Have you been wanting to get your nutrition in check for a while, but are overwhelmed by everything you see online about meal prepping?
We don’t blame you. It definitely IS overwhelming and time consuming when you try to prep like the instagram fitness people with five million containers and seemingly endless amounts of time to cook on the weekends.
The one thing they don’t tell you: Meal prep can be simple and time effective.
At CNU Fit, we teach people the skills and habits like simple meal prepping to help them lose weight, fit their clothes better, and increase their energy.
Meal prepping the simple way is a 3 step process:
1. Figure out what you need for the week.
2. Make a grocery list.
3. Cook your essentials first and fill in the blanks later.
It may seem too easy to be true, but the reality is if the things you need to do to get healthy are too far outside your comfort zone or too challenging to fit into your normal routine, you’re not going to do it. That’s why it’s better to start small...and then down the road if you want to get crazy with containers and recipes, go for it!
All right, let’s start with step 1:
Figure out what you need for the week.
The first thing you need to do is figure out how many meals you need and what type of meals you need, this will guide you on what you need to a) buy for the week and b) cook for the week ahead of time. At CNU Fit we have most of our clients strive to eat between 4 and 5 times a day. So that means 3 main meals with 1 or 2 snacks to hold you over when you get hungry during the day.
Once you figure out how many times you’ll be eating, you need to figure out how many meals you’ll be preparing yourself. Many of our clients will prep breakfast and dinner and do substitutes for lunch and snacks, depending on their capacity. Some of the “substitutes” they pick up right at our Dover or Milford location:
- XS peanut butter protein bar + an XS vanilla protein shake
- ISO 100 protein powder mix (great for a quick smoothie with some almond milk and berries!)
- XS BBQ Protein Crisps
- Clean Eats- these are a variety of made-fresh-flash-frozen meals that we carry. Many of our clients will buy 5 a week to take care of their lunch so they don’t have to worry about it.
Once you’ve figured out what meals you need, you need to figure out what food you want to make for those meals. Do you like oatmeal and eggs for breakfast? Chicken and potatoes for dinner?
While it may be tempting to go online and look up a ton of recipes for your meal prep, if you’re a beginner stick to foods you know you can easily make. If you really want to try a recipe, pick a crock pot or insta-pot recipe that way you can just throw it all in one pot and press start. The goal is to Keep It Super Simple, or K.I.S.S!
Now meal prepping doesn’t have to mean boring food. A great way to spice up chicken, for example, is to do baked chicken and pair throughout the week with different sauces! Delicious, flavorful, and easy...plus there’s multiple different types of sauces out there so you don’t have to feel like you’re eating the same thing over and over.
Another part of meal prepping is figuring out when you’re going to do it. Most people like to prep on Sundays because it’s a more laid-back day, but you know your schedule better than anyone so pick a time that works for you! It may change from week to week, but to make it easier to be consistent try to pick a time that you know usually works for you and put it in your calendar that way you don’t schedule anything else around it!
Make a grocery list
This is probably the easiest part of meal prep, but don’t be decieved...it’s an important part!
Ensuring you have everything in the house that you need for the week will prevent you from wanting to eat out because “there’s nothing to eat.”
Try creating a list and strictly sticking to it! It can be tempting while grocery shopping to buy a bunch of extra goodies that can prevent you from reaching your goals. It’s much easier to not have it in the house than using will power to stay away from your favorite goodies. Willpower will fail you every time.
To make your shopping experience easier (because, if you’re like us, you’ve probably gone grocery shopping, had a list, but still forgot stuff THAT WAS ON YOUR LIST), write your list according to your grocery store’s aisles. This may seem cumbersome at first, but can be super helpful when it comes to staying on track and not forgetting anything on your grocery list.
To do this take the pad of paper with your grocery list into the store and write down the aisle numbers that you get all your food. Humans are creatures of habit, so chances are the majority of your grocery list are recurring purchases. Voila! Then next time you write your list, section it off by aisle to ensure you don’t forget anything.
Cook your essentials and fill in the blanks later
What we mean by essentials, is usually your meat and maybe a few carb options like rice or baked potatoes.
Our thought process behind this is that these are the things that normally take the longest to cook, the things you won’t always have time to cook during the week. If possible, try to cook multiple things at once, like using an oven.
Here’s a list of ideas to get you started:
- Baked chicken
- Baked pork tenderloin
- Broiled 93/7 burgers
- Baked turkey breast
- Rice (though if you don’t have time and want to cook this during the week, try the “boil in a bag” rice. It only takes 10 minutes!)
- Baked potatoes
- Baked squash
Try to avoid cooking veggies ahead of time because depending on how many days you want to prep for they can get soggy. Some other things to do for this to prep you for the week is to chop up all your veggies ahead of time, that will save a step when it comes to cooking it. Or, if you’re really short on time during the week, there’s nothing wrong with frozen veggies!
You can even prep some breakfasts ahead of time. Things like egg bakes or oatmeal bakes are easy to cook at one time and will last you the whole week. All you need is a microwave in the morning and you are set!
Let us help you
Organizing and meal prepping can seem like a lot of work, especially if it’s something that’s brand new to you. But the more you make it a habit, the easier it will get.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or need help getting started, a CNU Fit certified nutrition coach can help you through each step of the process—from desiging your schedule, to helping you pick what you should be eating.
Give us a call at 302-689-3489 or fill out your information on this page and we’ll reach out to you!