How to meal prep 101: setting yourself up for success!

One question I am often asked is how to meal prep and what meals can I make that are healthy AND don’t require a lot of time in the kitchen?

As a busy mom of 3, I don’t have the time to be spending an entire day prepping and cooking food for the week. Plus, I don’t enjoy cooking very much to be honest.  So the less time spent in the kitchen, the better. 

I’d love to share some of my tips for meal prepping with you today.

But first of all, what is meal prepping? There are two different ways to look at this, but in summary it involves preparing all your food for the week ahead of time.  So first, you can cook 2-3 large recipes and store them in containers or second, you can prepare individual proportion meals in containers for easy grab and go during the week. 

Meal prepping can save you money, time and keep you on track with your health and fitness goals, especially if your goal is to lose weight.  Since your meals are being prepared ahead of time, you are less likely to stop for fast food when you know you have a healthy dinner at home. 

How to get started:

  1. Pick a meal you would like to prepare: if you are just starting out, I would recommend to pick one: breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Set your meal plan for the week. For example, if breakfast is mostly needed, prepare breakfast for 5 mornings (examples: overnight oats, egg muffins).
  2. Pick a day to do your meal prepping.  For my family, we use Saturday or Sunday for meal prep. This is custom to your family’s schedule.
  3. Determine how much food you want to prep.  If you don't like eating the same thing for multiple days in a row, you may want to start out with prepping 2-3 days worth of food. 
  4. Find recipes online you love or in a cookbook (start simple).
  5. Once you find your recipes, write down the ingredients you will need and head to the grocery store (double or triple the ingredients depending how much food you are prepping).
  6. Set aside some time and cook those meals!

Foods that are easy to batch cook:

  1. Brown rice
  2. Vegetables 
  3. Lentils
  4. Chicken 
  5. Soups

Other tips: 

  1. Buy pre-cut and washed vegetables and salad when you can to save time
  2. Roasted veggies in the oven with some olive oil and seasoning is easy and tasty!
  3. When grocery shopping, do the majority of your shopping in the outer perimeter where all the fresh fruits, vegetables and lean proteins are located.  Processed foods are mainly kept in the aisles, try to refrain from spending a lot of your shopping here. 

I would recommend buying a crockpot or instant pot if you don't already have one.  This way you can throw all the ingredients in at once and cook a large meal. We use ours all the time to cook one main meal such as white chicken chili. 

I also like to prepare my snacks ahead of time. So make sure you buy enough fruit, nuts and vegetables to snack on for the week (or at least 3-4 days).  

My favorite go to snacks:

  1. Almonds or other raw nuts
  2. Apple or banana + peanut butter (or nut butter)
  3. Protein bar 
  4. Hummus + veggies (peppers, cauliflower, carrots) 

There's a quote that goes “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  And unfortunately with meal prepping and planning, that is the truth.  If you don’t prepare your meals ahead of time, it will be easier to reach for unhealthy food choices, which will make your health and fitness goals more difficult to achieve. 

If you want quick AND healthy recipes, the best fitness tips and support from other moms, head on over to the HEALTHY MAMA HUDDLE, OUR FREE FB GROUP!