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Meal Prepping: A Beginner’s Guide

Adopting healthy eating habits can be intimidating. It may even feel like you’re leaving everything you love behind—all the midnight snacks, take-outs, and sweets. 

Although it may seem like that at first, soon enough you’ll realize that eating healthy will not only make you feel and look good but it DOES taste good too!

The key to successful meal planning is finding a lifestyle you love so that you stick to it. Once you get the hang of it, preparing healthier (and tastier) versions of your favorite dishes will bring you more joy than any of the over-processed options out there. 

With our busy schedules, it’s often hard, impossible even, to personally cook every single day. To be honest, sometimes even when we do have the time, we would rather be spending it doing something else.

Meal prepping truly is a time-saver. You cook only once or twice a week, and at the same time obtain a nutritious meal ready in just a few minutes every day. 

What does meal prepping even mean?

Meal prep, short for meal preparation, is the process of planning and preparing your meals ahead of time. You can meal prep one day ahead, or take one day to prepare lunch and/or dinner for an entire week. It’s entirely up to you!

Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash

How do you make a meal plan?

1. Write down all the meals you plan on having in the next few days, including breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. There are a lot of proven and tested recipes and meals you can easily make. 

2. List out all the ingredients you’ll need to make them and how much of each you’ll need.

3. Time to go grocery shopping!

4. Set aside one or two days to get all of your meal prep done – try to keep it to 1 hour or less for each cooking session so you don’t hate these days of actually cooking your meal prep recipes.

How Long Can You Keep a Meal Prep in the Fridge?

Once you’re done with your meal prep, make sure you let your meals cool down before transferring them to airtight containers and storing them in the fridge. Also make sure you don’t keep your food in room temperature for more than two hours.

If you are using meal prep containers and have stored your cooked meal prep well, it can last in the fridge for up to 7 days.  

Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash

Benefits of Meal Prepping:

Less cheating!  Okay, this also requires self-discipline. Help yourself by making it a point to purchase only those items that are on your grocery list. This helps keep those little moments of weakness under control and helps you manage your impulses. 

Saves you money.  Admit it, you sometimes tend to just wing it each day with food, either by running out to the store after work to by making whatever you are in the mood for, ordering in or spending even more money on going out.

With meal prep, you’ll be able to plan a week’s worth of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even healthy snacks for around $100 each week. You won’t waste too much food either! Try something simple and cheap like oatmeal for your breakfast each day.

A huge time-saver.  Not only does meal prepping help you stay on track with consistent healthy eating, it also gives you more time in the evenings to work out, relax, or do whatever you want besides rushing home to cook! 

This is a huge lifesaver because let’s be honest, after working a 9 to 5 job, sitting in traffic, changing for the gym, and then rushing home to make dinner in the hopes of eating before 9 PM, we tend to want to either skip the gym or just order take-out. 

Helps you meet your fitness goals.  This one is really important.  When you plan out your meals ahead of time, not only are you learning portion control, but you are fueling your body with wholesome nutritional food that makes you want to work out that much more! 

It’s true when they say that “abs are made in the kitchen.” Your body requires healthy food for endurance, strength, and even weight loss, so it’s a no-brainer that consistent meal planning should coincide with your fitness routine. 

Gives you a great variety!  Sometimes planning out meals each week can get a little monotonous since you might have a few go-to meals that you know you love. But one thing you can commit to doing is trying out at least 1 or 2 new recipes each week! 

If you like the dish, then you can add it into the rotation! And if you don’t, well, just don’t make it again! I mean hey, at least you tried something new.

So, are you wanting to give meal prepping a go? Let us know about your experience in the comments! 

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