Whether it’s you first attempt at meal prepping, or you’ve been doing it a while and are still not really getting the hang of it; here are 5 tips for meal prepping to help you become more successful in your journey!
- Keep it simple
- Plan, plan, plan!
- Only prep about 4 days at a time
- Mix it up
- Be realistic
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Keep it Simple
There’s nothing that will turn you off of meal prepping quicker than overwhelming yourself with intricate recipes and complicated meals. Choosing recipes and snacks that are simple and only have a handful of ingredients that you are already familiar with will greatly help you in your journey to meal prepping success.
I like to keep my recipes under 8 ingredients if possible. This keeps my gro
cery haul smaller and also helps so I am not spending hours going from store to store just to find that one special ingredient you’re missing. Keeping your ingredient count low also helps dramatically during the actual prep. Less ingredients means less items to prep!
Plan, plan, plan!
This is the most important tip!
I spend no more than an hour usually writing up my grocery list, planning out my meals for the new week. But I never skip this step. Writing out what I plan to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week makes a HUGE difference.
For my prepping, I have goals I like to aim for with my macros for each day.
[Don’t know what macros are? Read more here in Court’s post where she talks about IIFYM – If It Fits Your Macros]
To help make sure my meal prepping fits into my macros, I use the app/site MyFitnessPal. I love how easy and simple it is for me to plug in my meals for the day so I can make sure the meals I have planned will fit my goals. [Hint hint: this is also another reason I keep my recipes short and simple!]
Only Prep Four Days at a Time
I use this rule for a couple reasons.
- Four days’ worth of prepped lunches and dinners take up a lot of room in the fridge.
- Planning out enough meals for Monday through Thursday allows me to go to lunch with coworkers on Friday for a “treat”, or go to dinner Friday night for date night, and then have the ability to cook from home for my meals the rest of the weekend.
This concept works for me. That’s a really important key to meal prepping; finding a system that works for you! Because honestly, I’ve tried meal prepping many times before, many different ways, and it wasn’t until I found a system that worked for me that I actually stuck with it.
My favorite parts about prepping for four days:
- Eating food you made over 4 days prior isn’t always appealing. So limiting your prep to 4 days keeps that from happening!
- Four days’ worth of lunches and dinners fit nicely in the fridge – any more would take over the fridge completely!
- Knowing that I will hit my macro goals 4/7 days right off the bat always sets me up for a great week mentally. Then I feel much more confident finishing out the week as strong as it started, cooking from home.
Here are my favorite meal prepping containers I use daily!
Mix it up!
If you’re the type of person who could eat the same meal over and over again and never get tired of it, disregard this tip. But if you’re anything like me, after a while you need a little change.
Swapping out meals every week helps keep things interesting and makes meal prepping more bearable week after week. So don’t be afraid to mix it up every week! Now when I say mix it up, I’m specifically talking weekly – not daily. I can’t handle that many alterations!
This one took me a long time to figure out. For a while I was basically setting myself up for failure. I would only prep a couple days’ worth of food at a time, telling myself I would prepare the next couple days after work… nope! Never happened that way. Or I would try to mix up my meals daily so I wasn’t having the same meal two days in a row. Um no way. That got me all confused, required A TON of planning, and was not helping me meet my macro goals consistently.
So when I say be realistic, I just mean find what works for you. Don’t spend hours planning out meals, or cooking extravagant recipes, because believe me – that won’t work long term. Be realistic, figure out your own system as you go, make changes each week until you have a routine that will last long term!
What are some of your meal prepping tips? Or maybe you have a go-to recipe of your own. Let me know – I’d love to hear from you!