5 TIPS TO MASTER YOUR FOOD PREP
You need to know what you plan to eat before you can prep it. Take the time to write out what you will have at each meal. You can do this by having theme meals for each day of the week (mexican monday, turkey tuesday, etc). You could just go to your pantry or freezer, see what you already have and base your meals off of those items. Those tips usually work pretty well to get your wheels turning for supper but what about the other meals of the day? You’ll need to plan those too! You might just need to plan those even more because if you’re like most of us, you’re eating all the other meals on the run or at work.
Think about what would work best for your situation. Do you have a microwave to heat up meat or do you need something that you eat cold?
If you can heat up your meals then think about meats like fish or beef and cooked sweet potato or steamed vegeatbles. If you have to gobble up cold meals then think chicken or turkey and raw vegetables or fruit. Hot could be scrambled eggs & cooked oats. Cold would be hard-boiled eggs & overnight oats.
Don’t think of the other meals as just ‘snacks’. Think of them as meals also. They may be smaller meals but they are meals. When you start to label every time you eat as a meal or a snack then it tricks your brain. You start to make the planning process more complicated and confusing. Yogurt, chicken, nuts and eggs can all be a ‘snack’ or a ‘meal’. In the end it’s all about portion size.
2. Keep it simple.
I eat the same meals pretty much all week long. So my first meal of the day will be the same food every day for a week. My second meal will be the same every day. Each meal is different during the day but the day as a whole looks the same on Tuesday as it does on Wednesday. This keeps my shopping, cooking, measuring and clean eating simple.
When I am throwing prepared food containers into a cooler at 6:45am with 3 kids I don’t have time to think.
I switch it up by changing my seasonings, condiments, sauces, vegetables and fruits. For example, I will have my husband grill 6 chicken breasts on the grill at once but I will season 3 with one thing and the other 3 with something else.
3. Trial & Error.
I don’t do well with Pinterest meal prep or complicated recipes. How do I know? I have tried it and it goes bad.
When I get on Pinterest for ideas on what to make for supper, I get overwhelmed. There’s too many ideas. There’s too many ingredients. It’s just too much!
I like to track my macros and count my calories because when I’m trying to get lean I don’t want to take in too much of certain macros. Then when trying to ‘bulk’ I try to eat more of those things, eat to grow. Anyway, when there’s a lot of ingredients I have to first of all make sure I have them or get them from the store (here are my staples to keep it simple). Then I have to plug it all into MyFitnessPal so I can track everything. Then how do I even know that’s correct?!? AHHHH! It’s too much!
Besides, have you just searched ‘chocolate chip cookies’? Shesh! How many ways are there to make good ol’ fashion chocolate chip cookies?
However, there are some people who eat up the freezer meals or fancy crock pot meals. If that’s you then please go right ahead! The idea is to do what works best for you and if that your thing, if that’s the thing that keeps you from going through the drive through between school and the ball game then DO IT!!!!!!
I also realized that I like to cook a huge batch of meat, cut up a huge bundle of vegetables, buy fruits that are easy to grab like apple or bananas and make meals off of those items.
4. Cook in bulk.
If you’re making muffins then make extra and freeze them. If you make soup, make extra and freeze it. It’s not hard and it will pay off!!!
You could even season a TON of chicken as soon as you get home from the grocery store, keep a little to grill that night and then put the rest in gallon bags and freeze. Then when you’re running around frantic before work stressing about what to have before the 6:00pm ball game, just throw the frozen chicken in the crock pot and let it cook all day.
If you have the grill on then throw some extra meat or vegetables on it. And FORCE yourself to eat it up! Don’t let it sit in the refrigerator and go bad. Make smaller portions of the same thing you would have for a supper and have it for a meal. Besides, if you’re working out super hard then you should have a substantial meal an hour before your workout, not a snack of a half a banana!
Remember where I said “I also realized that I like to cook a huge batch of meat, cut up a huge bundle of vegetables, buy fruits that are easy to grab like apple or bananas and make meals off of those items”? Well, I might ‘fry’ a bunch of ground beef without seasoning. Then take half and cook it with taco seasoning and the other half plain.
Then I’ll bake a cookie sheet of fish with just salt, cayenne pepper & garlic.
Right there I have 3 different flavors that can be made into a variety of meal combos but it all would take me about 20-30 minutes.
Oh and while all that is cooking I wash and cut up my veggies!!!
5. JUST DO IT!
This is probably the most important tips of all!
It’s easy to get discouraged, overwhelmed or get caught up in the planning. It’s hard sometimes to just do the work.
You will probably fail at first. Not too encouraging is it? We shouldn’t call it fail. It’s more like learning. You’ll learn something new each time you do it when you’re figuring out what system works best for you. You’ll learn if you’re the kind that needs to have each and every meal prepared and measured. You’ll learn what meals need to be totally ready and what meals can be thrown together last minute. You’ll learn if you need to have everything planned and seasoned based on each dish or if you can just throw together what you have in the refrigerator. You’ll learn what you use the most of and what you end up wasting. All of that is part of the process.
Do you already prep meals, meats or side dishes? What has worked for you? Anything I should add to our list of tips?
If you have foods already prepared and easy to grab then the kids can make their own meals. Here are a few ideas that might help. Please let me know if you have any tips for healthy kids meals because my kids seem to eat a lot of the same things over and over. I like it simple, REMEMBER? 🙂