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Be Prepared - A Guide to Meal Prep

Sure, you watch the Food Network, but that doesn’t mean you can recreate anything you see on it. Instagram Fitness celebrities, seem to flaunt how easy they can whip up a healthy smorgasbord when your meals seem like a nightmare episode of Chopped.

You want to eat healthily but you feel you can’t recreate labor-intensive recipes with a hectic schedule? Saving time and money throughout the week is worth the little extra bit of time and effort on the weekend, especially if it means you know you will be eating healthy meals.

If you stay organized, you won’t have the excuse to run through the drive-thru on your way home from work, when you have a delicious prepped meal, waiting to be assembled and cooked. For those who are new to the game and aren’t exactly Child or Garten in the kitchen, don’t get too overwhelmed. Here are some tips for first-time meal preppers for instant success:

Slow And Steady

You’re not opening up a chain of restaurants with Gordon Ramsay so there is no reason to stress about high volume production.  You don’t need to commit to prepping breakfast, lunch, and dinner all at once. Start off slow and prep a single meal for a night of the week that is most important, perhaps for a day that is particularly busy or one where you may have to work late.  Or if you know that your vice is unhealthy lunches at work, prep lunch to take with you so you won’t be tempted to hit the food trucks. If you are thinking of prepping breakfast, consider making a whey protein powder shake, like SFH’s PURE or FUEL, as they are quick and simple, and will allow you the time to work on another meal instead.

Make A Date

Get out your Dayplanner or your wall calendar and have your people call your people. Set those dates ahead of time so it is written in ink. That way you will stick with your meal plan. Depending on what kind of meal you make, a prep session can be as quick as a half hour to as long as a couple hours, if you are roasting or making soup. Choose a particular day when you make food for the rest of the week. If you can’t block out a full day, find another time mid-week to finish prepping for the rest of the week. Chunk it out so it is manageable. If you feel overwhelmed. If you feel overwhelmed, you may quit. And quitters go buy cheeseburgers.

Shop So You Don’t Drop

You’ll need every tool and supply at your disposal in order to have the perfect prep. Part of that means the pre-prep or grocery shopping. Before you cook, spend time before making sure you have all the ingredients you need. Nothing is more frustrating than realizing in the middle of your grand cook, that you have run out of the main component of your recipe. Make it an adventure and spend part of the day at the local farmer’s market searching for organic produce and free-range poultry and meat. Plus, if you purposely shop for all these specific items, then you will be more likely to use them and eat them, rather than letting them go to waste. If you can’t get out of the house but must make meals? It’s okay to cheat with a little modern technology. Delivery services can bring you fresh produce within a couple of hours so you can get prepping.

Cheat Sheet

There is no shame in taking shortcuts when you are pressed for time. Multi-tasking is your friend. If you want to make a meal in a crock pot while you root for the home team, that’s a great way to get the meals made for the week., or having proper tools like a salad spinner, lemon squeezers, garlic peelers and presses. Or buy garlic already chopped. Pre-sliced veggies can speed things up as can pre-portioned foods such as rice packets. If you cook a large amount of chicken with a neutral flavor, you can then create many different meals with different spices throughout the week so no one gets bored. If you make twice the recipe, you can freeze the extra and save it for the following week.