I know firsthand how stressful it can be just thinking about meal planning and prepping. You're probably wondering what foods to make, how much time you should set aside, or if you even have enough time in the first place.
Meal prepping gets you thinking about what you're going to put into your body. Instead of binging on quick, unhealthy options, you can turn to healthy, balanced meals that you have already prepared.
Another benefit of meal prepping is that it's super convenient. Once you start preparing for the coming week, you'll realize you have less stress, more time, and a tendency to eat healthier throughout the week.
Take it from me: meal prepping helped me lose 65 lbs. in less than a year. At my heaviest weight, I would frequent drive-thrus and restaurants simply because I didn't plan my meals ahead.
If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed or unsure of how to start your meal prep, these tips can help:
Set aside time
I know that this is easier said than done, but make meal prepping a priority by setting aside a couple hours to prepare meals. Preparing everything at once for the next week or two will save you TONS of time overall.
I suggest setting aside a slower day to knock out grocery shopping and your meal prepping, so that you don't have to stress about food for the rest of the week. Check with your local grocery stores to see if they offer grocery delivery. This trick helped me reallocate the two hours I spend grocery shopping and be able to use that time to prep instead! Planning this time into your schedule is key to your weight loss goals; failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Pick out a couple of your favorite meals
Healthier meals consist of a lot of green veggies, lean protein like chicken or turkey, some complex carbs like brown rice or sweet potatoes, and a small amount of healthy fats from foods like avocado, almonds, or peanut butter (yum!)l.
Choose three or four of your favorite meals to prepare for the next week or two, because a variety of meals will prevent you from getting tired of the same foods. One of my go-to meals, for example, would be some green beans, turkey with green chile, and brown rice. I bake those with my favorite seasonings and some coconut oil for a filling meal that tastes and feels good.
Cook everything in the oven
I usually separate all of my ingredients onto cookie sheets, season them, and put everything in the oven. All you have to do is take out each kind of food as it's fully cooked.
This is a better alternative to cooking on a skillet because it doesn't require your full attention. Once the food is in the oven, you can go work out, clean, read, or do any number of things. This gives you much more freedom than standing over a hot stove while preparing meals.
Mix and match your portions
When you refrigerate or freeze your meals, separate each food into serving sizes in baggies or small containers. This way, you can mix up your favorite meals by grabbing whichever prepared ingredients sound best at that moment.
Don't forget to measure out each of your foods. I always used to feel like I needed to eat everything that was in front of me. Once the bag of chips was opened, it was usually gone in the same sitting. Measuring out your portions beforehand is the best way to prevent overeating simply because the food is in front of you.
Here's how I measure out each of my meals using the simple Hand Method: use the size of your hand to measure out each of these portions for a complete meal.
- Vegetables: An open hand
- Protein: A cupped hand
- Carbs: The palm of your hand
- Fats: An "OK" sign
I learned about nutrition and meal prep the hard way throughout my weight loss journey, after a lot of trial and error. But that doesn't mean you have to. Figure out the best mixes of proteins, veggies, complex carbs, and healthy fats for you, and prepare them ahead of time. If you're not sure where to start, I talk all about nutrition in my blog.
As a business owner, and especially as a new mom, my busy days are much better when all my meals are planned out. It can be hard to balance everything life throws at you, but I promise that meal prep will make that balance a lot more attainable.
For meal prepping tips, visit my Instagram: @ladyboss