Happy Saturday, everyone! It’s certainly felt like the longest (and hottest) week ever, so I’m so excited to be driving down to my grandma’s house in Rochester later today to spend a fun, family-filled weekend 🙂
Something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately as I run from here to there like a crazy person is how incredible it is that, for the most part, I have been eating pretty clean for the last 130 days. I’ve never been one who could commit to anything exercise or fitness wise, so I know I’ve made some pretty significant lifestyle changes.
I have a great post on the blog now about starting healthy routines in general, but today I wanted to talk specifically about what works for me, food wise. Hopefully, it can help someone else looking to jump into a meal planning system.
Without further ado, here are some handy hints!
Invest in the right containers.
When I first started prepping, I had a bunch of mismatched Tupperware containers. I was always struggling to match the right lids, had a hard time sticking to the right portion sizes, and found it really tricky to lug it all to work and back, especially if I had made something that I needed condiments for. I ended up buying an $8 lunchbox from Walmart, and while I loved it, I still felt that I could make things a lot easier on myself.
Not too long ago, I invested in a bento box. Bento boxes are great because they’re a tidy way to keep food all in one place, yet separated into appropriately sized compartments. Mine isn’t modeled after the wicked cool traditional Japanese style bento, but it was only $5 and has three compartments that are perfect for a sandwich or salad, and two healthy sides. (side note: you can always hop on the mason jar train, as shown above).
Prep more than once a week.
Too often, I hear of people blocking off one day a week to prep- for the entire week. Ok, I guess that’s fine really if that floats your boat, just hear me out. I believe you should prep twice per week. That way, you spend less time slaving away in the kitchen, and your ingredients stay fresher. I’m not usually worried about labeling my prep at all, since I know my Sunday prep will tide me over until Wednesday/Thursday, and my Thursday prep will carry me through the weekend.
I just like to make things as easy for myself as possible, while making sure that the food I’m eating tastes as good as possible. So much harder to stick to a plan if the food sucks.
Switch it up.
Let’s be real. No one likes eating the same thing over and over and over. Boredom is a slippery slope to cravings and, ultimately, falling off the bandwagon. Not that it’s the worst thing in the world, but if you can keep up the good work simply by introducing a new recipe, or even just using different spices and in-season produce, why not?
I like to source recipes from sites like Yummly and Pinterest, looking for ones with lean proteins and plenty of veggies. When I try a recipe and it comes out well, I’ll make it a bunch, but the second I start getting sick of it I pull back and look for how I can reinvent my weekly prep.
Stick to a grocery list.
This is soooo important. I am the worst culprit of “shopping hungry”. You know, when you go to the store, and maybe you’re a little hungry, and then all of a sudden….that bag of pizza rolls just rolled off the freezer shelf and into my conveniently placed shopping cart!
Worth a try. But all jokes aside, creating a written list- and sticking to it- is a cornerstone to effective prepping. You are going into the store with a plan and a budget, and walking out with everything you need to crush your weekly meal prep goals.
This is probably the only time I’m going to advise that you cut corners in anything. But, the more time you can save meal prepping, the more time you have left to, like, do stuff. It’s so easy to spend an entire day prepping- which is exhausting and unfulfilling.
Try splurging on precut veggies, ready-made skillet and oven sauces, baking produce and proteins together (hello, one sheet chicken bake), and busting out helpful kitchen devices like a rice cooker or crockpot. One thing I love to do is prep crockpot meals in advance. What I do is take all the ingredients (dry and liquid) and spices, stick them in a gallon Ziploc bag, label the bag with cook time and temp (high vs low), and stick it in the freezer for later. Before work, I just take it out, dump it in the crockpot, hit go- and it’s ready by the time I get home, and I can take it for lunch for the rest of the week.
Stay tuned for more health posts coming to the blog soon!
Keep it real,