If you want to live healthier, feel better, and lose a few excess pounds, it’s no secret that what you eat will play a role in your success. However, one of the real secrets to sticking to any diet is meal prep. After all, what do you usually reach for when you don’t have time to prepare a meal? It probably isn’t something that will help you reach your fitness goals. That’s why today, I’m going to share with you these seven tips to help you become a meal prep master!
#1 Start By Preparing Your Shopping List
When it comes to meal prep, you want to have the right ingredients. Plan your meals so that you have everything you need when it is time to prepare. You also want to think about snacks when you shop, so there is no temptation to reach for junk. Stock healthy snacks that are easy to grab.
#2 Have the Right Food Prep Kitchen Tools
Another thing that keeps people from preparing meals is how long it takes. However, having the right tools can speed up the process. For example, you need some type of food processor. You may even be able to use it to chop your veggies, which can save a bunch of time. For baking, you will want measuring cups and spoons (and a kitchen scale isn’t a bad idea for precise measurements). A slow cooker can help you to prepare meals when you are home but need to spend your time doing other things. Any meal you can start and then forget for hours and it still comes out delicious is ideal. Storage containers are also a must, and we’ll address this again when we talk about leftovers and bulk prep.
#3 Prepare Meals in Bulk
Leftovers are a great way to get in an extra meal without much of meal prep time. However, preparing food in bulk can feed your family for days with just one session in the kitchen. Having freezer-friendly storage containers that can hold an individual meal or a family meal is a great idea. With one cooking session, you can prepare 20 meals worth of chili. Freeze and label the containers so you can pull them out for a quick meal. Or when you make a family favorite, create a double batch. Use half tonight and put half in a large container to thaw out one night when you don’t have time to prepare a meal.
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#4 Don’t Leave It to Chance
It is also beneficial to have a schedule. Otherwise, preparing meals is too easy to shift into the “I’ll get to it later” column. Whether you are making your meals for today, tomorrow, or are planning to fill the freezer, you need to schedule time for meal prep. As with so many things in life, if we leave doing something to chance, it often doesn’t happen.
#5 Don’t Do It Alone
Make meal prep a family activity. I mean, they’re all going to be eating it, right? Plus, you have the opportunity to teach some valuable life skills. If the kids are reluctant at first, let them come up with a funny idea for something they want to eat (and help them to keep it healthy). Then add the needed ingredients to your next shopping. Before long, it will be a regular habit for the whole family to pitch in when it comes to preparing meals. You may even find that there was some hidden talent in the household.
#6 Plan for Well Balanced Nutrition
Don’t cut out all carbs or fats, or anything else for that matter. There is a place for grains, proteins, veggies, fruits, and even dessert. If you give yourself a variety, you won’t get bored with the preparations or with eating what you make.
#7 Make It Fun!
If you don’t enjoy something, you will eventually stop doing it. If you are going to keep up the good habit that you just started, you have to make it fun. Getting other family members involved and trying new recipes are a couple of great ways to keep things fresh. Experiment with new seasonings that you have never tried before. Expand your family’s horizons with a new cuisine from another part of the world. Find an Italian grandma who shares all her family’s secret recipes on YouTube.
There are plenty of ways to keep things fresh and exciting. The better you get at preparing meals, the more you will enjoy it. That translates into great meals that you like eating. Before long, you’ll be reaching the health and fitness goals you are striving for because meal prep plays a key role.
Turn Your Meal Prep Mastery Into Real Results
I hope these tips help you to be able to meal prep like a pro! Remember that this involves a learning process, so don’t expect yourself to master it from day one. As you learn what works for you and your family, meal prep can turn into a form of self-care that helps you to have a healthier diet.
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