You decided it’s time to lose a few pounds – good for you, friend!
You figured out your exercise schedule, got your calories calculated and you are ready to go!
But if you are anything like me and have a few kids, a job and a ton of responsibilities, it is not always easy to eat according to the goals you set for yourself. We run from one errand to another, and when it’s time to pick up the kids from school, that fast food place on the way home looks TOO good. Of course, last time you ate was probably 6 hours ago, and by now you are about to eat the entire Taco Bell.
To avoid situations like that, you need to be prepared. Have some non-perishable snacks in your car and quick bites you can grab from the fridge on the way out.
Lots of people say mealprep is BORING. Well, that depends on HOW you do it. There is a number of ways you can prep yourself and your family for a week ahead, let me show you a couple of them.
My favorite way to mealprep is to make big batches of foods so I can mix and match them during the week. We are a family of six, so a couple of chicken breasts just won’t cut it.
So my plan is usually simple:
- Go grocery shopping and search for sales. Chicken breast on sale – great, thighs on sale – great too! It is always smarter to see the grocery deals first (I am sure you get weekly ads from your local grocery stores, or you can always look them up online) rather than making a menu before seeing the sales. This can save you a ton of money, as well as the time.
- Come home and organize the food on the counter, decide what gets to cook first, what goes second and what can be cooked at the same time. For example, you can roast 2-3 types of vegetables in the oven at the same time. While the vegetables are roasting you can pan sear fish, cook a couple of side dishes such as noodles, grains etc or a sauce for your pasta.
- I always make 2-3 different types of protein, for example, on the picture above you can see grilled shrimp, marinated salmon (lemon juice and salt) and grilled chicken. Having a variety helps to avoid “food boredom”. You do not feel like you are eating the same thing every day. All you need to do is to learn how to mix and match your proteins. Just think about this, with the same chicken you can make wraps, tacos, salads, sandwiches, lunch bowls and even more. Spice your dishes up with sauces, herbs, dressings, and your food will never be boring
- Make some quick snacks – boiled eggs, protein balls, pre-cut veggies, and don’t forget to buy some mixed nuts, cheese sticks, crackers or rice cakes – they make for an easy snack that will help you feel good until your planned meal. Protein powder and protein bars are a great add-ons to your daily menu although they are absolutely not necessary for your weight loss journey
- I always have fun with my food. I try different combinations, I use herbs and spices that I have never seen before. I go to Asian or Mexican stores and buy bottled sauces that I never used before so it is always a surprise. I smell and touch fresh foods at stores – my nose always tells me whether I am going to like it or not. So don’t be scared to try new foods – chances are they might become regulars on your table.
That was my favorite way to mealprep – it is definitely the best way to meal prep for families especially with kids. You can put 4-5 things on the table and let your kids choose what they want. Trust me, they WILL eat something from the variety you offered and you don’t need to cook separate meals for those picky creatures of yours. One example of a regular dinner at my house:
Roasted cauliflower with broccoli
Fresh veggies such as tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers
I would put some roasted and fresh vegetables on my plate and one serving of salad. My 6 yo would eat the salad, noodles and chicken. My 3 yo would pick roasted veggies, noodles and chicken. My 1 yo would try a little bit of everything (which is my goal – to get her used to all the foods and different flavors). And my husband will eat all of the above. Simple, quick, and all it takes is 2-3 hours of your time in the kitchen on a weekend.
There is another way to mealprep, and in my opinion it works best for single people and couples (and if you have to take lunches to work). If you follow this strategy, you would cook complete meals, not just a bunch of separate ingredients, and then pack them in one serving containers so it’s easy for you to just grab a Tupperware container from a fridge and take it to work. No hassle at all.
You can still prep a bigger batch of protein, vegetables and grains and divide them between a few containers – as long as you always have a meal in the fridge, you are good to go.
The reason this way doesn’t work for me is that for 6 of us I would need to prep about 18 container per day and 90 container for weekdays… but who has that much fridge space? So I stick to big batches.
Do you have a favorite way to prep food for a week ahead? Leave a comment below;-)
Have a great day!