Hi friends, welcome back to This Healthy House! Today we are covering something super important to the success of your new, healthier lifestyle: meal prepping.
Summer is finally here, and life gets BUSY. Endless hours soaking up the sun, outdoor activities galore, and mile long buffet barbeques. The last thing on my mind is getting home in time to cook elaborate meals! I won’t be cutting my trips to the pool short anytime soon to make it home in time to prepare a well balanced lunch. So what’s a girl to do???
Enter meal prepping to the rescue!
Meal prepping will be your savior this time of you, and hopefully a habit you carry into the remainder of the year as well. By pre-planning and pre-prepping your meals, you will be sure to stay on track with your healthy eating goals. It can be so easy to fall into the trap of grab and go while you’re out and about, but as we all know, these are usually not the healthiest of options.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about an 80/20 lifestyle and won’t be giving up my weekly trips to the local ice cream shop anytime soon. But healthy lifestyle is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. Eating is crucial to a healthy life! You can not out-exercise a bad diet. Trust me, I’m speaking first hand here!
Write it Down
The first step to success is planning. Go through your favorite recipes. Peak around Pinterest. Ask your friends for some of their favorites. Be specific. Write down every meal you will be having for every single day for an entire week. Like I said, we are busy people. We can’t be bothering with more than one trip to the grocery store a week! If you account for every single meal, you will be sure to have everything you need. Not sure where to start as far as meal planning? I am happy to help! Email me at email@example.com and I will get you set up with everything you need!
Also take into account your personal lifestyle. Do you eat out the same night every week? Write that down. Are you a leftover person? Make life easier and make extra to eat for leftovers the following day. Do what works for you. The key to this is planning, how you fill in the rest is entirely up to you.
Make Your Grocery List
Pick a grocery day. Take a look at your schedule and find what will work for you on a consistent basis. Personally, I am not a huge fan of grocery shopping so I have started to take advantage of curbside express grocery pick up. Many grocery chains are hopping on this trend so be sure to check your local stores! This is especially convenient during the busy summer months when you don’t want to sacrifice an hour of sunshine inside the grocery store.
Make your list off of your meal prep log for the week. Don’t stray from your list. If you pick up those extra little temptations along the way, you will only end up sabotaging yourself. (I’m looking at you M&M’s on the shelf calling my name…)
Pick a Prep Day
You planned your meals, made your list, and got your groceries. Now it’s time to prep! Ideally, prep day will fall in line with grocery day. If this isn’t the case, you may want to consider rearranging your schedule. I would not recommend prep day any more than one day after grocery day, to ensure everything stays fresh.
You have two options for prep day. The first is full blown prep. I’m taking about cooking everything for the entire week and putting them into neat little containers, organized by day. The second is what I like to call ‘partial prep.’ Personally, I am a fan of option two.
For me, I partial prep because I do have the time and ability to do some light cooking during the week. If life is just too jam packed, you may want to go with option one. Just plan for a long day in the kitchen.
My prep consists of cleaning and chopping all of my fruits and veggies for the week. I will then bag them by meal. For example, I cooked a chicken dish with broccoli, red pepper and onion, so I put all of those veggies in a large Ziploc. This made for a quick grab and go when it was time to go in the oven.
I also make extra fruit and veggies and bag them in individual snack size bags. These will be my go to snack and meal supplements when life gets crazy and I have to stray from the plan, or I’m just in need of an extra healthy snack!
Depending on which prep option you chose for the week, your daily prep may be a bit more involved, or non existent. Personally, I do some light prepping each day. I usually take a few minutes mid-afternoon to throw all of my dinner ingredients together. If I did my job earlier in the week, everything should be ready to go and just require mixing together and seasoning. I then put the prepped meal in the refrigerator until it’s time to throw it in the oven for dinner.
If I know we will be out and about up until dinner time, I will cook the meal in the afternoon and then keep it in the refrigerator until dinner time to be reheated.
If you choose to pre cook everything on your prep day, then your daily life will be so easy! Simply reheat and enjoy!
ALWAYS Have a Backup
ALWAYS HAVE A BACKUP! You never know where your day may lead you. Pre-prepping single serve portions of fruits, veggies and other convenience foods can really save you on days that stray off course.
Some of my healthy go-to’s:
- Cut up fruits
- Cut up veggies
- Hard boiled eggs
- Cheese (cubed, string, etc.)
- Pre-cooked chicken (cubed or shredded)
These options can make for great snacks, or throw a few together for a full meal. Just a couple of weeks ago, we completely out of the blue bought a house right on the spot and needed to miss dinner to head to the realtor’s office. Rather than picking up McDonald’s at the drive thru, I was able to throw together some pre-cut veggies, hummus, fruit and a string cheese and I was all set with a healthy meal in under a minute!
You have officially set your week up for success! With a small investment of time, you have ensured that you are fully prepared to make healthy choices on the go, all week long. Please be sure to continue following along with This Healthy House for more healthy choices, fitness and nutrition tips, and plenty of motivation.
I would love to hear what works for you and your meal prepping! And if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.