Of the many positive habits and behaviors, planning and meal prepping can be the most beneficial. A simple and good meal prep plan can save you time and money while helping you improve your eating habits, stick to a healthier lifestyle, and achieve your fitness goals.
Keep It Simple
Make a Grocery List
Create a Schedule for Shopping & Cooking
There's an App for Everything
The premise of meal prepping is simple:
Buy ingredients in bulk and cook entire meals or dishes ahead of schedule. For example, you can shop at (insert favorite store) buy lots of protein and grain in bulk, cook it at once, package it into containers, and voila, you’ve meal prepped.
This type of cooking is popular among busy individuals and fitness enthusiasts. Instead of worrying about what to eat and when to cook, individuals can set aside more time, prepare multiple meals at once, and enjoy them later.
Plus, by taking the time to prepare nutritious meals, you’re more likely to stick with healthier nutrition and limit your processed food intake.
With that said, meal prepping is easier said than done. Not all of us have the time to plan, shop, cook, pack, and clean…. Nor do we want to spend our entire weekend doing so. Below, we’ve gone over several actionable tactics that can streamline the entire process.
4 Actionable Tactics to Make Meal Prepping Easier and More Effective
1. Start with simple recipes.
It can be tempting to look for complicated and good-looking recipes for your meal prep. But, as a beginner, it’s better to stick with simple recipes, especially those you’ve cooked before. This will help you get going, and the process won’t feel as overwhelming.
Basic meals like meat with potatoes and crockpot recipes are great choices.
It’s also a good idea to start with a handful of meals and go from there. For example, in your first meal prep, cook enough meals to last you for three days. The biggest risks is prepare a bunch of food, only to throw it out a few days later because you got fed up with eating the same thing over and over.
“Meal prepping doesn’t have to be complex. Basic steps can help you cut back on cooking time, freeing you up for the activities that matter most.” - Healthline
2. Create a concrete grocery list.
Grocery shopping is often the most time-consuming part of preparing meals. To make the process more efficient, you need a concrete grocery list.
Sit down and decide what meals you want to prepare and what quantities. For example, you can prepare six chicken thighs with rice for six meals. Make some rough calculations of what amounts you’ll need, think of what other ingredients the recipes call for, and write it all down.
Many people improvise the shopping part of the equation and find themselves wasting too much time at the store. What’s worse, they end up with too much or too little of the needed ingredients. Quick tip... find one online and keep it simple.
3. Set a schedule for shopping and cooking.
By creating a schedule, you’re a lot more likely to follow through with the plan and perform your tasks efficiently.
This is important because it saves you time and makes the entire process much more pleasurable. As a rule of thumb, you should set aside more time because we often underestimate how long tasks will take us, especially if we are new at doing them.
In the case of cooking and packing your meals, you might want to set aside a couple of hours on the weekend. If you don’t have time or that sounds like a miserable plan, consider a meal prep delivery service that will take care of everything for you.
4. Use the Apps.
There are apps out there for everything. You can now download a menu, shopping list, or you can buy all of your meals right from your cell phone. Maybe you don’t mind meal prepping but tracking your macros is a pain. There are apps for that too!
Here are Good Clean Food Hawaii's five favorite apps for meal prepping, recipe inspo, & tracking macros:
MyFitnessPal - Track your macros
Eat This Much - Meal Plans for your diet and goals
Whole 30 - Recipe Inspo
Fit Men Cook (YouTube) - Recipe Inspo
Pinterest - Find shopping list, recipes, and more
There are apps out there for everything. You can now download a menu, shopping list, or you can buy your meals prepared and delivered right to your door.
The most important thing to remember is to keep it simple, because no amount of meal prep is worth it if it doesn't allow you to live the lifestyle you desire.