I don’t know about you but I can start strong on Monday and by Wednesday, be strugglin’!! As the week progresses and things get stressful and busy and exhausting, I tend to loosen up on my willpower, and making healthy choices gets harder and harder.
That’s why I meal prep. If I have my meals planned and prepped ahead of time, then making the right choices when I don’t feel like it, is much easier. When Friday rolls around and I’m tired and hungry and it’s 6:00 p.m. and I want to order pizza, I remember I have a perfectly good meal waiting for me in the fridge. I can grab it and go, and be all the healthier for it.
Meal prep can be done no matter what health or weight loss plan you’re following. **TAPS MICROPHONE** …DID YA HEAR THAT?!You don’t have to use the same plan I do! Although I really love this one. hehe!
I personally love to follow this one, with colorful containers, so that I know how much of each food (protein, carbs, fruits, veggies, nuts, dressings, etc…) to eat each day and at each meal. It takes the guess work out of things
But whether you’re doing weight watchers, keto, atkins, whole 30, paleo, vegan, or whatEVER you decide, you can tailor these tips to your meal-prep needs.
First, you need to make a meal plan. Please note, that you need to tailor it to your own needs based on your recommended calorie bracket!
Jot down a meal plan for the entire week. Include snacks and all other foods you’ll eat each day. Remember to consider any special meals you’ll be eating, such as at a business meeting over lunch, or a pizza night with the family.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
I typically choose three proteins (eggs, lean beef/turkey, and chicken), three healthy carbs (oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and brown rice), and three veggies (broccoli, brussels sprouts, and spinach). I personally don’t mind eating the same things each day for a few days because I know I can change it up within the next few days. After choosing your “three-mains” each, of protein, carbs, and veggies, you’ll fill in the extras (fruits, nuts/seeds, dressings, etc…).
As a side note, I need four proteins every day, so I do eggs for breakfast and a protein shakefor an afternoon snack.
As you’re writing down your meal plan, simultaneously jot down a grocery list of the foods you’ll need from the grocery store in order to follow your plan.
Then, grocery shop.
Block off a few-hours of time to do meal prep. You can prep for all seven days, or you can just do a few days at a time if that works better for you. Some people like to prep on Sunday for the upcoming week. I’m a stay-at-home-mom, so I like to work meal prep into my week on a Monday or Tuesday.
You’ll want to make sure you have containers for your meals. I prefer these ones from amazon. I would recommend at least ordering a 15-pack, but I actually own like 50 of these containers at this point. #mealprepobsessed
Next you’ll want to go ahead and cook/prepare all your “main three’s”. Just cook them, put each in some sort of large bowl, and set up a little assembly line. If you’re that organized. For me it ends up looking a bit like a circus act in my kitchen, but it makes sense in my brain that way. 😉
You’ll line up 5 (if you’re prepping for five days) or 7 (if doing seven days) containers on your counter for lunch meals, and do the same for dinner meals. Then, you just start scooping things into your containers!
I typically start with my red (protein) container; I just scoop the lean ground beef (for example) out of the bowl (using the red container itself), and into my meal prep containers. Then I grab my yellow (carbs) container, scoop my brown rice (for example), and put it into my meal prep containers. I do the same for my green (veggie) container, and voila!
You can also portion out nuts, seeds, and fruits as well to really set yourself up for success.
I got all these smaller containers from the dollar tree! Can’t beat that!
I cannot tell you how helpful it is to meal prep! Even my hubby, who is a HUGE skeptic of ALL things health related (well actually, he used to be, but I’ll tell you how I got him on board in another post coming soon), has become pretty dedicated to meal prep. He’ll even completely take over and do all of our meal prep for the whole week sometimes!
I made this little video to explain the process a little better. Sometimes it’s easier to learn through seeing/hearing. (Side note the very beginning of this video got cut off but basically I had just said “meal prep can be super helpful because…” and then it cuts in there!) 😉
ALSO! Give yourself grace!! It will take you longer the first couple of times you meal prep, but it will get faster, I promise! Also you may miscalculate the first few times. Just adjust and do things differently next time. It’s all a part of the process!
If you have any questions comment below or reach out to me through email or instagram! I’ve also made this post Pinnable so hit the “Pinterst” button below and save this for your reference later on so you don’t get lost when you start your meal prep soon.
You can do this!! Tag me in your meal prep photos/stories on Instagram!! (@jenniferwagner.co)
P.S. To jump into the full 21 Day Fix Program, I recommend this challenge pack.