Step by Step Meal Prep
When I was first started my journey to losing weight and living my healthiest life, I discovered meal planning/prepping. It's something I did every single week. I sat down, planned out each meal for the week, planned out my grocery list, and then spent all of Sunday perfecting the art of meal prepping. Each week I set out to prepare all of my meals, making it easier to stick to my meal plan and less likely for me to say "crap, I don't have anything planned for dinner so let's get pizza." While it took a lot of time to do, it was very successful and I attribute a lot of my weight loss to my meal prepping. Along with helping me stay on track meal wise, it really helped to ease my "dinner frustration" throughout the week. I already had my meals planned and even cooked so after a long day of teaching, I didn't have to worry about coming home and cooking a meal. All I had to do was heat it up!
While I have shifted my focus from staying on a meal plan to help me lose weight, I haven't stopped meal planning/prepping. It was so successful for me that its now engrained in my weekend routine. I've changed some things around but I wanted to give you guys an idea of how I still meal plan/prep to keep my life easier.
Step 1: Meal Plan
Each week I sit down with a cookbook, my phone/Pinterest, or just a hankering for certain foods, and I write out a list of meals I want to cook for the week. Usually I pick two types of meat (beef, chicken, pork, etc.) and then think of some ideas that involve those meats (pot roast, pulled pork, roasted chicken, etc.) Once you have your meat ideas, plan out your sides.
For example: Last week I planned for a Ground Beef Buddha Bowl (blog post to come!) and a big pot of Carnitas that I could use in a variety of ways throughout the week! I am a huge fan of large pots of meat that can be used a bunch of different ways. Versatile and easy.
Step 2: Grocery List
Once you have your meal ideas, write your grocery list! I love using the Anylist app. It's a great way to build a grocery list on your phone. You can also use this app to store all of your favorite recipes and then add items from the recipe to your grocery list!
Step 3: Shop, Organize, Cook!
Go to the store, get your stuff, come home, organize it, put your apron on and HANDLE IT. Everyone's meal prepping style is different. I always start with the slow cooker. If I have something that needs to slow cook, I throw it in their first because it takes the longest to cook (obvi.) Do what feels right here. If you are roasting chicken, go ahead and throw that in the oven. If you're browning meat, do that. Just start somewhere and see where it takes you.
Pro tip: Make sure you have an organizational system for storing your cooked food. Check and make sure you've got the storage containers to hold your food before cooking. If you don't have what you need, Amazon has great deals on food storage sets.
Step 4: Enjoy the fruits of your labor
You've done it. You're prepped and ready and you can take on the world, one meal at a time!
Here's what a meal prepped week looks like for me:
Like I've said before, I also usually always pick a meat that I can throw in the slow cooker and make a huge batch of. Last week it was carnitas. This week I'm feeling pot roast.
I also always meal prep my lunches. I don't have a ton of time to eat lunch during the day (#teacherlife) so I plan something simple for lunch. I usually do Aidell's Chicken Apple Sausage and carrots with either Tessemae's Ranch or Primal Kitchen's Ranch. I cook these in advance and I even pre-package the carrots so I can grab and throw them into my lunch box.
Do you meal prep? If so, what do you do? Let me know in the comments below!
Happy meal prepping!