Meal prepping 101

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With the warm weather comes the dread of what you did throughout winter. For me, it usually starts after the holidays, the general lack of self control with certain baked goods. The coats and cold weather hide what I’m doing to myself from myself. 

When the warm weather comes along, I’m smacked in the face with self realization — I probably shouldn’t have had all those cookies and sweets this winter.

So you start thinking you need to change some things, get shed those pounds a bit. You send a long, heartfelt letter to cookies letting them know you need your space and that you will be spending more time with salad in the future. You might buy new running shoes, a gym membership or even some kind of home workout equipment, all in the good faith and hopes you will stick to your plans and be fit by July.

Two weeks later, while you are binge-watching some show you just found and demolishing that four-servings box of Samoas, you wonder how you got here. How did you let that bag of salad turn into a thing from the slime lagoon? Why does that grilled chicken with quinoa seem like something they can only make on Top Chef?

Lack of motivation. Plus the lack of carbs and calories makes one think funny things.

We as a family dabbled in meal prepping last year, but it’s also something to which you need to make a fairly strong commitment. But if you stick with it, you can shed pounds and save some greenbacks like no one’s business. It doesn’t come with any fancy hip diet names, just convenience and calories in/out.

 

Getting started

For obvious reasons, planning is key when it comes to meal prepping. Keeping things organized will make for the quickest and easiest prep. Amazon sells containers made just for meal prepping, usually on the cheap.

Decide on what your nutritional goals are and plan accordingly. Your meal prep is going to be significantly different if you’re a 33-year-old guy trying to get healthy vs. a 60-year-old woman trying to stay fit.

Decide on your meals for the week before you hit the grocery store so you know exactly what you need. Things can start to taste ‘bleh’ if you’re eating the same meal every single day of the week. A good way to start is to create a combination of one carb + one protein + one green. You can obviously alter this if you’re on a low carb kick and whatnot.

 

Meats

Your oven is your best friend in getting meats cooked quickly. It’s going to get super time consuming and messy if you cook everything on the stove.

 

Carbs

If you’re going with quinoa, brown rice, pasta or any other carb that needs to be boiled, then that should be step two. Set timers or write down times so you know how long everything has been cooking. Try to keep this chaos as organized as possible. Get things chopped, seasoned and on a baking tray so that you can pop it in the oven once the meat is done.

 

Veggies

Clean, cut and season your veggies. If you’re going to cook them on the stove, do it now. If you’re going to roast them, prep them so they’re ready to go in the oven once the meat is out. You can prep all your cold veggies for the week Sunday night. If you keep everything washed and cut, it literally takes a few minutes to put a meal together. A salad or stir fry will be quick and easy, and best of all… you’ll have no mess. It’s also great for when you’re looking for something to munch on. If your veggies are clean and cut, you’re more likely to eat them.

 

Making it last all week

It doesn’t take a dietitian to know some things will get funky if left cooked in the refrigerator for a week. This is where your freezer comes in handy. Some meals should be planned to freeze. These can be meals you plan to eat Thursday on, as well as your dinners for the week.

There is a plethora of meal-prepping recipes out there in the world; if you find some and think they are awesome, let me know at dsanderspress@gmail.com. I will take all the help I can get struggling along with the diet!

By |May 2nd, 2018|

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