Many people typically use Sunday to add in time for meal prep because it's a great way to start a successful week. If Sunday doesn't work, plan in whatever day works for you!
Don't have time? The funny thing is, once you start making time for it, you realize you actually do have time. It's the same with workouts, drinking water, or anything important that you need to do. When you make it a priority, you make it happen.
Here are some simple tips for Meal Prep:
1) Pick whatever day works for you, just make it happen. START SMALL. Plan out just a few meals and snacks. Over time you'll find things that work best and build your confidence.
2) Make it enjoyable, some of that means planning, taking inventory of your pantry, spices, and what is typically in the refrigerator and freezer. It may seem overwhelming, but once you dig in and start doing it you will find strategies and systems to make it work. It's just like getting started on any project around the house, repairs, cleaning, etc. You just have to pick one thing and get started.
3) Keep your basics stocked in your pantry. Buy a few items you know you will use in bulk.
4) Keep your favorite spices in your pantry. If you don't have any, just pick up 2-3 when you go shopping and build up a collection. Not too many as even dried herbs and spices have a shelf life.
5) Invest in good quality storage containers. I like glass containers with matching lids for the refrigerator and baking. I like plastic for the freezer but also use freezer bags or a vacuum sealer. Keep them organized.
6) Before you go shopping, MAKE A LIST. Go shopping armed with your list and don't go shopping hungry. Inventory your pantry first and that for a first pass "shopping".
7) Think about the macros (proteins, carbs, and fats) and what foods go into which category. Make some meal plans with some of your recipes. Use the 1st Phorm App for meal planning and creating your recipes.
8) Keep your recipes organized and in one place. Keep a record of your favorite and least favorite meals. It's EASY to create recipes in the 1st Phorm app and find the macros per serving, so do it! Track your meals! This is how you learn what you need to change.
I've learned to keep charts like this with my folder of recipes. It helps when many foods in the database might be in tablespoons or teaspoons, when you wanted cups, or vise versa.
9) Don't meal prep when hungry! Just like you don't go shopping when you are hungry. Being hungry creates a higher likelihood of going off plan.
10) Wash and prep produce as soon as you get home. Have a few items set aside for healthy quick snacks to avoid chips or cookies. Make it easy on yourself if you have a stressful week or are not good at chopping up produce, get some pre-cut packages (and still wash them before putting in the fridge).
11) Use your crock pot or pressure cooker, this saves you a lot of time and adds in useful multitasking.
12) Listen to healthy lifestyle podcasts and the Livestream videos in the 1st Phorm App while you food prep and drive, there are some great food prep and other mindset tips in those. They are live every morning Monday through Friday at 9am Central time. If you watch them live you can interact and ask questions. The livestreams are saved, and are approximately 30 minutes so they are easy to listen to while driving, meal prepping, or doing other chores.
13) When you have time, use your freezer for simple meals you can pull out for your most stressful weeks. Have some foods portioned out. I keep servings of savory egg bites, soups, single rice servings, single ground turkey servings, vegetables, etc in the freezer. I use those later items with chicken broth and spices stored in the pantry for quick soups or a stir fry.
14) Ask your family for help and get them involved in planning and preparation. Talk to your friends about what they do, and get ideas from our support group in the private Nibbles-Fitness Forum through the recipe and meal prep section and individual blogs and journals. The nice thing about the Nibbles-Fitness forum is that your personal data isn't harvested and group posts there are not shifted around or hidden by mainstream media algorithms.
15) You build consistency by doing all these things over time. Make it a priority and carve out a small block of time dedicated to planning. Over time this can be done efficiently in just 10-15 minutes per weeks of planning. Preparing food can take 1-3 hours per week. That is all time well spend and as you start seeing results in your life, it motivates you to keep going!
I'm always happy to help my team in the 1st Phorm App as an advisor. I help many there with their meal planning, workouts, mindset, and mainly respond to those checking in regularly both weekly and days during the week when they text me for accountability or questions, or to just tell me about something they struggle with, and their daily victories which leads to long term victories over time.
There are three eight-week challenges in the App every year, and an overall winner for the whole year. The most important thing is the lifestyle we learn all year long as eight weeks is always just a "warm up". The key is to learn how to keep going through all seasons, no matter what is going on, and picking ourselves up constantly to keep going.
Did you get that part? You know, the "picking ourselves up constantly to keep going" part? That's right. People constantly question why they don't make progress, or why they are still the same as they were last year. It's merely because they didn't pick back up RIGHT AWAY, or they think that being a human is a failure. None of us does this perfectly. Instead, we just keep picking ourselves back up and really utilize the power lists inside the App. If you want to know what those are, or how to use them, JOIN ME IN THE APP. That's where we make it happen. Make a commitment and keep going! Don't just join and expect it to happen, get ready to roll up your sleeves, do some planning, do your assessments and weekly tasks and send me messages and screen shots, or ask to chat on the phone so that we can do this together.
Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and get it done?
PS I know it's hard! I'm in constant pain, but I'm still showing up there every day. I still know meal planning and prep is important. I've got my meals in the freezer right now for post surgery in a couple of weeks, taking up half the freezer with it. I'm ready!
I'm going to show up every day no matter what! I'll do the same thing in June for my next surgery. I will enjoy my Lemon Meringue Puff Cookies too. Let's go!