This saying has some truth to it, especially regarding the foods you put in your body. Meal prep has changed my life and added many extra hours to my week that I never knew even existed! These “extra hours” were the same ones I usually spent prepping meals for me and my family on a daily basis, sometimes even two hours per night if you count the cutting, washing, cooking and clean up time.
Meal prepping (cooking only once per week) has freed up between 8 to 10 hours per week of my spare time that I now can enjoy with my family, unwind from the day, and most importantly ensuring that I stay on track with my nutrition!
The following meal prep plan is the one that I have formulated and that helped me succeed tremendously in all parts of my life! This plan is so efficient that you can’t afford NOT to do it! When you learn how to make meal prep a sacred ritual in your busy life and honor it, you will easily and naturally make it a priority and schedule around it so you never miss a week. Personally, I think that cooking and preparation food is one of the highest acts of self-love in which you can participate and it keeps giving back to your health all throughout the week and beyond.
I will show you exactly what I do to set myself up for a week of successful eating and my top five best tips for successful food prep.
1. Choose your recipes–pick what excites and nourishes you!
The way I choose my recipes is pretty simple. I want all of my daily meals to include a balanced amount of protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and complex carbs. I make sure to include some protein with every main meal. Then I put together a list of recipes that sound good to me with quality ingredients. Make sure to change it up every week to make it exciting and to taste something new each week, even if it is just changing the way you season your food. Play around in the kitchen and spice things up!
2. Make a grocery list and then stick to it.
Just go through the ingredient lists you have put together for your meals and note what you need to shop for. Decide if you’re going to double your recipes (this is called ‘batch cooking’) and start writing your grocery list based on the foods you’ll need. Keep a grocery list on your fridge to write things down on throughout the week for inspirational ideas of meals you would like to make for the following week.
3. Set aside some time to enjoy your grocery shopping trip.
It is really important that you actually enjoy grocery shopping! I recommend to shop the perimeter of the grocery store first because this prevents the temptation of buying unhealthy processed foods which are usually in the middle of the grocery store.
Also, trying out new recipes every week will take you to parts of the grocery store you have never been to and will help you discover how much fun it is to eat new food items! It is very important to shop on a SEPARATE day than the one on which you food prep, otherwise it becomes an all day project, time consuming and overwhelming–don’t make that mistake.
I usually do my shopping on Saturday and my food prep on Sunday so that my meals are ready for the work week.
4. Batch your time and batch your meals.
When you get home, having the recipes all printed out is your blueprint to doing meal prepping successfully. Batching your time and recipes (cooking large quantities of the same food) takes about two to three hours on the weekend and leaves you with between 8 to 10 extra free hours during the week! You will be making the best choices for my body all week and not relying on pre-made foods that have too much sugar, additives or ingredients that could otherwise be detrimental for your health.
5. Make meal prepping a Weekly Ritual.
You’ve got to adopt a lifestyle and habits that you can stick to for the long term. Trust me, it becomes easier to maintain these habits as they will become second nature to you overtime. You will see and feel the difference in your increased energy and decreased waistline!
Don’t count the calories, count the NUTRIENTS! Your body will tell you as soon as it’s full because the increased volume (quantity of fiber) and nutrient density (the micronutrients in the food) allows your hormones to signal properly, allowing you to feel fuller much sooner.
Pre and post workout, you need carbs and protein. But if you look at your prepared meals, you already have protein and complex carbs in abundance – why not eat one of your prepped meals that you’ve taken the time to prepare? Save money by avoiding processed junk and eating the quality food your body desires!
If you would like to learn more about food prep and if you would like to try some tasty new recipes to spark your creativity and become healthier, click here to join my upcoming food prep workshop.