When I started meal prepping my goal was less about wanting to lose weight and more about wanting to feel better. I also wanted a healthy relationship with food, I wanted to not hate exercise, and I wanted to live my life out loud. Over the past two years I’ve met my goals. I also lost one hundred pounds.
Meal prepping was really the key to achieving my goals, and here are ten lessons I’ve learned along the way:
1) Love the food you plan.
Since I’m pretty much eating the same thing over the course of the week, I want it to be food I genuinely love.
2) Divide and conquer.
I don’t plan, shop, or prep all in one day. Instead, I plan and draft my grocery list on Tuesdays, I pick up groceries on Thursdays, and I do my meal prepping on Sundays. Sometimes I even do a preweekend Friday night prep. This means meal prepping on Sunday will only take a couple of hours.
3) Clean as you go.
I start with an empty garbage, an empty dishwasher, and an empty sink. I clean and load the dishwasher as I’m cooking which makes the meal prepping aftermath much less overwhelming.
4) Move with the music.
I never start meal prepping without finding a good Pandora station to listen to. I crank up the beats and get to work. A little dancing always makes making meals a little more fun.
5) I love my tools.
I invested in a good set of knives, a couple of high quality cutting boards, and some light-weight stacking bowls. By having frustration-free tools, I can focus on prep instead of what isn’t working.
6) Keep the kids busy or include them in the process.
My whole family (and half my neighborhood) knows Sundays are for meal prepping in our household. Sometimes my kids stay occupied by playing with friends or going on an adventure with my husband. Other times the kids help wash and cut fruit with a set of kid-safe nylon knives.
7) Start early.
My enthusiasm for meal prepping is high after my morning cup of coffee. By early afternoon, my excitement is gone. I’ve learned from this to get started by 10:00 a.m.
8) Variety really is the spice of life.
I eat the same breakfast and lunches the whole work week, but I don’t repeat meals week after week. I have a 3 to 4-month rotation of our favorite meals to make.
9) Know what to look for.
Mexican food is my love language. But it’s not the tortilla I love, it’s the enchilada sauce, so I look for healthier alternatives to my favorite cheese enchiladas. This way, I satisfy my craving and still honor my health goals.
10) Make mistakes.
I didn’t come out of the meal prep gate an expert. In fact, I’ve failed as many times as I’ve succeeded with my meal prepping selections. But I always keep going, refining my skills and learning from my mistakes.
The key with meal prepping is to simply get started. If I can do it, so can you! Do you have any meal prep tips to share? Please leave them in the comments!