How to Meal Prep 101: A Beginners Guide
We’re a month into the new year, so health goals are hopefully still going strong, but if you’re like us, you may have already fallen off the wagon a bit. Meal prepping is pretty straightforward: just make some healthy meals ahead of time and package them into convenient little boxes, right? Well, just like with any improvement, there is more to it than it seems when it comes to completely changing the way you eat from tortilla chips + queso to carrots and hummus. These little meal prep tips can help you to stay on the straighten arrow and reach those health goals you’ve been shooting for.
Don’t Be a Superhero – Listen, we know you’re an all-star at work and at home, but diving too deep into the waters of healthy eating can be dangerous too. Don’t set your expectations so high that you expect to go from eating carelessly to eating organic parsnips in one day. Take baby steps and take some time to really plan out how to pace yourself for what goes in the meal prep containers. If you load up on bland broccoli and unseasoned chicken breast too hard and fast, you’re going to burn out and will be more likely to find solace in an enchilada plate with extra cheese.
Stock Up Ahead of Time – All that being said, find the correct balance of taking it easy on the change but also being prepared for the actual prepping portion of healthy meal prep. Have a jar of almond butter on standby for a last-minute apple slice addition. Grab some whole grains like quinoa and keep them in a glass jar for a quick quinoa + veggie salad addition. Keep healthy options nearby so you don’t end up reaching for the Oreos you have secretly stashed away from the kids. The more healthy options you have at your fingertips, the more likely you are to reach for them when you’re prepping in a pinch.
Get and Stay Organized – Picture yourself on a Sunday afternoon, mentally prepared to get your meal prep on, when you realize all the meal prep containers are dirty or missing or broken. You panic a bit, and attempt to figure out how many glass bowls you can scrounge up for the job, but now your mojo is messed up and you’re ready to throw in the towel. If you get organized and stay organized, you’ll be ready to run at any moment, setting yourself up for a more successful situation. Keep your containers in an easy-to-access place in your kitchen, along with lids or plastic wrap nearby. Make it a point to wash your containers as soon as you are finished with them so you don’t find yourself with a pile in the sink.
Keep Track of What You Like – There’s just no sense in continuing to torture yourself with meals you didn’t really care for, is there? Maybe the turkey taco salad you thought would taste just like your childhood favorite recipe didn’t quite hit the nail on the head. Crumple up that recipe and move on to something you did like, and keep that recipe at hand somewhere portable like your phone so that you can quickly grab ingredients while at the store without missing anything. The more you like the food you eat, the better your chances are that meal prepping will be your new favorite hobby.
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