How To Start Meal Prepping
Whether you're into fitness or just want to start bringing your lunch to work, meal prepping can be a great way to achieve your health and fitness goals and save some money in the process. To help you get started, I put together some brief guidelines based on what has helped me the most when I first started meal prepping 4 years ago. You can also download our free worksheet to help you get started by signing up for our email list!
What is Meal Prepping?
Meal prepping is the art (yes, it is an art) of cooking meals in advance. Depending on your goals, this can be as little as one meal or your entire food for the week, which is often the case for those in the athletic mindset such as bodybuilders, runners, and triathletes.
How to Start Meal Prepping
1.Know Why You Want To Meal Prep
Though meal prepping saves you lots of time during the week, it can be a time consuming activity when you actually set aside time to cook. As someone who values my health and fitness, I spend 4-5 hours cooking 8 meals for 5 days when I do my meal prep. I personally dedicate that much time to my food because I've seen great results with planning my menu and controlling what goes into my food is very important to me. If I didn’t have these reasons in the forefront of my mind when I'm exhausted or even just don’t feel like cooking, I would've fallen back into old habits and ultimately fell off. Knowing why you're allocating that time to doing this will help you tremendously going forward in adapting meal prepping into your schedule.
2.Get a Schedule
When it comes to meal prepping, planning is everything. You need to know how many days you want to plan meals for, as well as when you can go grocery shopping (or have groceries delivered) and actually cook the food. Especially when first starting out, it helps to allocate one day for shopping and another for cooking as to not make it too overwhelming. If you're big into using planners or time management, add it into your weekly schedule. If you have a schedule that changes consistently, it would be a good idea to base your schedule on a week to week basis.
3.Make a Menu
Now that the planning phase is down, it's time to look at what you actually want to cook. Making a menu is a great way to make sure that your schedule stays on track and that you're buying exactly what you need for the week. This is also your chance to get creative, experiment with different dishes and have a lot of fun with this!
A common challenge that many new meal preppers face is making the appropriate portion for the entire week. Often times, people make enough to feed an army or just enough for a couple of days. The best way to start is to look at how many servings your recipe is going to make and adapt accordingly to how many portions you need. If you're looking to hit a certain calorie range, I highly recommend investing in a food scale (simple ones cost around $10) so you can get a more accurate measurement of what's going into your food. Ultimately, portioning will come with the more experience you have doing it.
Did you find this post helpful? Leave a comment below. For alerts on new recipes, posts on how to eat plant-based and more, sign up for the Live Grow Green email list!