Meal Prep Tips and Tricks
A huge part of keeping on track with your fitness goals is planning and preparation. Meal prep can seem overwhelming so I thought I'd share a few tips and tricks on how to make your meal prep as simple and successful as possible!
1. Keep things simple but satisfying
I always say healthy doesn't have to be boring. It also doesn't have to be that complicated. There are a lot of delicious healthy recipes out there but often times the ingredients list is a mile long and that can be a bit overwhelming. You can still create delicious healthy meals without the excessive recipes. Finding the right condiments and seasoning has been a huge saver for me in this department. You can turn a simple bromeal of chicken and rice into a delicious buffalo chicken concoction with the simple addition of Franks hot sauce! Some of my favorite condiments and seasonings include buffalo sauce, reduced sugar ketchup, spicy mustard, low sodium taco seasoning, and any Bolthouse greek yogurt based dressing!
2. Treat your fruits and veggies first
When you get home from the grocery story, wash and chop your fruit and veggies right away! This will make them easily accessible for a healthy grab and go snack. Have you ever bought yourself a handful of bell peppers with the intention of packing peppers and hummus for a snack but then those peppers just sit in your fridge because you didn't wash and chop them up? I've certainly done that. I've found that if I chop up my veggies right away I am more likely to actually eat them as a snack or toss them on a salad.
3. Don't fear the microwavables!
I am not talking Hot Pockets. I am however talking Uncle Ben's 90 second ready rice packets and Steamfresh steamable veggies! Lately I have been using my air fryer for most of my veggies but if you have a lot of veggies to cook at once grabbing a few microwavables (I often use microwavable green beans) can help speed up cooking and prepping/clean up process.
4. Embrace the slow cooker
I am always talking about how much the slow cooker saves my life when it comes to prepping but it's seriously that easy. Save yourself some extra clean up as well by buying slow cooker liners. Pulled chicken, stuffed peppers, turkey meatloaf, soups and chili are a few meals that I like to make in my crock pot. The slow cooker is one less thing you have to keep an eye on while you go about your other chores or meal prepping.
5. Plan your meals before you shop
This just helps with the overall organization of meal prepping. I personally only prep for a few days at a time and prep a lot in bulk but having an idea of what meals and snacks I will be eating for the week helps eliminate the any extra cost/time spent preparing. If part of the reason you are meal prepping is to save money from getting lunch out, you'll want to make sure you are keeping your grocery list to the food that you'll actually eat that week. Sticking to the plan helps with less time in the grocery store and less time in the kitchen preparing.
6. Keep your snacks easy
If you don't own a big meal prep bag with durable tupperware some snacks can be tough to pack. Some of my go-to easy snacks that don't really take any prep time or make much of a mess include rice cakes, greek yogurt, protein bars, hard boiled eggs, fruits, veggies. I am going to combine two points here and add that I would recommend investing in some decent tupperware and/or meal bags. If you're someone that is out of the house all day being able to just pack up your food for the day in one spot makes such a difference! I used to be embarrassed to carry around my giant bag of food but it has honestly been a huge part of what has kept me on track. If I didn't have my meal prep bag there's a good chance I would just buy my lunches and snacks because I wouldn't want to deal with the extra hassle carrying all my food around in my tote bag where it's bound to spill and ruin my day.
So in summary my keys to a successful meal prep are:
Simple and satisfying meals
Washing and chopping my fruits and veggies right away
Microwavables and slow cookers
Investing in good tupperware and lunch bags