Over the past few weeks I have received a lot of questions on social media regarding how and why I chose to meal prep. I have decided to write a post just to go over some of the basics of meal prepping. If I missed your question please comment below, email, or reach out to me on social media and I will be sure to respond back to you.
What is meal prepping?
Meal prepping is the preparation of a meal that is portioned out to last up to 3-7 days. You can meal prep for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Why meal prep?
Meal prepping has become so popular because of the convenience. I meal prep because I have found it to be a crucial way to reduce waste and allows me to plan ahead and count my calories effectively. If you are not planning your meals out ahead of time you are more likely to succumb to the temptation of eating unhealthy food. I know this for a fact because there has been many days when I would come home from work with no dinner planned and I would look at my husband and ask him what he wanted to eat and I would be so unprepared. Either, the meat would not be thawed out or we both would be indecisive on what we wanted to eat. Meal preparation is the last thing you want to find yourself doing after a long day of commuting and work.
It became even more difficult when my husband decided to follow a ketogentic and carnivore diet. With his diet change, he had his meals planned out- his meals were simple. As a result, I was left to plan meals for me and the rest of our family. So, if i didn’t prepare in advance or was too tired to cook when I got home in the evenings I would find myself ordering takeout. Honestly, takeout is the worst dead-end option ever! We live in the suburbs and we only have a few options for takeout: pizza and Chinese food; none of which are healthy food options. Aside, from the food options being unhealthy it can be costly to order out. (Average $20-$25 per takeout order) If you opt for takeout 1-2 times per week, it really can add up. I decided that this was not the way to go. Opting to meal prep was a great decision and the money I save from not ordering out during the week goes directly to purchasing groceries. I vowed to not waste anymore money on takeout. The food is never that good anyways!
How do I meal prep?
Saturday’s are grocery days for our family. Midway through the week my husband and I make our grocery list based off of what we would like to cook for the upcoming week. Since meal prepping does not offer much of a variety during the week we definitely take our time and plan our meals and try to switch up the contents of our meals each week. For example, if you are meal prepping chicken this week, consider prepping a red meat for the next week in order to add a variety. If not, I can almost guarantee that you will get tired of what you are eating and will give up on meal prepping. There are so many food combinations that you can create when meal prepping. Be creative!
So, we set out on Saturdays and grocery shop at all of our favorite stores which include: Aldi, Lidl, and Wegmans. Having our grocery list handy has been a helpful tip and disciplines us to stick to the list. If something is not listed, we do not need it. (No junk food) I have to say eliminating the junk food can save you so much money. We literally only purchase what we need for the week: meats, veggies, fruits, and spices. We prevously would shop for a few weeks at a time and stock up but found that we were not shopping efficiently. Shopping for the week ensures that no food goes to waste- it’s not enough time for fresh produce to spoil. We personally do not like to freeze our meat and opt to keep it fresh by not freezing it. Shopping in bulk for groceries can result in waste since you are racing to use food before the expiration date and you sometimes may purchase food and forget you even have it. This is what I call “wasteful shopping” and we were once victims of it.
Sunday’s are then dedicated to meal prepping. On Sunday morning I wake up and will put a load of laundry in; between doing laundry I meal prep. Meal prepping literally only takes about 1-2 hours out of my Sunday morning. Most importantly, meal prepping saves me 4-5 hours per week from having to cook dinner. This means when I come home from work all I have to do is heat dinner up which has already been portioned out. This is the best thing since sliced bread!
Here is a look in to this weeks meal prep:
- Baked Chicken (onions, green/yellow/red peppers)
- Cabbage w/ Carrots
- Steamed Potatoes
I encourage everyone to meal prep. If this is something you are currently doing each week please comment below your experience with meal prepping. Is it beneficial to you? Do you find yourself saving time throughout the week? If you are not currently meal prepping but are interested- I challenge you to give it a try for a week or two. Comment below your experience and let me know your thoughts. I wish you all continued success in your health and wellness journey.