We know what being healthy really entails. It takes a lot of attention, hard work, and willpower. We know what we have to do; however, the instructions to get there seem to get lost in translation at times.
Meal preparation is a perfect example of this health dilemma; it is truly easier said than done. Yes, it would be lovely if we all had gourmet cooking skills with oodles of time to prepare delicious meals. We would love to eat healthy and prepare our meals, but between excessive projects at work and trying to spend time with our loved ones, it can seem nearly impossible.
There are some basic meal prep guidelines that can help you plan ahead, save money, and de-stress all at once. Here are some bulletproof strategies to help you embark on your healthy journey, and implement lasting meal prep strategies.
Write Out Your Meals For The Week
This is the fun part! Over the weekend, you’ll likely have a bit of downtime; take this time to sit down and write out your meals for the week. You can look for fun recipes on Pinterest for some inspiration. From there, you can devise a simple shopping list and have everything planned and prepped for the week ahead.
Don’t Go Food Shopping Hungry
After you write out your list and have everything organized, you’ll head over to the grocery store to purchase any additional items not already in your kitchen. Always remember to eat a small something before you go shopping for food. If you leave the house ravenous and don’t eat anything, you’ll go crazy drooling over every single item in the grocery store. Eat a small snack, pull yourself together, and get to work!
Recreate & Repurpose Simple Recipes
You don’t have to make a different recipe for every single night of the week. Try taking a simple recipe from one night of the week, and recreating it for another night of the week. For example, make your own stir fry for Monday, and then dice it up and use it as filling for yummy Chicken Lettuce Wraps. You can make a big batch of chilli for Wednesday, and then whip up some delicious huevos rancheros with it for another weeknight.
Portion Control To Stay On Track
The best thing about meal prepping is that you have full control of what goes into your food and how much you portion out for yourself. You would be surprised by the actuality of serving sizes in regular restaurants! Portion out sensible meals for yourself and enjoy them throughout the week. This concept also applies to snacking; if you are a big snacker, try pre-packing small baggies filled with plain popcorn, healthy trail mix, or fresh fruit and vegetables. You’ll save calories and money this way, instead of paying for overpriced junk food at convenience stores.
Identify “Safe Spots”
There will be times that even the most diligent meal-prepper gets stumped. Things will come up in life, and you won’t always be able to cook ahead or pack snacks. This is when “safe spots” come into play. A “safe spot” is a quick-service restaurant that serves primarily healthy food. This is not a place where only one or two items on the menu are healthy. You want to avoid places with only one or two healthy items on the menu because, on a stressful day, you may be tempted by the majority of unhealthy items at the restaurant. Instead, find a salad shop or healthy sandwich/wrap specialty store where you have a slew of healthy options to choose from.
Which one of these meal prep strategies is your favorite? Try to implement these simple tips into your regimen and enjoy the journey towards a healthier lifestyle.