Meal prep: Where do you begin?
The beginning of the year is the perfect time to stop for a minute, reflect on the year behind us, and plan for the year ahead. Often, people take the new year as an opportunity to start their wellness journey by adopting healthier habits such as eating more nutritious foods, exercising more, or getting better sleep. Research shows that the more specific goals are, the chances of success increase.
Meal planning is a wonderfully practical New Year’s resolution to help you meet those health-related goals. Meal prepping can help you to implement healthy eating habits despite having a busy schedule through portion control and calorie management while keeping on top of your work-life balance.
Meal Prep 101
Let’s start with a quick discussion about what meal prep actually is. Meal prep is any food preparation that you do ahead of time. It can be as easy as cutting up some vegetables or as complicated as putting together an entire meal to be reheated later in the week. If you do something ahead of time, it counts as meal prep!
Meal prep can be an invaluable tool as you work to transform your life. Having even just a small part of your meal ready to go can be the difference between enjoying a healthy meal at home and going out to dinner because you don’t have the energy to cook a full meal. If you haven’t done meal prep before, we encourage you to use this week’s challenge as motivation to try it!
Tips for Meal Prep
- Schedule your meal prep. Having a time to do your meal prep on your calendar makes it much easier to do it consistently. Many people like doing it on Sunday so they’re ready for the week, but you can do it whenever works best for you!
- Keep things simple. You don’t have to spend hours and hours doing meal prep to enjoy the benefits. Remember, anything you do ahead of time will help you during the week, so even a small amount of meal prep counts as a victory.
- Choose foods that will last a few days in the refrigerator to get the most out of your efforts. For example, cooked chicken and ground beef are good for up to four days in the fridge, and hard-boiled eggs will last up to a week. Click here for a list of recommended times to keep food in the fridge and the freezer.
- Embrace variety. Mixing things up will keep things interesting. For example, if you’re cooking four pieces of chicken, use different spices on each one. You’ll save the same amount of time, but you’ll have four unique meals!
- Use the freezer. Having a few meals or ingredients prepped in the freezer can help you on hectic days. Cooked ground beef, turkey, or chicken can easily last up to six months in the freezer, which can then be reheated for an easy portion of protein!
Remember, even the tiniest changes can impact your new wellness journey for better. Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be difficult, and that includes meal planning. Just have fun and enjoy the process.