Meal Prep Like a Boss

meal prep how to

If the holiday season has left you with a little less space in your pants and a little more slump in your step, it’s time to make the switch to eat better this year.

A healthier eating plan can help you feel more energized, improve your skin’s appearance, fend off water-retention bloat, and shift excess pounds—especially when combined with exercise.

But while it’s easy to opt for sensible food choices when you’re motivated and have time to make healthy meals, it’s a different story if you’re tired, bored, or hangry. When you want food (and now!), you’re more likely to eat whatever’s close at hand.

Stop the self-sabotage and take control over your sneaky snacking urges with meal prepping made simple.

Why Meal Prep?

Preparing meals in advance may require effort and commitment, but it’s worth it. Doing so:

  • Makes it easier to control portion size
  • Helps you resist snacking
  • Encourages you to try new foods
  • Prevents food waste
  • Supports a more balanced diet

So, you’re all aboard the health train; now, where do you start?

We’ve pulled together our top tips to give you a fresh love for fresh food. From meal preparation to staying organized, take eating healthy from *yawn* to “Yeah, I’ve got this!”

Prep Like A Pro

Get Ready

Healthy eating starts long before you raise your fork. By taking control of your environment, you set yourself up for success.

Designate a prep day—Make meal planning part of your lifestyle by slotting it into your routine. Who knows, your meal prep day may even become your favorite day of the week!

Scope out your pantry—Most people have a fantastic stockpile of ingredients, like diced tomatoes, corn, beans, and rice, perfect for creating bulk meals.  Don’t hesitate to use them!

Chew over the food groups—Proteins, carbs, and fats, oh my! Plan a balanced diet that includes all five food groups.

Start small—Meal prep and portion control take practice, so don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start by prepping three to four meals and add more as your comfort in the kitchen grows.

Create a meal plan—List all your meals—breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks—so you know what you’re eating and when.

Invest in time-saving appliances—Don’t be a hero in the kitchen; many appliances do the legwork for you. Two of our favorites are slow cookers and air fryers.

 

Shop Wisely

You can’t out-exercise a poor diet. You’ve heard the cliches—you get out what you put in; food is fuel; you are what you eat—and they’re all true. Food is simply a bunch of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients wrapped up in tasty packaging. You may decide to follow a carb-restricted diet, count calories, go keto, or become a vegetarian—no matter how you choose to eat, make sure you stock up on foods that support your goals.

Hungry? Don’t shop—Repeat after me, “I will not shop for food when I’m hungry.” You’ll end up filling your shopping cart with fried chips and creamy dips—trust me.

Stock up on staples—Keep core items on hand—eggs, rice, frozen vegetables, canned fish, fruit—and you’ll always be able to rustle up a healthy dish.

Use multitasking ingredients—Stretch your food budget and mix and match meals with recipes that contain similar ingredients, like chicken fajitas and chicken stir fry.

Get Spicey—Herbs and spices contain virtually no calories but pack a hefty punch of flavor—yum!

 

Savor the Flavors

Roll up your sleeves and don your apron—we’re on to the cooking stage. Whether you love or hate this part, you can have a lot of fun if you open your mind to a little culinary adventure. Add an ingredient you’ve never used before, master a new cooking skill, put a healthy twist on a not-so-healthy favorite—surprise yourself.

Choose no-brainer recipes—If you’re a novice in the kitchen, start small. Turkey chililentil soup, or black bean burgers are great starter recipes.

Prep your workspace—A tidy space gives you peace of mind. Successful meal prep involves a little cleaning, but it saves time and energy in the long run.

Bulk up—Save hours by batch-cooking meals you can eat over several days. It’s kind on the wallet, too.

Weigh your portions—It’s nice to be precise, so weigh out your portions. It prevents you from over- or under-eating and allows you to grab a single-serve meal when time is tight.

Pack it right—Meal containers are essential for successful meal prep. They keep your food fresh and help with portion control. Opt for sturdy plastic or glass containers that are microwave- and dishwasher-safe.

 

Find Your Groove

Congratulations! Your kitchen is overflowing with nutritious meals packaged like delicious gifts. Storage and organization are essential to prevent your hard work from going to waste. If you love spreadsheets, knock yourself out. If you don’t, simply adopt some time-saving tricks to stay on track.

Label!—Have you ever opened your freezer or refrigerator to a sea of Ziplock bags or plastic food containers with mystery contents? Get in the habit of labeling the dish, serving size, and the date you made it.

Freeze—A freezer can make your meal prep last weeks. Double-check to make sure the meal you’ve made is suitable for freezing and how long the ingredients can remain frozen.

Don’t worry, be ‘appy—Portion control can be tricky if you’ve not done it before. Try health apps MyFitnessPal, SparkPeople, or Noom to stay on track.

Plug nutritional gaps—Many diets lack the right amount of vital nutrients and minerals. Add a supplement into your daily routine to reap the benefits of bone, joint, and skin health.

 Shakeup your mealtime—No time to eat? Drink! A nutrient-packed meal-replacement shake is the perfect grab-and-go breakfast or lunch.

And one last thing:

Have fun!—A chore feels less like a chore when you find the adventure! Get the entire family involved: take turns choosing meals, discover new recipes together, or compete to see who can create the tastiest dish. Healthy does not mean boring.

Portion control and meal prep are the secret ingredients to sustainable healthy eating. By keeping your refrigerator and pantry full of healthy meals and treats, the only over-indulging you’ll be doing is peeping in the mirror at how good you look.

Do you have a favorite meal prep hack? Let us know below.

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