Food prepping is key when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet. This can look a lot of different ways for different people so I encourage you to explore what works for you. I’m one of those people who like to squeeze every minute out of my day, and while I love cooking, I don’t want to spend hours each night dedicated to that. Anyone else? Food prep has changed the game for me. I’m able to throw together healthy meals every night, and I don’t even think about lunch after I’m done prepping. I’m here to share some of my favorite food prep tips and tricks to help you get started in planning ahead, saving yourself a WHOLE lot of time and enabling yourself to feel better than ever.
Food prep doesn’t necessarily mean meal prep. Some people get intimidated by the concept of preparing all their meals for the whole week in one day. Food prep turns it down a notch and allows for a lot more wiggle room. Think of it as preparing the ingredients you’ll need for meals that week.
Schedule the time. Starting out, this might feel like a lot of work, so I encourage you to schedule anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours at the beginning of your week that you can dedicate to your prep time, just as you would a work meeting or a coffee date with a friend. Do whatever seems manageable to you. Then once you feel you’ve got that down, add something else that would seem helpful to your lifestyle.
Start small. There’s no need to tackle this all in one step in your first week food prepping. The last thing you want to happen is feeling discouraged or overwhelmed your first time trying this. The sure way to make this a lasting habit is to make one small, manageable step for you each week. Perhaps this week it’s just chopping 4 onions so that you can toss them into different recipes throughout the week. Plus you’ll only have to clean and cry once!
Cook once, eat twice. Or three or four times. You’re already cooking so just make more. Not a leftovers person? Change it up and throw that rice from last night’s dinner into a salad making it a brand-new meal!
Ask yourself, what part of cooking is keeping you from doing it? Is it that you’re tired at the end of the day? Is it a lack of recipes? Is it too much work? Is it that your kids are always interrupting you? Is it lack of food in your fridge? Is it that you just enjoy eating out? Whatever it might be, start there. Identify it and figure out an action step for that. If it’s that you don’t know what to cook, maybe prep just means picking out what to make that week so you don’t have to use the brainpower after your long day.
Portion it out. Once you prep everything, it’s helpful to put them in Tupperware in the right portion that you’ll need. I do this with my lunches. I make 5 salads during my meal prep, so when I chop bell pepper, I put a little in each Tupperware to pre-box them so the rest of the week I can just grab and go! I also make a homemade dressing which I drizzle on the day of! This keeps me energized all day, saves me time and moolah!
Buy, then chop. As soon as you get home from the grocery store, instead of just tossing everything into the fridge and cupboards, take time to chop, dice and mix before storing them. It may take a little more time on the front end, but I promise you you’ll reap the benefits the entire week. While you’re doing that, throw some rice, quinoa or your favorite grain into some water and use it for different recipes throughout the week. Truly! Try it out!
Make it fun. Sure, this can be a chore, but it can be fun! You can invite your spouse or kids to join in which will save you time and allow time for some quality bonding. You could turn on your favorite podcast and learn something new. I personally like tossing on some relaxing tunes and using that time as personal downtime right before bed. It keeps me off my phone and helps me fall asleep knowing I’m ready for my week.
Amazing way to apply what you’ve learned in yoga/meditation. Sometimes it’s hard to sit down, close your eyes and get into the habit of practicing mindfulness. This is that perfect bridge into real life. Taking the concept of calm-alert to your waking life. You’ll be sure not to cut your finger slicing those onions this way.
I hope this helps you get started. Let us know how it goes! We always want to hear from you so we can meet you in the middle and help you with anything along your journey. What tips seem most useful for you?