You want to eat healthier, but you’re super busy and when you’ve come home after a long day of work and running the kids around it’s so much easier to grab a pizza than it is to make something healthy.
So you eat out several times a week because that’s what you have to do.
That’s what works for you and your family (when it comes to time and convenience).
But you probably realize it’s not working great when it comes to your health and fitness goals.
You want better health.
You want to eat better.
And you don’t want the extra calories, fast food and junk food as much anymore.
But you DO want to save time and money.
I get it!
So, as a health & fitness coach, I am here to help you.
I have a simple strategy that I’m more than happy to share with you. It will help you to plan and prepare healthy meals for the week.
Because if you want to stay on track and be your best you, taking time to plan is going to be one of the best things you can do because…
Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
You can’t expect to reach your goals if you aren’t planning your meals and making healthier choices. It just is what it is!
And I realize the idea of meal prepping can be overwhelming so…
…as with any lifestyle change, start gradually so you can build consistency.
That could mean just starting with prepping your breakfast meals. Focusing on that for a few weeks, then start adding in lunches, snacks, and dinners over time.
The key here is to make it easy, doable and rewarding enough to do again and again.
Let me walk you through my simple meal prep system, and how this can work for you.
PLAN YOUR MEALS FOR THE WEEK
I prefer to do this on the weekend.
I’ll flip through my recipes, or even find some new ones, and choose a bunch to make that week.
You could even try my Metabolism Boosting Meals Cookbook to get started without much effort.
But if you’re going to look for your own, search for simple recipes, with minimal ingredients to save time.
Crockpot, Instapot or one-pan baking recipes are great for this!
And the good news is you don’t have to stick to boring chicken and broccoli…ugh!
Finding tasty, healthy recipes is going to be your key to staying on track, because if you don’t like the food you’re making it’s going to be impossible to stick with your meal plan for the week…
…and yes there are lots of tasty recipes out there that are delicious AND easy-to-make (and I’ll be sharing more here so be sure to check back regularly!)
Next, I’ll bookmark the pages and write my chosen recipes down in a notebook.
Then I create my grocery list.
I take a quick look in my fridge, freezer and pantry, and list the recipe ingredients that I need to buy.
And if you’re feeling overly ambitious, I’ll even pick which days to have which meals, but that’s not necessary if you’re new to this.
I actually have a giant meal plan magnet on my fridge that I use. As I’m writing this here is mine for the week:
Now, once you have your handy dandy grocery list ready, hop on over to the store and pick up your essentials.
If you don’t have enough food storage containers for your meals, now’s the time to pick up some of those too.
If you’re not sure you have enough of an ingredient already, consider buying a “backup” one just in case. I’ve had times where the tomato sauce I planned to use was a bit short of what I actually needed. Having to run out in the middle of meal prep can be very frustrating.
Another thing to consider is doubling the recipe(s), so you can prep and cook once, but have two times the meal at the end. The extras can be taken for lunch, or frozen to pull out the night before a busy day, so you just need to heat it up when you’re ready.
If you’re doubling a recipe, don’t forget to double the amount you buy from the grocery store.
If you’re not a fan of washing and chopping produce, then consider buying them already pre-washed and pre-chopped, or even frozen. You can make your meal prep even easier if you don’t mind spending a couple of extra dollars.
Save your meal plans for future use! You can always re-use your meal plans from the past to save time in the future!
PREPARE YOUR MEALS FOR THE WEEK
Since you’ve already chosen your recipes and have your groceries, let’s get started on prepping some of the ingredients.
I like to block off 2-2.5 hours in the morning or afternoon for this. For me, it’s Sunday mornings and has simply become a non-negotiable part of my routine.
I realize it may seem like a lot of time but when you’re prepping multiple meals for the week it averages to about 5-10 minutes per meal!
You’d spend longer than that driving to a fast-food restaurant and waiting in line several times a week or making multiple trips to the store throughout the week to grab stuff!
Get your recipes ready, clear off your counter, and play some music or listen to your favorite podcast (if you’re so inclined).
At this point, depending on time, I’ll either prep the ingredients, or precook the entire recipe.
Sometimes just washing and chopping produce and putting it in containers is a huge time-saver for weeknights.
Or, you can go through and make a whole meal, and divide it up into portions and refrigerate or freeze.
It’s really up to you, because the more you do now, the less you’ll have to do when you’re hungry.
AWESOME MEAL PREP TIP & RECIPE IDEA
There is one meal that is easiest to plan and prepare in advance. It’s one that’s also often the most difficult to eat at home if you’re busy.
If you’re going to start anywhere with meal prep breakfast is the way to go. It kickstarts your day on the right foot and starts your day energized so you can more easily stick to your nutrition and fitness plan.
One of my favorite, make-ahead breakfast ideas is Egg Bakes!
Egg Bake Recipe
Egg bakes can be made ahead of time in a GIANT batch so you have breakfast for a few days and by swapping different veggies you can come up with a variety of different ways to make these. Get creative 😉
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large 9×13 baking dish with coconut oil or Envia Cooking Oil (both cook well at high temperatures without burning and becoming inflammatory).
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in skillet until warm. Add in preferred veggies and cook until softened about 5 minutes. Veggies to include are asparagus, carrots, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, or garlic. Once soft you can add in kale, spinach, or other greens and cook until wilted (2-3 minutes).
- While cooking crack and whisk 12 eggs in a bowl. Mix in preferred seasonings such as salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, Italian seasoning, or veggie seasoning.
- Place cooked veggies in the baking dish, spreading evenly, and pour eggs evenly over the top.
- For additional flavor, you can add cooked ham, sausage, bacon, leftover chicken, or cheese.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until eggs are set.
- Cut into 8 pieces.
- Enjoy topped with salsa, spaghetti sauce, guacamole, avocados, or arugula.
With a little planning, you’ll be able to eat healthier while you save money and calories!