“Meal Prepping” is one of those health and fitness phrases I try to completely avoid. I feel like it’s associated with making a crap ton of boring ingredients on a Sunday, keeping them in containers in the fridge all week, and being thoroughly grossed out by your slimy chicken and veggies by the time your lunch break on Wednesday rolls around.
So if you can’t tell by that sentence…. I don’t “meal prep” in the traditional sense. It takes the fun out of healthy eating for me! BUT I also know that when you’re crazy busy working a full time job, the last thing you want to do is spend hours shopping, cooking and worrying about your meals each week.
So here are all of my tips and tricks for grocery shopping and preparing healthy meals in a quick, easy, and less expensive way:
Never Come to Work Empty Handed
The easiest way to prevent yourself from diving into the donuts your coworker brought in for breakfast or choosing that last minute unhealthy lunch option is to have your meals with you and ready to go for the day. When you’re hungry and in a time crunch, you’re so much more likely to choose the unhealthy option! And while this is completely okay from time to time, doing that on a daily basis adds up and will prevent you from reaching your #bodygoals.
Planning out recipes doesn’t have to be super time consuming though! Make it part of your weekly routine by picking a day/time that works best for you. I usually do this on Saturday or Sunday mornings and always pick 3 different meals: 1 for breakfast and 2 for lunch/dinner.
I personally don’t do any bulk prep in advance. I feel like a broken record because I say this a lot- but in case you’re new here, I make two servings of dinner and save the other half for lunch the next day. Then it’s still relatively fresh! I also make my breakfast (usually a smoothie or oats) beforehand and leave it in the fridge overnight. Then I can just grab my meals for the day and go!
Check Your Recipes for Protein, Carbs & Fats
Now that we’ve set up a time and day to plan out our meals, we want to think about the macronutrients we’re going to be consuming. Remember: macros are the proteins, carbs and fats that make up our meals. If you want to learn more about macronutrients, you can listen to this podcast episode and check out this blog post.
Do you feel like you start craving something sugary and unhealthy around 3 pm? If that answer is yes, you probably didn’t consume enough protein and/or fats for lunch and breakfast! Making sure to include all 3 macros in adequate amounts throughout the week is super important to helping us reach our goals.
If the recipes you’re planning to make are lacking in either carbs, fats, or protein you can easily just add some in.
For example, if you want to make a salad that doesn’t have any protein in it, here are some sources of protein you could quickly add:
- Hard Boiled Egg
- Fish (shrimp, tuna, etc.)
- Black Beans
Reuse Staple Ingredients
So many meal plans that exist have yummy recipes, but they call for a TON of different ingredients throughout the same week. This is just overwhelming & expensive. No thank you very much.
Instead, I like to choose meals that have some overlap in ingredients, or include ingredients that I always keep in my fridge or pantry. So maybe this means making a taco salad for one meal and a taco pizza on cauliflower crust for another!
To see all the staple ingredients I keep in my apartment, check out these YouTube videos:
Take Advantage of Spices, Seasonings & Sauces
Reusing staple ingredients doesn’t have to mean that you feel like you’re eating the same exact recipe for every meal throughout the week. You can completely switch up the flavors by using different seasonings and sauces.
For my taco salad and taco pizza example above, here’s what you could do:
- Seasonings: Ancho Chili Powder & Garlic
- Dressing: Jalapeno Lime Vinaigrette
- Seasonings: Cumin & Garlic
- Sauce: Greek Yogurt Based Chili Lime Crema
The rest of the ingredients can stay exactly the same (like chicken, peppers, red onion, avocado, jalapeno, tomato, etc.) and you’ll have two completely different, delicious meals!
Once you start to incorporate these 4 easy tips into your weekly meal prep plan, you’ll be so prepared for your week of healthy meals! What are you going to try?
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