Tag Archives: meal prep

meal prep tips

Meal Prep Tips: Making Preparation Easy

Last week, we talked about WHY you should meal prep, but we didn’t want to leave you hanging without a couple of meal prep tips. When it comes to preparing your meals in advance, organization is the key to your success. It may seem like a lot of work in the beginning, but the time you take to get yourself organized is time well spent, so don’t skip these steps. It’s common to prepare meals for 3 to 4 days or even the entire week, bu the amount of meals you prepare and the amount of days/hours you spend cooking is entirely up to you.

Designing Your Plan

One of the most effective things you can do to get organized is design your meal plan. You can start on a week to week basis or you can design a schedule for the entire month. Either way, write down exactly what you’ll be having for every meal and every snack. You can keep it basic with a notebook and a pan, or utilize online meal planners and trackers. There are many free options available. If you’re just starting out, it may take a little while to find the system that works best for you, but the more you do this, the easier it will become.

Your schedule may vary, but it’s common to set aside an hour or so on a Sunday to sit down, write out your meals, collect the recipes you’ll be using, and get your grocery list together. When you start meal planning, it’s tempting to go a little overboard looking for fancy recipes or trying to incorporate a lot of variety, but the best thing you can do, at least in the beginning, is keep it simple. Find recipes with a small number of ingredients that you’re already familiar with. Get used to meal prepping and cooking several recipes at a time before you try to veer off and use fancy new-to-you ingredients.

Writing Your Grocery List

Before writing your grocery list, check your pantry and your refrigerator to see what you have on hand. Make a note of what you already have so you don’t pick up extra (one of the goals is to save money by eliminating waste).

When you get to your grocery list, organize your items on your list by where they are found in the grocery store. That way, you don’t have to spend time backtracking while you’re shopping or constantly re-reading your list to make sure you have everything. Put all produce items together, all canned items together, all meats together, and so on. If there any specialty items that you need to purchase at separate stores or online, put those items on a separate list and categorize them by store/website.

Ordering in Bulk

When you meal prep, you often use some of the same basic ingredients – like chicken breasts, olive oil, almond flour, and coconut milk, for example – repeatedly. You can save yourself time, and even money, by purchasing these items in larger quantities and stocking up your freezer and pantry.  If you don’t have one already, purchasing a membership to a wholesale club is a great way to save money and to find these staples in bulk all in one place. Most wholesale clubs are catching on to the growing interest in clean and healthy eating and offering plenty of options for consumers.

Like wholesale clubs, several different websites offer memberships where you have access to purchase healthy food items at a discount. Other websites provide items already discounted and offer periodic discount codes that deepen your savings. Bookmark your favorite websites and check them regularly for sales. When an item that you use regularly goes on sale, purchase a few extra and keep them on hand for when you need them.

meal planning

Meal Planning: Your Secret to Weight Loss Success

There’s a popular quote that goes something like this: “when you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. The internet couldn’t decide if it was Winston Churchill or Benjamin Franklin who said it, but nevertheless, the message is what’s important. While it’s true that sometimes things don’t go exactly according to plan, having a plan for what you’re going to eat, and making sure to have food with you that can help you execute that plan, is extremely important when it comes to losing weight.

Meal Planning

Planning your meals can help you stay on track so that you’re staying within your calorie needs. It also ensures that you have a meal handy so that you’re not ravenous throughout the day and end up overdoing it later in the evening. Spending some extra time planning your meals can also help you save money. When you’re going to the grocery store and buying from a list, you’re less likely to be tempted by snacks and other things that are off plan, which add up in the long run.

We get it – planning does take a little more time than flying by the seat of your pants, but we promise, it’s worth it. To make life a little easier for you, here are some tips to make your meal planning successful and as painless as possible.

Meal Planning Tips

  1. Set aside a few hours to build a menu. We know you’re busy, but your health is important so make meal planning a priority. Set aside a couple of hours on your day off and sit down with a pen and a notebook and write down what you’re going to eat for the week. Look through your cookbooks or on your favorite healthy cooking blogs and find some recipes that you like and build your menu.
  2. Design your menu efficiently. You don’t have to make things complicated. If there’s a casserole you want to try for dinner and it serves 6, put it on your menu for lunch the next day. When it comes to meal planning, leftovers are your best friend. Look for recipes that can be easily doubled or that use a lot of the same basic ingredients so that you don’t have to spend a lot of extra money.
  3. Make a shopping list. Now that you have your menu built and your recipes handy, spend time looking through all the ingredients and building a shopping list. It helps to separate the shopping list into sections like “produce”, “meat”, and “spices”. It may take a little extra effort at the time, but it will end up saving you time at the grocery store.
  4. Stick to your list. This step is really important. When you’re at the grocery store, buy ONLY the items on your list. Since you already know what you’re going to be eating for the week, there’s no need to veer from the list. Doing so will only derail your progress and cost you money. To help you with this, make sure you only go grocery shopping after you’ve had a satisfying meal. Going grocery shopping on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster.
  5. Spend a few hours cooking. This part isn’t mandatory, but it will help you immensely. Take a few hours on a Sunday or whatever day you have off to actually cook some (or all, if you’re feeling really ambitious) of those meals. This does take effort and more than a little patience, but the payoff is BIG. When you get the majority of your cooking done in one day, you can package each meal in single serving sizes that are ready for you to take with you wherever you have to go. You can also double recipes and freeze the extra for a day down the road when you don’t feel like cooking.

Do you meal prep? If so, we’d love to hear some more tips from you!