If you are just starting your weight loss journey, you will soon learn that meal prep is one of the smartest things you can do.
Having quick access to delicious, homemade meals is one of the best ways to ensure you stay on track and reach your weight loss goal.
The problem is most beginners make meal prep far too complicated. In reality however, good meal prep only requires three things, proper planning, adequate time, and a little bit of elbow grease.
The great thing about meal prep is it gives you complete control over what’s going in your body. It also helps you save both time and money.
If you are new to meal prep, here are six simple tips that will help you get started as quickly and easily as possible.
Invest In High Quality Containers
Preparing your meals is one thing, but storing them properly is something completely different. If your food is not stored properly it will not taste its best when its time to eat it.
If you need to keep your food warm or chilled, opt for thermal stainless steel containers. They come in a variety of different sizes and can be refrigerated, or warmed, ahead of time which ensures your food remains the perfect temperature for eating.
If safety is your biggest concern, opt for glassware containers. Just make sure you are super careful as they are very fragile.
If possible, stay away from any type of plastic containers. Even the non-BPA versions often contain harmful chemicals that can seep into your food and wreak havoc on your hormones.
Keep Things Simple
When it comes to meal prep simple is always better. The last thing you want to do is spend the entire day cooking elaborate meals that take hours on end. Save those for special meals you are having with your family.
For meal prep you want simple meals that require five ingredients or less. One pot recipes are great because they don’t require a lot of dirty dishes.
For best results start by meal prepping just one recipe. If you try to do multiple recipes your first time it will only frustrate you and you will probably never meal prep again.
So keep it simple and make things as easy as possible for yourself.
Prepare Balanced Meals
The purpose of meal prep is to ensure you have easy access to meals that will keep you satisfied throughout the day. That’s why its so important you prepare balanced meals.
Have a good source of protein, a carbohydrate and a healthy fat with each of your meals. The idea is to make sure you get enough of all the right food groups by the end of the day.
For your snacks opt for fruits, nuts or vegetables if you enjoy eating them raw.
Stay Within Your Comfort Zone
The last thing you want to do is prepare meals that you end up not eating. When it comes to preparing your meals make sure you stay in your comfort zone. Prepare meals that you not only enjoy making, but that you will also eat.
Prepare Enough Food
One of the biggest challenges you will run into during meal prep is figuring out if you have prepared enough food to last a few days.
That’s why its so important you create a plan. Sit down and write out the recipes you will be making and how much food you will need on hand.
You may even consider investing in a food scale that will allow you to weigh your food. This way you will know the exact portions you have on hand for each meal.
Schedule Time To Prep Your Meals
Meal prep takes time. Its not something you can just do on a whim. You have to prepare for it and you have to schedule time for it.
Generally speaking meal prep will take at least 2 hours. The time it takes will of course depend on the type of meals you are preparing and how many days worth of food you are cooking.
There is no perfect day to meal prep. You have to do it when its best for you. Some people prefer to meal prep on Sunday for the entire week while others prefer to meal prep multiple times a week.
How and when you do is totally up to you. Just make sure you schedule it and do your best to stick with that schedule.
To keep things from getting boring try swapping out different parts of the recipe. For example, if you always have broccoli and chicken, next week try chicken and green beans.
It may sound simple but switching up your vegetables and sauces can turn a boring meal into something new and exciting that you will enjoy eating.
One simple way to get the most out of your meal prep is to take a full day to prepare your meals for the entire week.
Prep and freeze several meals and thaw them out the night before you plan on eating them.