Challenge Yourself Summit Recap: The Basics of Meal Prep

Meal prep is one of the most important components of living a healthy lifestyle. If we think of food as medicine to heal and strengthen our bodies the gateway to our success starts with meal prep.

Three Steps to Start Meal Prepping:

Make Time

The first principle of being an effective meal prepper is to make time in your busy schedule every week. You will need to set aside time to find recipes, grocery shop and of course prepare your food.

Look Ahead

The second principle is to look ahead at your upcoming week. Each week is different and will contain different activities and settings where we may not have much control over what we eat. It can be hard to navigate these situations with no mental or physical preparation. Sit down with your calendar or agenda and make sure your meals work for your schedule.

Make A List

The third principle is to make a list. Always go to the grocery store with a list as this helps save time because you know exactly what you need to put in your cart without simply wandering the isles. Having a list also saves money by eliminating impulse buying, which often happens as you wander the aisles looking for “inspiration” of what to cook for that week.

Three Meal Planning Strategies:

There are endless options and combinations of meal planning strategies, what is important is to find the one that works best for your schedule and personality.

The Bulk Planner

Who is this good for?

The person who has limited time throughout the week, and doesn’t mind eating the same meals for 1-2 weeks at a time.

How it works?

Schedule 1-3 hours on 1 day of the week (usually Saturday or Sunday) to find 1-2 recipes, grocery shop and prepare food. You can find one recipe and make 14 portions (lunch and dinner for 1 week) or 2 different recipes and make 7 portions of each recipe (1 recipe for lunches and the second recipe for dinners for 1 week).

The Everyday Planner

Who is this good for?

The person who enjoys cooking and eating a variety of foods during the week. The person who generally has more time during the week to prepare meals daily.

How it works?

Spend 1 hour a week finding 7 recipes and going to the grocery store. Each evening allow for 30-60 minutes to prepare 1 recipe and make 2 portions (if you have a family make what your family needs plus 1 extra potion) that extra potion will then be used for the next day’s lunch. You repeat this pattern of making 1 fresh meal for dinner and 1 left over for lunch for the entire week.

The Hybrid

Who is it good for?

The person who enjoys a variety of foods but doesn’t have the time to cook every evening.

How it works?

Spend 1-2 hours a week finding 3-4 recipes, going grocery shopping and preparing the most time-consuming element of the recipes (usually the protein). For example, I will find 3 recipes that all use shredded chicken. On Saturday I will cook 3-4 lbs of chicken in my slow cooker and divide it up into 3 large containers or bags then freeze or refrigerate according to when I am planning on using it. Then on Monday I will spend about 15-30 minutes preparing the rest of the meal and make enough for the next 4 meals, I repeat the same process on Wednesday and Friday.

Now that you know the three key steps of meal planning, and have three options of how to work it into your life, what are you waiting for?

Labels: Events, GetFit21, Nutrition, Uncategorized

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