August 18, 2015

A Handy Guide to Meal Prepping!

Good morning!

As I embark on my new career as a high school counselor this week, I have been gearing up for my new lifestyle (also I may be blogging a little less because I'm ridiculously busy--sorry!). I will have to be at work by 7:15am and will rarely be able to go off campus on a lunch break. Therefore, I need to bring all my meals, gym clothes, and work with me every day. Sure, I could bring a prepackaged meal, stop by a fast food place on my way to work, or bring leftovers. But a) I have to keep track of my nutrients and calories in order to stay feeling my best and staying in shape and b) I don't eat fast food...


...Fast food from a window that is! What I do eat are the individual meals I prepare using the meal prep planning method. Sundays I will make large portions of various meals complete with healthy sides that I can consume throughout the week. I have about a million tupperware containers so I can grab my meals and run out the door at 6:45am. All I need is a microwave at work.


You can meal prep breakfast, lunch, dinner, even snacks. I for one know that the last thing I want to worry about when I get home from a long day and a commute is dinner. Between long work days, driving, hitting the gym, and spending time with loved ones, I want to maximize my time doing what I love... and sometimes cooking is just another chore. And I love to cook! But time management is key to having a successful life, staying in shape, continuing to eat healthy, and being happy overall. Less stress = more happiness.

Ok, now that I've hopefully convinced you of why meal prepping is so great... here are some handy tips and recipe ideas so you can start your meal prepping journey:

1. I'm a list person. It seems that if I write something down, I'm much more likely to go through with it. Therefore, I will write down my workout and meal goals for the week. Check out this handy-dandy planner that can help to hold yourself accountable and ensure you buy all the right ingredients, etc, for your weekly meals. This company has a ton of options, including a fitness and meal specific planner. Check them out!


2. Invest in reusable containers. I have a variety of Tupperware containers. Some are Gladware from the grocery store and some I specifically bought for meal prepping because they have nifty little dividers so you can bring an assortment. The more types of food and color on your plate, the more nutrients you're consuming. Check out Amazon if you want to invest in these.

3. Figure out your "go-to" meals. For me, I'm a big Mexican food fan. Therefore, I always have salsa, Mexican spices, corn tortillas, chicken, and Mexican toppings on hand. But the same goes for any genre. For example, make crockpot oats to last the week. Oatmeal is cheap and you can buy it in bulk. Find your commonly made meals and make sure to always put those items on your grocery list. When you don't have time to test out a new recipe, the oldies are goodies.

Pictured here is my Crockpot Salsa Verde Chicken. It's super easy to throw together and you can make a huge batch to use for tacos, burrito bowls, salads, etc. You can also freeze it.

4. Start small. Meal prepping can seem overwhelming and I know I was intimidated by photos on Instagram and Pinterest of dozens of perfectly prepped and portioned meals in Tupperware. However, start off by just making one prepped meal, rather than meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For example, make my delicious Skinny Sloppy Joe's and keep what you don't eat in the fridge. Perfect for lunch or dinner leftovers.

My Baked Strawberry & Banana Oats is one of my most popular recipes and it heats up very well. (Your coworkers will ask you for the recipe :-)

5. Change it up!! For the most part, I can eat the same thing day in and day out for quite awhile. But it's more because I know it's good for me when I make it versus eating out and feeling guilty. However, chicken breast gets mighty old after awhile. (The boyfriend agrees.) So make sure you change it up. I use ground turkey a lot as well as fish. I also use veggies as much as possible. Veggies and spices really help step your flavor game up. For example, you can make turkey burgers, turkey chili, turkey spaghetti, and turkey meatloaf with a plain old package of lean ground turkey breast. Veggies are a great addition to any main dish, help keep you fuller longer, and of course, are soooo good for you. You can eat almost endless vegetables each day (minus potatoes, corn, avocados).


So there you have it! Five tips to get you started on meal prepping. What do you usually cook for make ahead meals?



5 comments:

  1. I guess what I do is make a meal that will keep for two or three days and make enough of it that I can eat on it like that. And of course it has to be somethign I want to eat that often. Yes I am fit and thin, but my focus when picking food is more basic and less waistline driven than I think most people who "prep".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rowdy,

      Thanks for sharing! It's nice to have a meal already made for the next couple of days. :-)

      Delete
  2. Yep, it is. But what I think colors my opinion and experience is that I set my own hours. So I don't work a traditional 9-5. This gives me a flexibility most people don't enjoy. Call me lucky aaannnddd thankful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What's your line of work? That's pretty cool that you set your own hours.

      Delete
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I read each and every comment and love to hear what you have to say. Thanks for checking out my blog. :-)

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