Meal prepping plays a very important role in your health and fitness journey. As our good friend Benjamin Franklin put it, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” You automatically set yourself up to fail if you can’t take the time to plan and prep your meals and snacks in advance, increasing the odds that you’ll reach for fast food or junk.
But meal prepping doesn’t have to be as daunting as it might seem. Sometimes even just taking a few extra minutes before you put your groceries away can save you hours of prep time during the week. And you don’t necessarily have to think in terms of prepping entire meals in advance. Even though prepping full meals would be very helpful, it may not always be feasible if you’re short on time. So, I’m going to share three quick meal prepping tips that will set you up for success on your health and fitness journey.
Bonus tip, when you first get home from the store, make sure to wash all of your fruits and veggies. If you can, purchase pre-washed foods from your store, this can save you hassle later on.
First tip, we’re going to talk snacks. What snacks will you want to have on hand to be able to grab and go? Prepping your snacks ahead of time makes it just as quick and easy to grab as it would be to reach for a not-so-healthy option. So, whether its carrots or berries, or any other fruit/nut/veggie that you like to eat for snacks, you are going to slice, dice, or chop them up and divide them into little bags or bowls that you can just keep on the shelf in your fridge. Then, when you are hungry and need a quick snack, they’re already prepared for you.
Here are a few snack ideas to get you started:
- Bell Peppers
- Hard boiled eggs
- Snap peas
- Pretty much any veggie with Hummus
- Greek Yogurt
- Nuts (Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios, Walnuts, etc)
- Protein Shakes
Any of these options can be pre-cut or measured and placed into individual containers in your fridge.
The second tip is that you want to think about what ingredients that will go into your meals for the upcoming week. What ingredients can you prep in advance that will help save you time later on? Is it chopping up onions, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, or other veggies that might be easily popped into soups, salads, or sauces? Chopping those foods in advance saves tremendous time when you’re ready to cook those meals, and it cuts down on the excuses to reach for fast food because most of the work is already done. You can store these ingredients in little bags or bowls in your fridge right alongside your snacks.
And the third tip, think ahead to your meals that you can prep fully in advance, even if it’s just one or two days. If you’re making a lasagna or casserole dish of some sort, putting the whole thing together and then just popping it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it is a major time saver during the week. Of course, this would only be if you had the time available to prep the entire meal. If you don’t, utilize step two and prep as many of the ingredients in advance as your time frame allows.
BONUS TIP: if you find yourself at the beginning of the week and you have not prepped anything in advance, try making extra food at supper time so that you can eat the leftovers at another meal. This will save you from having to prep another meal.
Now I realize you may not be able to do all of these things in one sitting, and that is totally fine! The goal is that you do what you can with the time frame you have. And then, as you get further down the road on your health and fitness journey, meal prepping becomes a lot easier, and you’re able to do a lot more in the time that you have. My encouragement to you is to start with what you can do now, and the rest will come with practice.