Meal Prep for Beginners (by Balancing Andie)
Balancing Andie's top 8 tips for the meal prep newbie:
- Start with a plan – write down your grocery list, your meals you plan on making, if you don’t know what you’re making – do some research ahead of time. The most frustrating thing is starting to meal prep and then finding out you don’t have rice or whatever you need. I also like to buy my meat as close to my prepping day as possible to keep it fresh. I like to pick a primary protein source, carbohydrate and vegetable each week that I want to focus one. I rotate this week to week for variety but I find it easier this way then try to and prep elaborate meals with too much variety.
- Start small – there’s no better way to fail than to try overhauling your life all at once. I’d suggest preparing meals on Sunday for Monday – Wednesday and then again on Wednesday for Thursday and Friday. This will help you know which meals last all week and which can’t. For example, salad likely will not last until Friday without getting soggy. If prepping twice a week doesn’t work for you like it doesn’t work for me, I just prep on Sunday for Monday – Thursday and then either go out for lunch on Friday or make something in the morning.
- Buy pre-packaged snacks – since starting school, I have started having Square Protein Bars or Coconut Yogurt and Granola as my afternoon snack. It takes very little prep to make the granola or get this snack in order. Obviously, buying snacks adds up in comparison to making them yourself but I just don’t have the time to make muffins or banana bread in addition to all the other things I am making.
- Use cooked vegetables – When starting out, stay away from raw vegetables until you figure out how to properly prepare them. I find vegetables like sweet potato, broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts are great additions to your meals that don’t change much aka they will be as soft as you roasted them to be and not get wilted as the week goes on. If you do want raw vegetables, I would use them up earlier in the week for optimal freshness or don’t cut them until the day of.
- Washing Fruit – Don’t wash your fruit on Sunday. Unless your fruit is washed and dried completely, it can begin to grow mold by the end of the week. I like to put a napkin on the bottom of the container and take my fruit unwashed or wash it the morning of.
- Picking Protein – There are ways to prepare your protein so it doesn’t taste dry by the last lunch. My favourite ways to prepare my meat is BBQing in the summer or making hamburger patties in my oven. I like to mix my Turkey meat with Beef to keep the Turkey moist yet still healthy and tasty. It’ll take time to find what meats you like. My favourite vegan proteins for meal prep are tempeh or chickpeas.
- Portion Control – Meal prepping is a great way to practice portion control. When eating out, you usually get WAY too much food that you should be consuming in one sitting but when it’s packed into a Styrofoam box, we eat it all. If you’re looking to lose weight, this is a great time to start counting your macros so you have an idea of what you should be eating and the balance between your macronutrients.
- Lower your expectations – Harsh but true. The food isn’t going to taste like you JUST prepared it. Most foods taste different microwaved just like they would at home. That’s just what it is…I choose to compromise taste a bit to eat healthy and not worry about making poor choices last minute in moments of hunger during my work week
For her full Blog Post: http://balancingandie.com/mealpreppingtipsforbeginners/