So I've been trying to find my groove in meal prep for a long time.
I've tried having the same meal every day for a week. I've tried doing buffet prep. I've tried it all and here's the secret.
They all work.
Yep, they all work. The trick is that you have to try different ways until you try the way that is best for you and your lifestyle.
The trick is that you have to have a plan. It has to be a plan that works for you and that you feel CONFIDENT in. Meal prepping, over time, will save you money, make your life easier, and keep you on track.
- you won't be buying food that doesn't get eaten and gets thrown out
- you will be less likely to swing by a restaurant and spend extra on food
- you will be more likely to stay on track
Here are a few different ways to try out meal prep:
This is a great way to start out. Come up with some of your favorite foods like maybe baked chicken, steamed broccoli, brown rice, sweet potatoes. and then mix them together throughout the week as you wish! Pros: You get to be a little creative every day and it's doesn't require you to be so rigid. Con: It's very easy to overcook or undercook and it's also very easy to feel overwhelmed with the flexibility and less likely to stay on track.
Traditional Meal Prep:
This requires you to make a plan. Plan out your food for each day, breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners and then pre-package them so all you have to do is pop them in the microwave. Pro: You are completely set for the week and it is much easier to stay on track when you know all you have to do is microwave your food. Con: It can get kind of boring eating the same thing for a week
Traditional Meal Prep (alternating days):
This is very much like the meal prep above, however, you eat the same meals MWF, and then TTH. Pro: Your food is all set for the week so it's incredibly easy to stay on track AND you have a little more variety Con: You have more food/recipes to prep.
If your'e going to go out to eat, plan it in during your meal prep, that way you bring the appropriate food that day. Look ahead and make a plan with the menu, it's a huge helper!
The other key is to pre count in whatever capacity you are monitoring your food. I use a color coded container system so my meal prep is pretty simple. I know how many green containers (vegetables) red containers (proteins) yellow containers (carbs) purple containers (fruit) blue containers (healthy fat) orange containers (seeds/dressings) and oils I get through the day and use pen and paper to figure it out.
What's funny is I actually fluctuate between different methods depending on my schedule, the week, and what's going on. For example, if I'm going out of town mid week, I'll probably do a buffet version in order to make sure I can get rid of the food in the fridge. If I have a particularly intense week, I'll do an alternating day traditional prep. The more stressful the week seems the MORE on track I need to be!
The trick is try different methods and find what works.
Try new foods and don't be afraid to try different things and methods. If you need help meal prepping I'm here to help you out!