A week has 168 hours. If you spent two hours a week meal prepping/batch cooking -- a measly 1 percent of your week, I am extremely confident you would be at a happier weight, overall healthier, create a positive relationship with food and have less anxiety and stress during the week.
Seriously! And I am not one to guarantee anything, but this is how strongly I feel about meal prepping!
Why, you may ask? Because for so many us, we do not struggle with food and weight because of what we are eating necessarily, but mainly because of the when -- we have not scheduled food into our lives. We are busy people and we rush. And when we are on the go we often miss meals and this can negatively affect our metabolism, and when we eat on the go we have to resort to eating food that is often full of too many calories, sugar, fat and salt and that can get us into serious trouble.
So can you make it happen? Two hours. That is it. And you don't even have to cook anything! It could just be go grocery shopping, chop, prep and organize and get things ready for the week. Or if you want to start cooking, keep it simple until you get more comfortable with the flow. But keep it at two hours. And when I write two hours, this includes grocery shopping. Yes, I just wrote that. So the rookies out there, take it slow as this is a skill, but trust me as you get more organized, and efficient it will come together and change your life.
Skill levels and ideas to think about:
- Full of gusto and wants to kill it! While I love the enthusiasm, please take it slow. Or this 2 hour promise will turn into a disastrous all day affair and then you will never trust me again. Baby steps... baby steps... little.baby.steps.
- Make sure you have containers, big and small for home and on the go. And any other kitchen supplies. Click and locked containers are highly ideal as a spill in your bag is a kill joy.
- Make a grocery list. And keep it simple. And go to the market when it is not too busy. And do not go hungry to the market! Start with prepping rather than much cooking. Buy fixings for sandwiches, 5-10 yogurts, bulk bag of nuts, 5-10 pieces of fruit, 2-3 vegetables like carrots or peppers that are good on the go or even bagged greens as they are so quick and easy.
- You are finding your groove and it feels so good. Keep going!
- Experiment with different recipes. Try good bulk dishes such as chilis, stews, casseroles or warm salads.
- Play with proteins. If you make the same chicken every week, experiment with some turkey burgers, or slow cooked beef or a frittata. Or adding more beans and grains for more variety and nutrients.
- Spice it up. We can get very monotonous and routined. If you love what you are eating and it is working, don't change a thing. But if you see you are on the verge of getting bored, catch it before it slows you down. Try some new spices, or marinades, or ethnic recipe. Google a bit and find one new recipe to throw in and see if that helps with variety.
- Well you are killing it. You are a prepping machine. If you feel good at your weight and current plan, do not change a thing. And be proud of yourself!
- If you would like to change your weight or health -- take a close look at your protein/carb/fat and see what could be adjusted in order to reach your goals.
- If you want to take on a challenge, consider eating as clean as possible, using all whole ingredients, or adding in a few new recipes for a more diverse food and nutrient profile.
- Take a moment and be honest with yourself about what level you are at. Assess what is working and what isn't and how you can improve. And make it happen and thrive.
Some basic meal ideas/ingredients to get you started:
- Hard boil eggs
- Overnight oats
- Roasted vegetables
- Smoothies -- even just yogurt and fruit, made in bulk and frozen in individual containers
- Cut up fruit
- Cut up veggies
- Slices of high quality bread or a handful of crackers in a baggie
- Pre portioned nuts and seeds
- Simple sandwiches
- Bean or grain salad
- 5-10 servings of protein -- chicken breasts, burgers, meatballs
- Tuna or salmon salad made with 2 cans and should last a few days
- Pre cut and rinsed salad greens
- Starch of choice -- rice, quinoa, couscous, beans
- A large jar of salad dressing/marinade -- as simple and olive oil and vinegar or add spices, lemon, mustards etc to get creative.