Hi friends, my name is Stephanie, Theresa invited me to post here on her blog to share some tips with you all, but first a little about me! I’m the author of www.Mealprepwithme.com which is a blog I started after I lost 90 lbs. Once people were able to see my weight loss, I was constantly being asked about how I did it. I’d tell them that I count calories by meal prepping, and people would all react similar: “Meal prep? Oh, I don’t have time for that!” and they would mostly become disinterested or ask if I’d heard of some fad diet, they were thinking about trying.
Over time, I had many friends ask me for my recipes whenever I shared what I was eating on social media. Eventually I decided I should blog about it so that everyone could have access to my recipes! I post new recipes weekly and share tips on meal prepping and bulk meals.
Over the course of my weight loss and maintenance I have learned lots of great tricks to make my meal prep easier and less time consuming. I’m going to share with you a great list of tricks to help you prepare yourself to eat healthy all week long. Whether you want to meal prep or not these tricks can help you stay on track and remove the stress of eating healthy.
This is the big one. It’s common sense, and I’m sure you’re thinking “well, yeah, obviously!”. If you want to eat healthy but you find yourself falling apart halfway through the week and end up eating take out because there’s “nothing to eat in this house!” What you need to do, is make it easy for yourself to make god choices when it would be so much easier to just pick something up!
I recommend that you schedule a day at the end of each week to plan out what you will eat next week and plan your grocery shopping for that. If you don’t think you can eat the same things all week and you’d rather cook throughout the week that’s completely fine, but you still need to plan for it! For example, Let’s say, this week I want to have chicken salads for 3 of my lunches to bring to work, snack boxes for the other 2. I want to have a soup for dinner 2 nights this week and maybe 2 nights I’ll have BBQ chicken breast with roasted sweet potato and asparagus and 1 night I have plans to have dinner with a friend.
So, you know what you want to eat, and you know how much food you’ll need. Now you can find some recipes and then build your shopping list!
What to Eat
My final tip is don’t feel like you must eat things you don’t like just because they’re healthy. If you don’t like salads, and they feel too much like diet food, don’t eat them! Find foods you enjoy and find a way to make a healthy version. Are there any special meals you love at your favorite restaurant? Get on the google-machine and see if you can find a healthy version of that thing! My favorite is Chipotle copycat recipes for their chicken or Olive Garden copycat recipes for their soups. There is no shortage of healthified copycat recipes on Pinterest!
Stock the Pantry
Keeping your pantry (fridge and freezer) full of essentials is another important step to eating healthy. It ensures you always have plenty of options available as well as herbs and spices on hand whenever you need them. If you’re busy or just more likely to take the easier option of eating fast food, knowing you have everything you need to make a lot of your favorite dishes already in your home will help keep you from running out to a restaurant.
What you need:
· Dried herbs
· Cooking oils
· Frozen chicken
· Frozen Ground beef
· Frozen or canned vegetables for soups
· Salad dressings
· Marinades, sauces
· Frozen Fruit
You might like my Pantry Essentials List found here: https://mailchi.mp/55fa92f0f03a/meal-prep-essentials-printable
After you do your grocery shopping, I recommend that you prep all your vegetables right away. Wash and dry everything and trim and slice all your vegetables and store them in containers lined with paper towel. When you want to throw together a salad it’s already cut you just have to toss the ingredients in a bowl and add dressing! You can do the same for a stir fry, soup or when you want a snack.
To speed things up, you may like to cook your proteins ahead of time. Too keep meats versatile throughout the week I recommend cooking with light seasonings like salt and pepper and keep it in the fridge to add to dishes throughout the week and adding more flavor at serving (there where your stocked pantry comes in handy!) For example, you can cook chicken breasts and cube or shred it to add to pasta dishes, soups, stir-fry’s, or salads. Toss your cubed chicken in some teriyaki and serve with some rice and steamed broccoli.
If you prefer not eating meat you may still prep your vegetarian/vegan proteins ahead of time as well. I love roasted chickpeas, baked cubed tofu, or lentil curry for easy pepped ahead meatless options. You might even like my chickpea curry recipe:
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, couscous or pasta are all great options. Select 1 or 2 each week to cook and keep in the fridge to build your meals. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are great roasted and eaten at any meal. Serve it with a couple eggs for breakfast, or some of your prepped ahead protein and a side salad from your prepped raw veggies.
When storing your cooked food ensure that everything is cool before adding lids to prevent your food from becoming soggy or steaming itself further. Add paper towel under and on top of chopped leafy vegetables and keep any vegetables the have a lot of water in them like tomatoes whole or they will become wilted. Consume everything within 3-5 days for the best quality.
Depending on how you like to eat you may choose one of two options or a combination of both:
1. Prepare your ingredients and store them separately in large containers to create a variety of meals throughout the week.
2. Prepare your ingredients and portion them into single serving meal containers (this is the better option if you eat out of the house i.e. work lunches)
I like to do a combination of both options. Usually, I’ll make a soup or other single pot meal for taking to work and then I’ll prepare something like salad ingredients and grill some chicken to store in the fridge for dinners for the week.
Meal Prep Tools
Tools that you will use the most are probably all things you already have on hand such as:
· Sharp knives
· Large cutting boards
· Rimmed baking sheets
· Silicone baking mats (or parchment paper)
· Large mixing bowls
· Kitchen scale
· Wooden spoons
· Large frying pan
· Large pot
· A blender or stick blender
· Meal size containers
· Bulk size containers
You don’t need any fancy tools to eat healthy! I’d just recommend investing in some good knives and a knife sharpener! In my mind, nothing is more miserable than chopping veggies with dull knives!
I hope with these tips you will feel armed with a plan and empowered to eat healthy while enjoying what you’re eating! Do you have any special tricks or tips that you use in your life to keep you eating healthy? We would love to hear about them in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
If you’d like to see more from me, here’s where you can find me: