Want to Meal Prep? Read This First.
Feature image by: Ella Olsson
Meal prepping can be challenging and discouraging if you’ve never prepped your meals before. What are the type of foods I should buy? Where should I grocery shop? Well, here are 6 tips that help me meal prep each week.
1. Go Shopping With A Plan
There have been many times when I have come home from the grocery store with food items that I don't need or want. These items might be foods that I was craving but are ultimately not a healthy option. Or, I end up purchasing food items that are great, but I have nothing to pair them with. I'll even ask myself, "Why did I grab this, again?" So, if you make a list before you go to the grocery store, it will keep you from buying food items that you don't need. Pro tip: eat before you start making this list or else you'll end up with some extra things your appetite wants but your body doesn't need.
2. Don't Forget About Snacks
A lot of people forget about snacks while they are making their meal prepping grocery list. Snacks help you to feel full throughout the day. I choose to include two snacks into my diet—one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Snacks can be anything from a baggie of veggies to a cup of yogurt, or your favorite protein bar to a carton of fruit. Try to pre-pack your snacks for convenience. This helps ensure that, later on in the day, you won't hear your stomach growl as you reach into your bag only to find that you have no snack to munch on. #snacksarelife
3. Diverse Meals
You never want to lose the joy of eating or deprive your taste buds of any flavor by continuously eating the same things day after day. So, the best advice I can give for meal prepping beginners is to find a few of your favorite flavors and to make diverse meals. Eating healthy doesn't have to mean eating bland foods. While you want your meals to be healthy, you also want them to be enjoyable. This is why I find it important to have a variety of flavors in your meals so that you always have something new to look forward to eating. I do this by making meals that I can eat for both lunch and dinner. This method allows me to switch my meals up based on how I'm feeling or what I'm craving at the moment. I never get bored!
4. Order Food Containers
Containers help me stay both motivated and organized throughout the week. After I meal prep I like to divide up my meals into individualized containers, which can be anything from tupperware to mason jars. Individualized meals make life more convenient, because each meal becomes an easy grab-and-go entree. It’s much easier than having to wake up early each morning to pack your daily meals, because sleep is important too, of course. With each meal having its own individual container, you won’t have an excuse to quit your meal prep lifestyle. Plus, most containers are reusable, which is better for the environment. I buy my meal prepping containers from Amazon (here).
5. Buy In Bulk
I usually try to go to a grocery store where I can buy my staple food items in bulk. Buying in bulk saves both money (#collegestudentbudgeting) and time which allows me to focus on implementing other healthy habits into my life. Some well-known grocery stores that I use are Costco and Sam's Club; however, any local wholesale grocery store works. If maximizing your time throughout the week is not an important factor for you, then you may think differently. In this case, consider buying your food items in smaller quantities. This is also a great alternative if you are looking to implement fresh ingredients into your daily diet, as fresh ingredients = shorter kitchen lifespan = more frequent trips to the grocery store.
6. Find Your Favorite Reusable Water Bottle
I know we’ve heard it all before, but one of the most important dietary staples is water. Drink as much water as your body feels comfortable drinking throughout the day—the more, the better! Hydration is great for your physical health and so much more. Buy a reusable water bottle so you can keep track of how much water you’re drinking. Reusable water bottles are not only convenient, but they’re also amazing for the environment!
Meal prepping can sometimes be difficult. What meal prep strategies have worked for you?