DIY MEAL PREP 101
Meal Prep for Success
"Fail to prepare, prepare to fail"
Unfortunately, in today's we world we are surrounded by "food" or should I say food like products. We can pretty much walk into any store and find something to munch on. That doesn't mean that we should. Fast food, take out, packaged foods, & frozen foods might be easy to grab on the go and seem like our only option at times but they are certainly not the smartest option. Especially if you are starting to dial in our your health and nutrition. You are going to want to know EXACLY what you are putting into your body at all times.
The major problems with the options listed above are:
1) We don't really know for sure what the food is made of, where the food is from, or how it is cooked
2) Portion sizes are typically too big and we end up overeating
3) Most of these foods will be overly processed and contain artificial fillers and preservatives
4) Ingredients will not be the freshest or highest of quality which = less nutritional benefits (no bang for your buck here)
5) Pricey! Costs will add up either on your credit card bill or with doctor bills.
Take control of your health and FUEL your body with the food it needs and deserves. You are worth more than a 99 cent big mac. Respect yourself enough to make your health a priority in your budget and your time.
BEGINNERS GUIDE TO MEAL PREPPING
Here are some steps to get you going with your Meal Prep. The first two steps will be the easiest then step 3 requires you to put in the real work. Learn to love the process and each week find ways to improve the process until you find what works best for you and your schedule!
#1 Prepare for change:
First things first, here are the key things you will need to begin...
These will be one time purchases that will last a lifetime and be a staple in your meal prep process....
Measurements: You are going to need a food scale. You can find a cheap one on amazon. Next a set of measuring cups if you do not have them already.
Storage: invest in some tupperware! preferably glass since you will be able to wash & reuse + heat up food safely in. You can find at costco or BJs. Trust me you are going to want to buy in bulk you will be eating and storing a lot of food and they will come in handy.
Other things that can be useful: (listed from most important to least)
good set of knives, a cutting board, a good quality frying pan, cast iron grill pan (for yummy chicken & burgers), baking sheets, a waffle maker
#2 Welcome the change: Food shop
Before you head to the store make sure you make a shopping list so you stay on track and don't forget anything. Brainstorm before hand about what meals you plan to make for the week and what ingredients you will need to create those dishes.
Food shopping tips
Get creative: Based off of your diet you can research or get creative to find healthy recipes to try out each week and be sure to include those ingredients on your list. Try Yummly.com or Pinterest for ideas!
Smart shopping: Get a membership at BJs or Costco for deals and to buy in bulk. They have a lot of organic products for good prices.
Buy local: Go to your local farmers market for the freshest and cheapest seasonal fruits and veggies
After you food shop it is time to take it all home and get to work!
#3 Take action:
Action steps are usually the hardest, especially when something is new to us. We did all the easy stuff which was pulling items off of the shelf and now we have a pile of raw chicken breasts sitting on our counter and we don't know what to do.
Stress buster: If you are feeling overwhelmed here just relax, take a seat, and pull up youtube.com
Look up a tutorial on whatever is keeping you stuck
For ex. "how to trim the fat off of chicken breast" or "healthy and easy grilled chicken dish"
Also, check out "The Protein Chef" for super easy and clean recipes
Experiment, find your groove, do anything but give up
After you prepare all your food it is time to divide and conquer!
This is what I have found to be the easiest for preparing individual meals:
Prepare a few different meals in bulk to eat for the week (including carbs, veggies, & protein)
Place all your food into separate large containers for bulk storage in the fridge
Set aside 3-6 small containers and weigh out your meals for the next day the night before
Repeat this process each night as needed
Replace bulk containers with food as supplies diminish
After you give it a good effort or maybe decide not to even make the effort we can take a look into plan b. If all this is still way to difficult or time consuming for you there are other EASIER options as well. Thankfully, there a number of meal prep services popping up nationwide. If you can find one with a good reputation that will weigh out all your food into your specific portions and sells quality food try them out! In the end it will equal out to almost the same price just without the hassle!
Written by: Martine Acanfora