Meal prepping, a term more commonly known in the fitness industry, is really starting to become main stream. And for good reason!
Essentially all it is is preparing your meals (and snacks) in advance, typically in bulk.
There's a million ways to go about it, but it all leads to the same result: having clean healthy foods ready-to-go so that under eating, over eating, poor eating, and time constraints are no longer an excuse. The saying "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail" couldn't apply more when it comes to meal prep!
Some people cook their food on the grill, the stove top, in the oven, in a crock pot or air frier, and any other way you can think of.
While most people hear the words "meal prep" and have visions of 2 dozen plastic containers lined up with chicken sweet potatoes and broccoli all in perfectly measured portions, meal prepping is very flexible and can be implemented to any capacity.
Essentially what's happening is you're doing any combination of the following, just to name a few:
1. Chopping and preparing fresh foods like salads and fruit.
2. Cooking your foods plain, in bulk, to be thrown into recipes for later (ex: browning 3lb burger for tacos today, atop a salad tomorrow, and your pasta sauce over veggies on Friday).
3. Portioning out snacks and servings of your main course and sides. (Ex: 1/4c almond in each snack baggie, 1 fillet of fish and 1/2 cup green beans in 5 small containers for future 5 meals).
In other words, meal prepping is just making leftovers!!! 😜
If you're just starting out with meal prep, here are some of my fave ways to keep it simple and managing getting in your macronutrients.
1. Start by figuring out your protein source. To name a few:
A. Ground chicken or beef: cooks thoroughly pretty quickly. Added benefits are you can drain and rinse the fat off if you wish to make it a little leaner and there's no cutting required to portion it out!
B. Fish: doesn't require much of any prep to get it cooking right away. Place it on some olive oil greased foil, cook it in the oven, and pitch the foil for smell and mess free clean up.
C. Eggs: protein doesn't get much cheaper and can be transformed into so many different recipes from scrambled to omelets to soufflés. It's a great base to mix in veggies and flavorings.
2. Next choose your veggies.
A. Roasting on an oil greased pan with some simple salt pepper and oil is by far my fave flavor over steaming or boiling and doesn't require as much oil as sautéing.
B. Fresh crisp cool veggies: I never get bored with a salad I you try new combinations of veggies on top of the lettuce base. Have you ever tried zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, green beans, or peas RAW?! Try it!
C. While there is plenty of negative press for microwaves, I'm not opposed to using them on occasion when in a pinch. And so I always keep steam-able bags of green veggies on hand. You can find them in the frozen section and many stores are now offering them using organic produce.
3. Compliment your meal with a variety of whole food carbs and fats.
A. Liquid coconut oil is perfect for drizzling on your veggies to reap all the health benefits and still have a creamy satisfying taste on your tongue instead of using butter.
B. White and sweet potatoes can be found in steam-able bags as well now.
C. I always have almonds and but butters on the house so that even if my meal didn't have the healthy fats, I can have the nut fats as a snack after.
D. Purchase fruits that have a longer shelf life as your carbs so it doesn't require cooking and you won't waste them if you choose a grain or legume that day instead. Apples, oranges, and grapefruits all last longer than berries and bananas.
Hope this gets you started! Be sure to Become A Lifer for more tips and live coaching on the topic!