Meal Prepping TIPS & TRICKS

I know from experience that meal planning, prepping, and executing can be extremely challenging while juggling responsibilities, curveballs, and the lack of 30 hours in a day.
So, I’m bringing to you my 10 (+) tips for meal prepping. There are a few tips that involve purchases, but don’t worry; they’re not necessary (but man, they’re fantastic). *Disclaimer: I’m going to get the “purchase” items out of the way… if you aren’t looking to spend any money, skip to step 4.

  1. Meal PLAN: This can be incredibly stressful but so efficient (for shopping and cooking). If you plan efficiently, you avoid purchasing ingredients that you don’t need, just for them to sit and rot in your fridge or collect dust in your pantry. If you plan correctly, you can even help yourself cook in bulk, eliminating some stress and time on prep-day. One way I’ve been doing this lately is by using this EPIC cookbook: Cook Once, Eat All Week by Cassy Joy Garcia. This book is super “diet” flexible, and everything so far has been amazing! https://www.amazon.com/Cook-Once-Eat-All-Week/dp/1628603437
  2. If you don’t own an INSTANT POT… go to the store (or Amazon) RIGHT NOW. Seriously… why are you still sitting there? Now, you may be one of those individuals who think, “I have a crockpot already. I don’t need to spend $80-100 on another gadget that does the same thing”… but YOU DO (I mean you don’t… but you do). The Instant pot makes cooking chicken, chili, and rice happen in MINUTES, and it’s always cooked perfectly! No more crunch rice or dry chicken! https://www.amazon.com/Instant-Pot-Programmable-Pressure-Steamer/dp/B01B1VC13K/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=instant+pot+8+ct&qid=1581643310&s=home-garden&sr=1-1
  3. Use a good lunchbox. It’s important to keep your food at the right temperature, and where you work or spend your day may not be near a fridge. I use the ISOBAG and have for years. The icepacks are literally the BEST I’ve ever used, but if you have a lunchbox you prefer, that works too. https://www.amazon.com/Meal-Prep-Bag-Kit-Containers/dp/B00M8ID2NE/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=isobag&qid=1581643467&sr=8-4
  4. Don’t SKIP breakfast. I can already hear the breakfast-haters screaming at me but hold on. It doesn’t matter to me what time you eat breakfast… but PREP it. If you enjoy a good breakfast but don’t think you can do better than the instant oatmeal or frozen breakfast sandwich, you’re wrong. There are tons of great breakfast options to keep you feeling full and give you some energy like overnight oats, breakfast bowls (scrambled eggs, sausage, and potatoes or rice), breakfast muffins/casseroles, protein pancakes, smoothies, etc. I usually prep my breakfast for 2 or 3 days on prep day and then prep again later in the week.
  5. Know when to cut corners. This can be challenging and can definitely get expensive if you’re making a lot of convenience purchases. When I’m pressed for time (or just lazy), my go-to’s are rotisserie chicken, pre-marinated seasoned proteins, precut veggies, and proportioned snacks.
  6. Work ahead on Prep-day! Like I mentioned above, I cook breakfasts and my proteins 2-3x a week. But, you can still prep foods that you’re not cooking right away. Take the time on prep day to precut any veggies or fruits you’ll use during cooking or eating later in the week.
  7. Even though I prep my meals, I get burnt out on eating reheated food for all of my meals. To avoid this, I like to cook a fresh dinner 3x a week. In order to do this after working, mommying, and adulting… I keep dinner prep to 30 minutes of unsupervised cooking. It means we all get to eat a hot meal together, we have leftovers for lunches, and I can multitask while dinner is cooking.
  8. Don’t eat the same thing all week. Burn out is real. If you eat the same foods all week, you’re missing out on vital vitamins and minerals you get when you eat a variety of foods. Also, if you’re anything like me, that makes me less excited to eat and also less satisfied.
  9. Prep what you WILL eat. If you’re not going to eat reheated tilapia and rice at 1130 am in your work break room- don’t prep it. Prepping foods you won’t eat because you know they’re “healthy” and that you “should eat them to X, Y, or Z” then you’re only wasting your time and money. And in case you need a reminder: YOU CAN NOT GET YOUR TIME BACK.
  10. Pack MORE than enough! You never know when an 8-hour workday might turn into 9, 10, or even 12 hours. Pack an extra snack just in case you’re stuck in traffic or at work. You can’t plan for life curveballs, but you can prepare.
  11. Pack a treat 🙂 I feel so much happier with my “diet” throughout the day when I have a small treat after my lunch. A tiny Hershey’s or almond joy will do the trick but find that one treat that you love and bring a serving of that with you.
    And lastly:
  12. Supplement where you NEED to. Now, I’m not going to break out the supplement soapbox, but it’s important to keep an eye on areas in your diet that you might be missing the mark on. For me (and for most people, that’s protein). Two of my all-time favorite protein supplements are BUILT Bars and Core Power Protein Milkshakes. These both taste incredible and help me hit my protein while keeping my sweet tooth satisfied.
    I’m ALL about helping others (and myself), so if you have ANY tips you’d like to share… OR any favorite recipes, feel free to comment or send them to my email address at nutritionwcrystall@yahoo.com

Published by

mscgeee

I'm an Air Force Aircraft Maintainer, avid reader, and a writer. More importantly, I'm a lover of all things food and SOME things health. I’m a person with a passion for sharing with others, which is why I’ve created this blog! I want to share what I’ve learned, what I know to be true, my experiences with nutrition and health, and some of my favorite recipes to hopefully help you mix it up, start a health journey, or assist you in your pursuit of nutritional knowledge!

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