One of the keys to getting into a good nutrition routine is being prepared for the week. Sounds simple, but it can be a challenging routine to get into if cooking isn’t your favorite thing.
In this post I’ll share my process for meal prepping so you can see what meal prepping looks like in action. I’ll also share some tips that I find extremely helpful for sticking to a meal prepping routine.
It starts with planning for the meals you’ll cook for the week so you can compile a grocery list. I don’t know about you, but if I go to the grocery store without a list, I buy things I really don’t need and will likely need to go to the grocery store at least one other time during the week.
I don’t particularly enjoy spending time at the grocery store, so if I can limit my grocery trips to once a week, I’m happy. Also, I’m totally type A, so having a plan and making lists makes me happy.
I’m the type of person that doesn’t mind having the same meals throughout the week for breakfast and lunch. From week to week, I may change out what I’m eating but during the course of a week I eat the same things for breakfast and lunch. It just makes the cooking much more simple.
That may not work for you and that’s okay. You can prepare a few different meals to get in the variety you desire, if that works for you.
I spend about 2 hours on Sunday getting my breakfast and lunch ready for the entire week. This is start to finish time, including clean up. I’d much rather do that on Sunday than spend 20-30 minutes each evening putting meals together and cleaning up when I’m tired and want to spend time with my family.
So what do my typical meal prepped meals look like?
I always make a fruit and protein smoothie for breakfast post-workout. This smoothie usually has 1 cup of frozen mixed berries, a handful of greens, a banana, a scoop of protein powder, flaxseed and spirulina powder. I’ll put all the ingredients in my Magic Bullet cup the night before so it’s ready to go. This is the only thing I prep daily because I only have on Magic Bullet cup in the size I need. It only takes a minute or two to do when I clean up from dinner.
I also have a mid-morning snack at work which is usually one of my baked oatmeal varieties. I love how tasty and filling they are. Baked oatmeal feels like a treat but it’s full of good nutrition! It’s got a ton of fiber which will help you to feel full and satisfied.
Lately, my favorite lunch is tempeh bacon, with some sort of cooked grain like quinoa or farro, topped with mixed greens and other salad veggies. I love this salad with a quick tahini and lemon juice dressing. It’s so simple, but the flavors really complement each other. It’s also really satisfying because of the protein in the tempeh.
I really enjoy cooking so most nights, I cook something from scratch. I really try to plan for the meals I think I’ll cook so that I have all the ingredients I need on hand. There are always those nights where I feel some inspiration and deviate from the plan. This is when having a well stocked pantry and fridge comes in handy.
How Do You Make This Work for You?
- Decide what meals you’ll be prepping – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks – and identify what kind of food you like to eat from the categories you’ll be cooking. Do you like to have yogurt and granola for breakfast? Do you enjoy salads for lunch? Or maybe you prefer a soup or a bowl of rice and beans. It doesn’t really matter what it is, but decide. Then make your list of needed ingredients.
- Be sure to have all of your ingredients and supplies before you begin cooking. You may need to pick up reusable containers as well. Think about what will work best for the meals you’ll be preparing, how you will transport the meals to work, and where they’ll be stored.
- Decide what day you’ll meal prep. For me, Sunday makes the most sense because my work week begins on Monday. But for you that may be different, so modify according to your needs.
- Set aside 2 or so hours to cook and clean up on your meal prep day(s). I know that sounds like a LOT of time, but you won’t have to spend 20-30 minutes each day getting meals ready for the next day and cleaning up. I promise, it’ll be well worth your time.
- Don’t be afraid to make a mess, but tidy up as you go. This statement sounds contradictory, but I promise as you start to meal prep it’ll make more sense. Cooking is messy, and that’s okay. However, when you have a moment in between preparing components of your meals definitely tidy up. Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, wipe the counter, and generally get rid of the clutter.
Want More Support?
If you’re looking for more guidance and support in creating and maintaining a meal prep habit, please reach out to me in the comment section, on Instagram or via email firstname.lastname@example.org . I would love to work with you!