For most people, the keys to success in fitness come down to two things: 1) Working out consistently, and 2) Sticking to a healthy eating plan. Before we move on, we want to point out that consistency is the common theme and probably the biggest factor in your success.
And, if you're like most, the working out part is not the most challenging. Nutrition is what stumps most people. Sure, you may hit a good "stride" for a little while, but for some reason, you're not able to stick to it. This is where you must have a plan. We're not going to go into which "diet" you should be doing here; or what, how, or when you should be eating. Rather, we want to share the basic tools and strategies we've found for success in planning and prepping your weekly meals. After all, it's often not an issue of knowing what to eat, it's more the issue of making sure that healthy food is around when it's time to eat. Check out our easy three-step process and learn to meal prep like a pro:
- Plan. Sit down with a calendar of your upcoming week. Determine what you are going to eat each day. Don't skip any days even if "take out" is your specified dinner for one or two of them. For ease, we suggest alternating between a couple of go-to meals for breakfast; and then cooking a large batch of one or two things for all your lunches. (Yes, you should bring your lunch to work. Think of all the money you'll save too). For dinners, plan a different meal for each night. Do this on any day of the week that makes sense to you. We like doing this on Saturday.
- Build. Build a grocery list based on the meals you planned. Whether you're using a recipe or just simple ingredients, make sure you write down everything you will need to purchase for the week. At first, this process may take a little time, and possibly be a bit overwhelming. But, you'll get better and it will soon become much easier. Then go shopping! We like doing this on Saturday too. That way, you're ready for prep tomorrow!
- Prep. Ahh, the elusive "meal prep day!" - You can do this! This is the day you'll make your lunches for the week. You can also prep dinner or two this day if you want to, but it's not as important as getting the lunches done so they are ready to take to work each day. Take an hour and make five individual portions of your predetermined lunch meal. Separate them into their containers and place them in the fridge ready to be easily bagged and taken along for Monday through Friday lunch. Prepping like this allows you to stay on track with your healthy eating because you've already decided what you will eat, and healthy food is now convenient when your tummy starts rumbling.
We think Sunday is the best food prep day. Of course, modify for your own lifestyle and routine. Do this 3 step plan consistently and see how it expedites your progress toward your fitness goals!
We are aware of the potential downsides to meal prepping for a whole week at a time, as well as the challenges it can bring up. The freshness of the produce, the upfront cost of purchasing all the groceries, and the time and effort (and dishes!) required. However, we find that the good far outweighs the bad, and you are much more likely to find success in this plan than in continually being tossed to and fro by the convenience food around you messing up your well-intended healthy eating plans.
If this sounds too overwhelming or time-consuming, consider hiring a meal prep service to deliver some meals. This is a great option to decrease the stress in the beginning.