How to Start Meal Prepping
We are big fans of meal prepping. According to Harvard University, meal prep planning has a lot of benefits, including helping to save money and time, helping with portion control, contributing to an overall more nutritionally balanced diet, and reducing personal stress as a practitioner avoids last minute decisions about what to eat or rushed preparation. However, when you first start looking at meal prepping, it can feel a little overwhelming. Check out some of our tips below to start meal prepping and, before you know it, you will be a pro!
● Shift your thinking about meals and preparation. When first starting to meal prep, it can be daunting to realize how much time you will spend initially getting everything ready for the coming week. However, try to keep in mind that although meal prep requires an initial block of time, you are essentially consolidating all of your meal prep time into one day instead of spacing it out over the week. If you do not have to spend time every day meal prepping, that is time you can use to do something else. Get a little more work done, add a few minutes onto your daily workout, or just take it easy with some self care!
● Compile a list of your favorite recipes into one place. Maybe you have a recipe book or card box with all of your favorites, or perhaps you have gone digital and keep everything in an app on your phone. Whatever method works best for you will still give you an idea of what you are eating and you can essentially plug recipes into the rotation. By knowing that you are going to have a certain recipe on a certain day, you know exactly what you need to buy for it and you can be sure you are eating a variety of foods instead of just the same thing over and over again.
● Once you have your recipe plan for the week, make your shopping list. “As much as 40% of food goes uneaten in the U.S. Americans throw away $165 billion in wasted food every year, according to Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council, or NRDC, a nonprofit environmental action group.” By meal prepping, you are only purchasing the food you plan to eat, saving you money and keeping you from wasting food. When you go to the grocery store with a firm list, you are much less likely to impulse buy something you might end up just throwing away. Stick to the list!
● Make your prep time fun! Look, there is no getting around it--if you want to meal prep, you have to buckle down and actually take the time to prep. However, that does not mean it cannot be fun! Catch up on your favorite binge-worthy TV show, enjoy your favorite tunes, or spend some time with an audiobook you have been wanting to read. If you save something you enjoy like the latest episode of your favorite podcast for when you meal prep, you could find yourself looking forward to that weekly prep time!
● Invest in decent food storage containers with secure lids. There is nothing worse than opening your bag to realize your lunch has leaked all over your stuff.
● Go easy on yourself and be willing to learn from your mistakes. Meal prep can take some trial and error, so be sure to cut yourself some slack. For example, if you have a sauce prepared to add to a pita, maybe wait until the morning of to add it so your pita won’t get soggy and weird by the end of the week. But if you do end up with a soggy pita one day, just chalk it up as a learning experience so you will be better prepared for the next time that pita shows up in your recipe rotation.
What are your favorite tips for meal prep? Let us know in the comments!
 “Meal Prep: A Helpful Healthy Eating Strategy.” The Nutrition Source, Harvard University, 20 Nov. 2017, www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2017/03/20/meal-prep-planning/.
 Fottrell, Quentin. “Food for Thought This Thanksgiving: 40% of Groceries Are Thrown out Every Year.” MarketWatch, 21 Nov. 2018, www.marketwatch.com/story/this-is-why-americans-throw-out-165-billion-in-food-every-year-2016-07-22.