We are just under two weeks in on our in-house nutrition challenge. Over the last two weeks our members have been focused on making time for themselves each day or taking a 5 minute action towards their overall goal each day. That action or time can and does look quite different from person to person, as it should.
Today we are going to give you 7 tips to help you make time to meal prep or take a 5 min extra mins a night to plan your next day.
Some have the time and enjoy devoting their Sundays to meal prep which sets them up for success during the week. Some like to prep each night by making a little extra and packing it for the next day. Whatever your approach is it’s not nearly as important as having a plan and executing that plan. Today we are going to talk about some tips and tricks to help you game plan your week and possibly actually enjoy meal prepping a bit(for those that don’t like it that is).
Even if you have the time to cook sometimes life throws you a rough day and cooking is the last thing you want to do. Why not have a fall back plan in the fridge ready to go so your rough day doesn’t turn in to a train wreck.
Here are 7 Tips to help you succeed during the week
1- Plan your meals- Before you go to the grocery store make a list of the meals you plan to eat during the week. Make a list of the ingredients and sides needed for those meals and stick to your list!! Not only will this help you plan out your week it will save you from purchasing things you don’t actually need or want. Throwing expired food away is the same as throwing cash away. We also recommend planning one backup for those “rough days” mentioned earlier.
2-Keep it Simple- Depending on the number of days you are prepping for you may not have enough time for elaborate recipes. You can bake multiple chicken breast with different seasonings all at the same time on the same pan if needed. Which knocks several days out together versus doing one individual recipe at a time. The more you practice the better you will get at this.
3- When choosing sides make them universal. This coincides with keeping it simple. Choose a side that can be enjoyed with multiple protein sources. Roasted/grilled veggies go with almost anything and are easy to reheat. Baked Sweet or regular potatoes can be dressed up any way you like when reheated.
4-Plan your prep day- You’ve gone shopping, you have your meal plan now what? Try to pick a day where you have time to prepare the meals you’ll need during the week. Again, many of us have Sundays off so we choose that day to prep for the week. Some enjoy Sunday Fundays or lazy Sundays so your prep day will have to be a different day during the week. What ever day you choose, make sure your meal plan works with the time you’ve left yourself to cook.
5- Keep the basics in stock- Always have some back up snacks like almonds, baby carrots, chopped fruit, hard boiled eggs etc. on hand. Again the more prepared you can be the more successful you will be. Sometimes the plan looked great on paper but in execution it got bland and the 5th day of chicken breast for lunch is not appealing. Having a way to “spice” that meal up or change it can make all the difference. We always keep frozen veggies in the freezer. My favorite short on time recipe is ground meat of choice in a skillet with frozen veggies added.
6-Portion your meals out and label them! Take as much second guessing and thought out of it as possible. The simpler you can make this process for you later in the week the better off you will be. If you tend to be in a hurry in the morning why add more stress to it. Label your plan, stick to the plan and crush the day!
7- Freeze it! Proteins and produce won’t last forever. If you expect to have a long week with little time to cook later in the week prep enough so you can freeze some. Take it out of the freezer the night before you intend to reheat and(for the most part) it should be ready for you the next day.
What if I don’t do any of this yet? That’s ok!
My best advice is to not try to do it all at once. Start with step one and go from there. Maybe you only plan/prep one meal a week, then two, then three etc. At some point with practice you will be a meal prep machine and actually look forward to your prep day. It brings an enormous sense of accomplishment to know you’ve taken the time to set you and your family up for a successful week with quality meal choices.
Like the advice we’ve shared so far? Did you know we offer Nutrition/Lifestyle coaching to everyone. You not have to be a member to take advantage of that service.