“What do you think is the most important thing for you focus on right now?” – Me
“Well, I want to meal prep! But I don’t know how. I spent 8 hours this past Sunday in my kitchen, and by the time I got to the food I prepared for Friday, it was bad! I feel like I wasted my money and my time. I’m don’t think I can do this every week.” – Her
Myth: Meal prep can only take place on Sundays.
Myth: You must spend a minimum of six hours preparing food for the week.
Myth: You have to use complicated recipes and perfectly portion each meal.
We all know that preparing our meals (before the moment we need them) is the smartest choice for reaching our goals. Nutrition makes up 80% of our results, while only 20% actually comes from our workout routine. When I sit with clients to set goals and we create a game plan, meal prepping comes up the most frequently! It’s not that we don’t understand how this could help us, or why it is so important. The disconnect lies here: the path from hitting the grocery store to putting a stack of prepared meals in the fridge is unclear.
This makes sense. It requires careful time and attention to know how much food you need for a whole week’s worth of meals. And even if you’ve got that part figured out, how can you get the food made within a reasonable amount of time? This is the part that often gets overlooked. If you do not have a clear order of operations in the kitchen, you may find yourself starting the part of your meal that takes the longest… at the end. Oops.
I want to give you a few simple tips for preparing your meals in advance. Taking these few steps will allow you to cut down on your preparation time. And eventually, you’ll be able to do this in your head.Before heating up the oven and firing up the stove, create a game plan. Here’s what I do before I jump into my meal prep:
- Determine the quantities for each food item that will be required & shop accordingly
- Example: If you are eating four ounces of chicken for lunch for five days, you know that you’ll need roughly 20 ounces of chicken prepared to get you through the week.
- Write down every task that needs to be completed
- Examples:chopping vegetables, make brown rice, grill chicken
- Determine, roughly, the amount of time that each individual task will take
- Examples: brown rice is usually between 25-40 minutes, broiling veggies might be around 10 minutes, preparing and baking your egg muffins might be 30-45 minutes
- Create an “Order of Operations” with your tasks
- If you have something that needs multiple hours in a Crockpot, this should be the first thing on your list. That way it can be cooking while you’re preparing everything else!
- If you have multiple items that need the oven, determine which is more of a priority. If a certain dish requires something from the oven before it can be completed, that would have priority over the veggies that can be broiled in a few minutes at the end.
So many people say that if they just had a PLAN laid out for them, that they would be able to follow it. This is how you create that plan for yourself. It may seem tedious at first, but once you see how much time you save because you aren’t guessing about what to do next, you’ll never go back!
Fact: Meal prep can happen anytime during the week that works best for your schedule.
Fact: You can prepare lunch for the whole week in an hour, if you plan your time well.
Fact: You can pick your favorite foods and pair them together, no special recipes required.
By being more mindful about how you approach your meal prep, you will save yourself time and energy in the kitchen! Consistency is key if you want to become the master of your meal prep. Consider each week an opportunity to become more efficient in your space. Let’s get cooking!