Meal prepping is the new fast food is something we say all the time around Ideal Balance. Fast food is no longer fast, it’s not really food and it’s not cheap.
One of the quickest ways for our clients to be successful is to get them to stop eating out. This is one habit that affects everything we coach.
- Our fitness clients need to stop eating out and start eating more healthy in order to lose weight.
- Our family clients need better time management, clutter-free kitchens and more family time. Meal prepping will be a big part of achieving those goals.
- Our finance clients are often throwing so much money away on restaurants. That’s money they could & would rather be putting toward their future dreams & goals.
So, no matter what your goals are, we really think meal prep can help! So, let’s dive in to 5 reasons why meal prep is better than restaurants!
Meal prep saves money!
When you go through a drive thru, you’re going to pay at least $7 for a meal. For that same $7 you could probably grab chicken, green beans and potatoes and eat a couple meals!
The average American home spends over $200 per month eating out.
Even just the little lunch splurges will add up. A Visa survey in 2015 found that folks spent $53 a week for lunches. Guys that’s $2,746 year!
It’s not just the expense that makes fast food no bueno. In the time it takes to drive to fast food and wait in line you could’ve gotten your meal prepped food out, heated it up, eaten it and had a short nap.
Meal prep saves time!
The busy work week doesn’t give us a lot of time. There isn’t a margin for error.
We are going from alarm clock to bus stop to meeting to store to practice to homework to bath to bed. We really don’t need to have to make food decisions in the middle of all of that.
Yes, with meal prep you’re trading time for time, but it’s a great exchange.
On the weekend you feel less stressed, less anxious. By spending some time getting prepared for the week when we have a little extra time (the weekend), we set ourselves up to not have to spend any time or brain calories on food decisions during the week when we are more stressed and busy.
Success leaves clues. – Jim Rohn
If you want to mimic the success of others, you do what they do.
Meal prepping is single-handedly the key to success for most clients when trying to eat healthy.
Meal planning and prepping tips the scales in our favor (pun intended) and gives us one small advantage in this fight. Why wouldn’t we add to our advantages?
Meal prep can be fun.
Meal prep is a great way to be active on the weekend. It gets you off the couch and gets you mentally prepared and ready for the coming week.
Put music on and maybe even add in a glass of wine. Commit to it and enjoy it.
Meal prep can be good family time.
If you’ve got a partner or kiddos, consider that meal prepping can be like a little date or quality time. You’re working together, doing something important. Everyone can help in their own way. The added bonus is that when folks have had a hand in preparing their own food, they will have more buy in for what they are eating. It’s also a great way to teach/learn about nutrition and healthy habits together.
That’s great. But how do you meal prep?
Think about this: Thanksgiving was the original meal prep. So, let’s just do it like that but a little less overkill and a little more healthy. Here are 5 steps to get you started meal prepping.
1. Start small.
Start with meal prepping just one meal for the week. Maybe it’s lunches, maybe it’s dinners. Whatever it is, just don’t try to do it ALL or you’ll get overwhelmed. Brainstorm what would make the biggest difference for you and get going.
Now that you’ve figured out where to start, get a plan together. If you’ve decided to go with making lunches and you’ve got two recipes you’re going to use for meal prep, shop for the ingredients and make sure you’ve got the tools / containers to make it happen! Finally, schedule and block off the time to do it.
3. Focus until you finish.
Dive in! Preheat the oven, gather everything you’ll need on the counter including your containers. Then, get going, follow your recipes /plans! Be as efficient as you can. If you’re waiting on the oven to preheat, wash and chop your foods. If you’re waiting for water to boil, season the food or put together any condiments you’ll take with meal prep (i.e. salad dressing or hummus in a small container). If you’re waiting for food to cool, wash your dishes. Let’s be productive and be able to walk away with a clear head & clean kitchen!
4. Get better as you go.
Every new skill requires time to master it. So, think about what you learned, what worked, what didn’t. Then get better.
As you eat your food throughout the week, be mindful about what you enjoyed, what you avoided, what you want to do again and so forth.
Let’s talk about some best practices:
Instead of creating whole meals to go, you can choose to batch whole ingredients to your meals. In other words, you can make quinoa, hard-boiled eggs, shredded chicken, oatmeal and other bulk items that you can then use to easily make meals throughout the week.
One meal at a time, one step at a time
When you begin making meal preps, consider just doing one thing at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. So, maybe just get all of breakfast done and then do all the dishes. If you’re making dinner, do all the vegetables then do all the meat. Chunking it down to very small, bite size pieces will keep you from overwhelm but also allow you to have stopping points in the process.
Prep as soon as you shop
Plan enough time to wash, chop and whatnot as you’re unloading your food after you get home from the store. You’re already having to handle and possibly repackage your food, so you can build in time to do it all the way!
4 Day plan
Your government health agencies advise not keeping food longer than 4 days. We can’t say we agree, but we’re not going to go down that rabbit hole. Instead, let’s talk aboutthe four day plan. If you make enough food on Sunday for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday then you can plan what you cook on Thursday to have enough leftover to have lunch and/or dinner on Friday! Win, win, win! You can also meal prep enough to freeze so you have go-tos to pull out throughout the week.
If you’re not using sheet pans to do your meal prep, you’re missing out. One dish! One whole meal! One meal on one dish! It’s just such a no-brainer.
Okay, there you have it. It’s our version of why you should meal prep & how to do it.
Hey, if you need help with this, you’re in luck. We have an EASY PEASY lunch meal prep plan just for you. It’s got a shopping list and step by step guide to get it done. It’s not fancy, it’s not complicated. It’s REALLY simple and easy and fast and amazing. It’s great for those just starting out. Download it now!