Nutritious Nuggets: Meal Prep 101

We have all experienced coming home, starving and nothing to eat. This usually does not end with cooking something nutritious at home.  Instead, in hunger desperation, we go to a drive through and choose a spicy chicken sandwich rather than a salad, at least that is what happens to me!

Your nutrition is a vital part of your health journey. 80% of your body composition is made up from your diet; bottom line what you do in the kitchen (or out of it) matters big time. For me the best way to keep a healthy diet is to prepare every week. I meal prep every Sunday for the ENTIRE week. When I first started this it took a while, sometimes up to several hours. However, as we all know practice makes progress and now it takes me on average about 90 minutes. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way to simplify meal prepping.

  1. Make a menu and grocery list. Choose three meals you would like to make for the week and then create your grocery list. I like to make three meals a week so I have a variety to choose from and don’t get burnt out on the same meal day after day. Strive for your grocery list to consist mostly of lean meats, LOTS of produce and healthy fats. For tips on grocery shopping check out this post.
  2. Grocery shop the day before. Anytime I have to grocery shop on the same day as cooking multiple meals it ends up being more work than I want it to be. I have found it is best to shop one or two days before so the process doesn’t take up my entire day.
  3. Cook all your meals at the same time. How is this possible? My favorite way to meal prep is to have as many things cooking at once, while it is an art, the more you do it the easier it will be! I usually have my crockpot going, something baking in the oven and something simmering on the stovetop. This leads to three meals cooking at once. As the warmer weather arrives the grill is another great tool to cook up a ton of meats a veggies in no time.
  4. Make it enjoyable. This doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore. Get your family involved for quality family time, or invite a friend over to do it with you. Have your favorite playlist on in the background or get your learning on while listening to a podcast.
  5. Individually package your meals. Your future self will thank you for taking the extra 10 minutes to put your meals in individual Tupperware containers. It makes it that much easier to grab when you are headed out the door and running five minutes late.

Maybe the idea of cooking several meals in one day is too much for you. No prob. Think of ways to simplify your cooking by prepping ahead for the daily meals that you cook. Chop all your veggies ahead of time, thaw your meats the day before, make enough food for leftovers for the next day, and you can always use your crockpot to ensure you have a warm dinner ready when you get home. I may or may not own TWO crockpots which makes my meal prepping even easier!