Meal prepping really doesn’t have to be dreadful. We see all the fitness and health gurus posting pictures of their perfectly portioned meals, in their perfect little containers, stacked in their perfectly clean refrigerators… with their perfect little bodies. Okay, let me stop throwing shade. Usually I double-tap, say how much I wish that could be my life, and keep scrolling.
But this time was different. I decided to give meal prepping a shot. I'm forcing it to be my life. I wrote a list, and went to a few grocery stores on Sunday afternoon. Apparently, Sunday is National Meal Prep Day according to the fitness gods. But pick any day that works for you.
My Method and Choice of Food
I’ve seen several meal prep methods. Some prefer to cook identical meals for all five weekdays at one time, totaling about 15 meals. While others prefer to simply prep their food for cooking (clean meats, season foods, portion out veggies, etc.) but not actually cook it until the night before or day of. However, I’m taking a limb and saying the key to consistently meal prepping is finding out your method.
Here’s mine: Cook for two to three days at a time. Even the most airtight Tupperware will not make a meal taste the same on day five, as it does on day one. Period. Especially meats and precooked veggies get soggy, wet, rubbery, and flavorless. Um, no thanks. I decided to plan out my meals for the week, purchase all of the ingredients, and only prep half the weeks’ worth of food.
The second part to my method: have options. I get bored, very easily. Nothing sounds good to me about eating grilled chicken, broccoli, and brown rice for five days straight. So, I gave myself two options for each meal.
And lastly, I eat a fresh dinner daily.
My food options are based off of what work for my body. I prefer lots of fruits, veggies, lean meats, and healthy carbs/fats. S
- ½ baked sweet potato topped with vanilla extract, cinnamon, and coconut flakes
- 2 fried eggs, seasoned
- Egg sandwich: 2 fried eggs, 2 pieces of whole wheat toast
- Lunch Bowl – brown rice, red pepper, orange pepper, onion, spinach, smoked turkey sausage, grilled chicken
- Grilled Chicken Salad – lettuce, kale, raw sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, cucumbers, carrots, grilled chicken, Italian dressing
- No formal meal prep; varies daily
- Apples and almond butter
- Hummus and falafel chips (SO GOOD)
- Fruits – apples, bananas, tangerines, pineapples, grapefruits
How Long It Took
About three hours, including shopping. Writing the list saved me so much time in the grocery store. Usually I’m scrambling to try and figure out what to buy/make while I’m walking down every aisle. This time, I felt very prepared going in which saved me lots of time and money.
Prepping the food didn’t take long, either. I’m trying to make simple meals that incorporate lots of vegetables, protein, and healthy carbs, but aren’t too complicated to prepare. Let's face it, the longer it takes, the less likely you are to keep doing it. Plus, the more complicated, the worse it tastes reheated. Simple is always better.
How Much Did I Spend?
I spent about $47 total on groceries, which isn’t bad. But I would like to get this number down to $30 per week. Most fruits and vegetables aren’t very expensive… it’s the meats that make the price spike. My suggestion is to pick one meat a week, and figure out creative ways to prepare it. Also, don’t buy too much food. The key is to use everything you buy. Wasting food is wasting money.
I feel like I’m saving money by not eating out for lunch every day. Give meal prepping a try! I feel good every morning before work, knowing that I can open my fridge, grab my healthy lunch and go. No thought, no scrambling, no hassle. As long as you’re willing to sacrifice time one day of the week, you will reap so many benefits from meal prepping: your time, your money, and your health will all be happy.