Meal planning is a lifesaver! Whether it’s a new habit you’re trying to form or you just want to get into a routine where you’re eating out less and making healthier choices. I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that meal planning is a lot of hard work and is often made up of boring, plain meals like chicken, spinach and sweet potato. Umm, NO! One of the biggest reasons I’m able to get through a work day (and have a good day at that!) is because I know I have something tasty to look forward to that is already prepared for me. Healthy AND delicious is so possible. I know because I eat that way every day and same with my clients! Meal prep saves you time, money and hassle. So, let’s dive into each of these shall we?
Saves you $$$
You don’t need to worry about spending all your money on takeout, or even spending time after work stopping to grab something because you’ve already got some freezer meals at home, or you’ve prepped for the week ahead. The money you spend per meal is SO MUCH CHEAPER because you’re creating your meals in bulk and you’re repurposing different ingredients for multiple meals. So no more aimlessly walking down the grocery isles to grab that one ingredient or a quick drive through stop.
Reduces Food Waste
This is a big one for me. When I was first learning to cook for myself, I just kind of bought groceries on a whim and I was finding a lot of my produce going bad, or forgetting about meat in the freezer. I think one of the best parts of meal prep and planning is being able to have a dual purpose for ingredients. Don’t buy 10 different types of veggies and let them go bad after using them in one meal. Learning to make meals with overlap ingredients helps you cut down on food waste because you know exactly what’s in the fridge and how it’s going to be used.
Saves you TIME
Saving time is sometimes just as important as saving money! I know I honestly can’t take time out of my busy day sometimes to make a big meal or even a sandwich! It’s go-go-go, and whether you’re working from home or out of an office, or even on the road, I promise life is SO much easier when you’ve already packed a lunch (and three more where that came from!) took just 45 minutes to make on a Sunday or on a weeknight after work. Making your meals in bulk is such a time saver and will keep you feeling satisfied and energized so you can focus on doing what you do best: Kicking ass at work!
I know when I first started working and wasn’t able to always eat at home, I was really stressed out thinking about when I was going to have my next meal and what it would be. Usually it was something quick and unhealthy. Plus, the last thing I wanted to do after a long day of work was cook and make a ton of food. Once I started prepping for my first bodybuilding competition I realized just how important food was to my progress. My day revolved around food so having it ready to go and take with me wherever I was going reduced SO much stress. If you know you will have a busy day meal prepping will be your savior. No more skipping meals!
If you don’t think you can plan out three meals a day, that’s ok. Try starting off planning dinner for each meal of the week and make enough so that there are leftovers for lunches all week long. From there, you can keep a good inventory of snacks and simple breakfast ideas until you find recipes you feel comfortable with and know you’ll love. Keep reading below for a few more Prep Tips and some essential meal prep items!
- Keep it simple
- Use the same ingredients more than once
- Prepare ingredients ahead of time
- Keep a well-stocked pantry and spice drawer
- Keep a well-stocked freezer
- Go easy on yourself!
My Favorite Meal Prep Tools
- Microwave safe containers
- Mason Jars
- Rice Cooker
- Crock Pot or Instant Pot
- Food Scale
- Spiral Vegetable Slicer
- Measuring cups to portion everything!
- Baking Sheets for roasting/baking
All in all, if you’re new to meal prepping, it can feel a little intimidating, and it will probably take some experimenting to figure out what will work for you. It’s also important to keep in mind that a meal-prepping session will take more time than cooking a single meal. Having the right gadgets, appliances and accessories on hand will stream line the process and make cooking all that food so much easier!