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Meal Prepping for Beginners: Tips and TidBits

Photo by M. McCoy

Wanting to learn how to meal prep but aren’t sure how? Today I will share a few things to think about before you started.

Why are you prepping?

Are you following a diet?

Any restrictions?

Are you trying to save time?

Are you wanting to portion your meals?

For me, it’s all the above!!I would much rather spend an hour or two one day a week versus cooking every night. I also am a fan of structure and organization. 

What Inspired Me to Meal Plan/Prep?

With my husband and I both working full time jobs and living life I figured meal prepping would help us save time and money. We both have a desire to be “healthy”, which to us means live a really long time and be able to do really cool things. I’ve always had a nag for wanting to be fit. Not skinny, fit! Also, call me a control freak or what have you, but organization brings me so much freakin’ joy!

How Do I Do It?

One day a week (usually Sunday), I think about what sounds good or what I’m craving. Once I figure out what I want to eat for the week, I think about how I can make a healthier or lighter version of that meal. I spend no more than 1 hour planning out what I want for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Now if you are starting a diet, or recently started, it may take more time.

Take spaghetti for example. Instead of pasta, I just substitute the pasta for Palmini Noodles which are hearts of palm. Or as my stepdad calls them “swamp cabbage”. That sounds awful, but it’s not. They make these noodles in fettuccine and lasagna style.  You could also replace the ground beef with ground turkey and save some calories there too. But guess what? If you aren’t looking to cut calories, carbs, dairy or any of that YOU DON’T HAVE TO. You can meal prep your favorite meals! The beauty is, there aren’t any rules. Little changes like that go a long way. When I first started meal prepping it took me several hours. So glad we are passed that. So what changed?

No Nos I Learned Along the Way

  • Don’t try several new recipes each week. All that time was wasted if you end up not  liking it!
  • Pick a day of the week that is less chaotic than the others
  • PLAN!!!
  • Take note of what is in your kitchen before you go to the store (we grocery shop every week). 
  • Make meals that will be yummy and filling or else you’ll be rummaging through the kitchen every couple hours.

TidBits

  • Frozen veggies work just as well
  • Cheese sticks, yogurts, fresh fruits and veggies, and other individual servings of snacks/breakfast save a lot of time
  • Sometimes prepping a protein and a veggie is all you can do, and that’s okay!
  • Desserts are no different. Prep those suckkers too
  • Casseroles, Instant Pot, and Crock Pot meals save a lot of work
  • Some days your fridge will look like a masterpiece and some days it will look like a toddler ran through it flailing their arms, it’s fine!

Meal prep will help you stay on track with your goals. It will make it less likely or you to grab something while you are out. It will help when you are in a hurry. It will help when you really don’t feel like cooking dinner. You can even freeze it! Sometime, I do that when I’ve made too much chili or spaghetti.

So turning on your favorite playlist and get prepping! Comment and let me know some of your favorite meal prepping tips or tidbits. I am always open to suggestions and looking for new inspiration.