If you’ve ever wanted to change your eating habits, chances are you’ve read about or heard of meal prep. Maybe you’ve even tried it yourself.
If the idea of all that planning and eating the same food over and over turned you off, you’re not alone. Many meal planning strategies expect that you’re ok eating boiled chicken and steamed broccoli every night of the week.
I know that if anything is going to keep my interest, I need variety and excitement! Eating healthy should be no different.
Follow my simple tips below for organized, efficient and stress free meal prep. It will set you up for a variety of delicious and nutritious meals without investing all of your precious time and energy. How great does that sound?! The first step is making the committment to START. Once you’ve done this, you’re on your way!
I’ve developed a free fill in the blanks cheat sheet that will walk you through all of the steps below.
5 SIMPLE STEPS FOR MEAL PREP DONE RIGHT
STEP 1: Set clear goals and intentions for the week
These can be related to your meal prep or general goals for your eating for the week (consider including exercise goals as well as this is part of the whole picture!) Here are some examples:
- I will plan all of my dinners for the week by Sunday night at 7 p.m.
- I will eat one cup of vegetables with my lunch and dinner at least five days this week
- I will exercise for 45 minutes three days this week
The more specific the better and the more likely you’ll be to follow through.
STEP 2: Schedule it to make it real.
Consult your calendar. Until it’s in your calendar, written down, it’s not real! Schedule a time for each of the following:
- Planning what meals you’re going to make for the week and writing out your grocery list (I suggest starting with just dinners, or whatever meal is the most challenging for you, working your way up to planning your other meals and snacks once you get comfortable with this routine)
- When you’re actually going to do your groceries for the week
- 1 hour to do some meal prep for the week. 1 hour, that’s it! You don’t need to be cooking all of your meals for the week. Just getting some of the staples ready (more on this to follow)
STEP 3: PLAN WITH PURPOSE
I’m going to introduce you to my 3-2-1 Method. It’s a simple strategy for efficient meal prep that will allow you to have all your key ingredients ready for the week. These items will be the staples of your meals for the week but by adding different spices, sauces or ready to go items like tortillas, bins of ready to eat greens and spice blends, the possibilities are endless. Mix them up in different combos to make stir frys, salads, pastas, soups or stews.
3 different vegetables (non-starchy vegetables like peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini etc.)
2 different proteins (chicken, fish, tofu, beans etc.)
1 carbohydrate (rice, quinoa, yams etc.)
This is the ultimate combo for meals that will help you lose weight, manage cravings and appetite, control blood sugars and increase your energy. Who doesn’t want that?!
3b) Plan your meals for the week around these staple items
3c) Write out an organized grocery list to save you time (template in my downloadable cheat sheet). Start with these items and add other ready to go items to complete the meals
STEP 4: PREP EFFICIENTLY
This is key to be able to get all of your prep done in just 1 hour. By following this order you’ll minimize mess and speed up the whole process!
- Start with your carb, get it cooking as it likely won’t require much attention once you get it going
- Get your protein cooking on the stove top, in the oven or on the grill, again you’ll be able to leave this for a bit once it starts cooking
- While your carb and protein cook, wash and cut up your vegetables.
While everything finishes cooking, start your clean up so that all that will be left is packing it all up!
STEP 5: STORE SAFELY
To make sure you’re not throwing out soggy vegetables or smelly meat half way through the week, follow the guidelines below.
- Use ziplock bags or airtight containers for optimal freshness
- Wrap your washed and chopped veggies in papertowel to soak up any extra moisture and prevent veggies from going soggy or slimey
- Freeze anything that won’t last more than a couple of days. These can be taken out mid week to be used for the second half of the week. (Check out this Foodkeeper App for info on how long foods keep in the fridge.
Ok, time to take action! Don’t put this off for another day or week when it’ll be “a better time to start”. The whole point of this strategy is to SAVE YOU TIME! I challenge you to try it out for at least 2 weeks (one to get used to it, 2 to nail it down).
I guarantee you will feel an instant wave of relief and peace of mind, knowing that you have a plan to finally be tackling your goals to eat well and take care of your body! Not to mention, having all those extra hours during the week with the prep behind you… as they say, priceless.
So say goodbye to staring blankly into the fridge, frustrated, wondering what to make and enjoy a healthier, more energetic life.
Congratulations on taking action on your goals, now it’s only a matter of time before the results follow!
I’d love to hear how this goes for you! Get in touch with your updates and progress or any questions with hashtag #LJ321method on instagram, twitter or Facebook! I can’t wait to hear!
I really want you to see how this can work for you, so as mentioned, I’ve created this detailed, fill in the blanks, cheat sheet to walk you through step by step and make sure you’re ready to take on the week!
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