If you've ever wanted to change your eating habits, chances are you've read about or heard of meal prep. Maybe you've even tried it yourself.
If the idea of all that planning and eating the same food over and over turned you off, you're not alone. Many meal planning strategies expect that you're OK eating boiled chicken and steamed broccoli every night of the week.
I know that if anything is going to keep my interest, I need variety and excitement! Eating healthy should be no different.
Follow my simple tips below for organized, efficient and stress-free meal prep. It will set you up for a variety of delicious and nutritious meals without investing all of your precious time and energy. How great does that sound?!
The first step is making the commitment to START. Once you've done this, you're on your way!
I've developed a free fill in the blanks cheat sheet that will walk you through all of the steps below.
5 SIMPLE STEPS FOR MEAL PREP DONE RIGHT
Step one: Set clear goals and intentions for the week
These can be related to your meal prep or general goals for your eating for the week (consider including exercise goals as well as this is part of the whole picture.)
Here are some examples:
-I will plan all of my dinners for the week by Sunday night at 7 p.m.
-I will eat one cup of vegetables with my lunch and dinner at least five days this week
-I will exercise for 45 minutes three days this week
The more specific the better and the more likely you'll be to follow through.
Step two: Schedule it to make it real
Consult your calendar. Until it's in your calendar, written down, it's not real!
Schedule a time for each of the following:
-Planning meals for the week and writing out your grocery list
-When you'll do your grocery shopping
-One hour to do some meal prep for the week. One hour, that's it! You don't need to be cooking all of your meals for the week. Just getting some of the staples ready (more on this to follow).
Step three: Plan with purpose
I'm going to introduce you to my 3-2-1 Method. It's a simple strategy for efficient meal prep that will allow you to have all your key ingredients ready for the week. These items will be the staples of your meals but by adding different spices, sauces or ready to go items like tortillas, bins of ready to eat greens and spice blends, the possibilities are endless. Mix them up in different combos to make stir fry recipes, salads, pastas, soups or stews.
Three a) Choose:
-Three different vegetables (non-starchy vegetables like peppers, mushrooms, broccoli)
-Two different protein (chicken, fish, tofu, beans etc.)
-One carbohydrate (rice, quinoa, yams etc.)
This is the ultimate combo for meals that will help you lose weight, manage cravings and appetite, control blood sugars and increase your energy. Who doesn't want that?!
Three b) Plan your meals for the week around these staple items
Three c) Write out an organized grocery list to save you time (template in my downloadable cheat sheet). Start with these items and add other ready to go items to complete the meals
Step four: Prep efficiently
This is key to be able to get all of your prep done in just one hour. By following this order you'll minimize mess and speed up the whole process!
-Start with your carb, get it cooking as it likely won't require much attention once you get it going.
-Get your protein cooking on the stove top, in the oven or on the grill, again you'll be able to leave this for a bit once it starts cooking.
-While your carb and protein cook, wash and cut up your vegetables.
-While everything finishes cooking, start your clean up so that all that will be left is packing it all up!
Step five: Store safely
To make sure you're not throwing out soggy vegetables or smelly meat half way through the week, follow the guidelines below.
-Use ziplock bags or airtight containers for optimal freshness
-Wrap your washed and chopped veggies in paper towel to soak up any extra moisture and prevent veggies from going soggy or slimey
-Freeze anything that won't last more than a couple of days. These can be taken out mid week to be used for the second half of the week. (Check out this Foodkeeper App for info on how long foods keep in the fridge)
OK, time to take action! Don't put this off for another day or week when it'll be "a better time to start". The whole point of this strategy is to save you time! I challenge you to try it out for at least two weeks (one to get used to it, two to nail it down).
I can almost guarantee you will feel an instant wave of relief, with a strategy and a plan to give you the peace of mind that you will finally be tackling that goal to start eating better and take care of your body!
I'd love to hear how this goes for you! Get in touch with your updates and progress or any questions with hashtag #LJ321method on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook! I can't wait to hear!
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