the question, I still have things on hand.
5. DON’T DO IT ALL AT ONCE — In order to keep from spending much time in the kitchen, I will prepare things intermittently throughout the weekend. I may start a Crockpot meal on Saturday and take care of one Instapot meal, which may take all of 15 minutes. Then I can do another couple of meals on Sunday morning while I am doing laundry and having my morning coffee. This little trick alone makes meal prep a non-event.
6. HAVE FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ON HAND — Along with the meals that I prep for the week, we always have salad ingredients in the fridge and fruits available. We also keep things like instant rice, oatmeal, and liquid egg whites readily available for quick meal accompaniments.
Meal prep does not have to be overwhelming. It may take you a bit of time to hit your stride with it but only with practice will you figure out what works best for you. I am including some links below to some of my favorite receipts to help get you started.
(I usually add a small can of tomato paste and some lemon juice to my salsa to thicken the sauce. This is one of my favorites!)
(This has some great Crockpot ideas)