If you haven't heard me say it before, I'll say it again....
You need to eat mostly what you prepare if you want to eat healthy, for fat loss, or for physique goals!
Taking the time to make a meal plan and do some prep work is not difficult. But it is the biggest missing link when it comes to eating right. I think the overwhelming consensus is that it just takes up space in our lives that we aren't making room for. We've got to worry about a gazillion things for work, transporting kids, social events, extended family, and so on. you get the idea. We are mentally taxed. Being pulled in every direction.
We also don't have the skills or knowledge to make meal plans that are healthy and easy.
But you can make space for meal planning and prepping. By making the time for it you will save yourself time, money, energy, and increase your health.
The thing is that just like building muscle it doesn't happen by talking about how hard it is to make time to work out. It doesn't happen with one workout. Getting efficient and fast at meal planning and prepping takes practice and consistency. You have to build your meal planning and prepping muscles. Then once you have them you just need to maintain. Maintaining is when you can make a meal plan in 5 minutes. You have figured out how to prep while making other dinners or in a quick 20-60 minutes on Sunday while you are doing other household chores.
Start with these questions:
1. What day will you go grocery shopping?
2. What day will you do prep?
Set aside a time on a day that works consistently for meal prepping. Then you can make your plan anytime but you need to make sure that you have scheduled in grocery shopping before your meal prep day. So get that on the calendar now.
Then ask these questions:
1. What sources of protein will I eat this week? Every meal should have a good source of protein (chicken, ground turkey, salmon, tuna, tempeh, cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs...)
Plan out a protein or two that can be used in multiple meals with different flavors.
*Example is chicken thighs. Make a big batch and use some in salads for lunch and some in a stir fry for dinner.
*Example is Hard boiled eggs. Use them with a fruit for breakfast and in a salad for a lunch or two.
*Example is Ground turkey. Make a couple turkey burgers and some meatballs for zucchini pasta later in the week.
2. What non starchy vegetables will I pair with each meal (bell pepper, broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, zucchini...)
Always cut up lots of the veggies. Once you have got out the cutting board it takes only seconds to cut a little extra and put it in a container so that you have a salad bar on hand in your fridge at all times.
3. What healthy carbs will I add to meals? Be strategic. I believe eating most of your carbs early int he day is ideal. Then you will use them. Start to decrease them at dinner time. (sweet potato, butternut squash, wild rice, quinoa, beans...)
Always make extra of these too. Make extra sweet potato to pair with eggs in the morning or toss into a salad bowl so that you aren't ravenous by dinner because you tried to be too low carb mid day. Make extra wild rice for bowls paired with chicken and asparagus for dinner or lunch.
There are many different kinds of cooking techniques to choose from.
Roasting is so easy. Sheet pan meals are go-to for me. I can make a big batch of lots of stuff and then turn it into multiple meals through the week.
Pressure cooking is also a go to for me. I can make chicken thighs in 12 minutes and again pair them with different spices and veggies for a flavorful easy week of meals.
I also use the pressure cooker for hard boiled eggs and rice.
Try not to get too fancy or feel like you have to have 5 recipes picked out for the week. Stick to easy meals that you know and then maybe throw in one new recipe each week if you want on a day you have time to enjoy the process.
Variety is good but most successful healthy eaters have there go-to's and they make it easy so they can be successful. Set yourself up for success instead of making it more difficult then it needs to be.
Simplify and build on as you go.
Here is a sample meal plan using a great app called Pepper plate. Pay attention to the things that I make then carry over. On Sundays I might make Hard Boiled Eggs and Chicken but then through the week I am always making extra any time I cook so that I have more for another meal.
Here is a video I did on meal prep. Please email me and let me know what your biggest challenges are when it comes to meal prep and planning. I want to learn more about how I can help!