A lot of people ask us if there’s a way to get around meal planning or meal prepping and still be successful with their healthy eating goals. Sure, it’s possible, but if you’re more interested in getting results versus hoping for them, you’ll get there if you plan.
When I first realized my weight loss wouldn’t happen without meal prep, it scared me. I didn’t feel like I could be successful because I assumed meal prep and planning meals would be this huge project and I really don’t have any more time in my week to take on something that big.
Amazing how our fear response kicks in even when it’s completely irrational.
The truth is, you’re prepping before each meal anyway. Whether you’re grabbing random things out of the fridge or cupboard, whipping up a short order meal for yourself or your family before you sit down, or simply heating up leftovers in the microwave. That’s prep. It may seem faster to do it on the fly like that but if you actually added up the time it takes you to do that versus the time that it would take you to do that in advance, you’d realize you’re wasting more time than you think(or need to).
So what do I do now?
1. Make a Plan
Sit down for a few minutes and make a list of all the meals that are both good foods and foods you enjoy.
Once you have that, it’s a matter of cross checking against what you have in your kitchen to complete those meals versus what you’ll need to get at your next grocery trip to make it happen.
2. Consider Your Schedule
Be thoughtful about your schedule and how much time it will take to prepare these things. Since you should be having a protein at each meal, perhaps cooking a big batch of meat and freezing some would be the best option. Then, on a day you know you’re going to be coming home a bit later than usual, you can have it defrosting in the fridge the night before, heat it up and pair it with a vegetable side with fruit and salad if you like!
3. Stock Your Shelves
If you have the cupboards stocked with canned foods that can support a host of recipes, you’ll be ready to go last minute if it comes to that. Canned tomatoes, beans, lentils, brown rice, quinoa, couscous, etc. can be added to thousands of recipes for massive flavor, nutrients, vitamins and protein.
Pro-Tip: Take 1-1.5 hours to batch cook your meats. Cook 3lbs of lean ground beef on the stove(with sautéed onion and garlic, pink salt and your choice of seasoning) while 3-5 pounds of chicken breast is broiling(with salt, pepper, lemon juice and thyme), and maybe even have a lean pork tenderloin in the slow cooker with low sodium organic chicken broth and root vegetables! If you do it this way, you can have nearly 2 week’s worth of meats, and variety, to add to your meal plan. All of which are compatible with hundreds of recipes!
Huge bonus! If you stick to your meals ingredients, you will absolutely be saving money! In fact, I challenge you to track how much money you save in one month doing this. Then decide what you’re going to do with all that money you save 😉