It's no secret that meal prep gets overlooked when thinking about improving daily habits. Meal prep has many benefits; it can aid in weight loss strategies, it can save you money and time, and it can give you a sense of accomplishment and motivation. Although meal prep seems like an easy solution, it seems to be one of the most challenging habit changes to make.
Let's take a look at a few strategies that can help you plan your meals for the week ahead:
1) Start with what you know
Meal prep could feel overwhelming at first. So try to make it easy on yourself when incorporating it into your daily routine. Try doubling your favorite recipes and plan easy snacks to prepare to start. I suggest making something you enjoy eating and making. The more enjoyable the experience the more you will feel motivated to do it again. Once meal prep is in your routine, you can start experimenting with new recipes or add new ideas to your meal prep! Go wild, have fun!
2) Aim to have a balanced meal
When choosing to do healthy meal prep, try to aim for a balanced plate. One source of carbs, one of protein with a side of vegetables paired with a good fat source is a good place to start.
4 oz of Chicken or Beef = Protein
1 cup of Rice = Carbs
1 cup of Lettuce, tomatoes, and chives = Vegetables
Topped with cheese or sauce of choice = Fat
3) Plan ahead
If you are trying to get into the habit of meal prep, it is probably in your best interest to plan ahead. Plan your grocery list as you go and make sure you include the ingredients you will need for each recipe you are planning to prepare. This will help you budget in advance and prevent any recipe mishaps. Because there is nothing worse than having to stop midway through cooking a meal to find out you are missing your main ingredient.
4) Invest in high-quality storage containers
There is nothing more frustrating than having your head into the cupboard (for what feels like forever) looking for the lid of your container. Save yourself some time and invest in good high-quality containers. Try aiming for microwavable and freezer-safe containers (typically glassware containers), this way you can reuse the same containers long-term. Not only does this make it more convenient for you, but it is also an eco-friendly option.
5) Keep your pantry well-stocked
Keeping your basic ingredients in your pantry topped up will help you get creative in the kitchen and nonetheless, help you facilitate your meal preparation. Things like oils, spices, flour, canned goods, baking essentials, and kinds of butter (peanut or almond butter) are all good examples of good basic ingredients to keep in your pantry.