“FAILING TO PLAN IS PLANNING TO FAIL.”
There is no doubt that meal planning and meal prep take time. There simply is no way around this. If you don’t MAKE the time that it takes for grocery shopping, meal prep and cooking it will NEVER happen. Period. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. Ever notice how some people manage massive productivity in a day and others are constantly chasing time? It comes down to mastering your time and schedule, and folding into your schedule the things that are a priority for you. If you decide that your health and reaching your fitness goals are a priority for you (and saving money on eating out) then schedule it. No excuses.
You simply have to schedule it in AND honor it as if it were a business meeting. The beauty is that meal prep can take as little or as much time as you want. For those of us who are busy juggling family, work, businesses, school and workouts, you can actually accomplish quite a bit of meal prep in just 1-2 hours prepping simple yet effective meals and snacks that will keep you on track. And, the more you meal prep the faster you will get and the better you will become at balance in the kitchen, cooking and preparing multiple items at once…you make a salad while eggs are boiling on the stove and salmon and vegetables are roasting in the oven. Think of those little pockets of free time in your schedule or those draining time wasters - that 30 minutes before before you head out for a meeting, that 45 minutes you spent scrolling on social media or getting caught up in click bait, that hour during your favorite show, etc. Utilize those pockets to maximize your spare time as much as possible. INVEST YOUR TIME WHERE IT IS MOST VALUABLE.
Leverage your time by always cooking in bulk. Do not prep just 1 or 2 meals. If you are boiling eggs for the next few days, might as well just boil the entire carton of eggs. If you are roasting sweet potatoes, go ahead and add a few extra on the pan. Throw in a few extra servings of chicken or tofu in the wok. Make a larger salad. Make 2 cups of brown rice instead of just 1. It will save you so much time later in the week. You can also think creatively about to meal prep with as little time as possible - got an instant pot or crock pot? Can you bake large trays of food at once? Are you able to come up with super easy yet delicious 10-minute meal ideas? Although buying ready-to-go foods might seem like an option to save time, keep in mind that most of these foods 1) cost more for the packaging and convenience and 2) and not the cleanest in terms of ingredients. Many ready to go foods (like pre-made, pre-sliced chicken breast) are loaded with sodium and added preservatives. Buying pre-cut or individually packaged vegetables, same thing, and they cost you more. If money is priority, it’s always cheaper to fully wash, cut, and prep your own food, costing you just a little more time, and freeing your diet of unnecessary additives.
Start familiarizing yourself with recipe and meal prep apps and websites. There are TONS of fantastic ideas for quick meals for any nutrition plan…there is no need to invent the wheel! Some of my favs include: yummy.com, tasty.com, dietdoctor.com, almondsandavocados.com, just to name a few.
As the weekend approaches, I challenge you to pre-schedule time in for this weekend to plan your menu, create your shopping list for that menu, go grocery shopping and prep your food for the upcoming week. Most like to do this on Sunday to have their meals ready for the work week. Do what is best for you and your family’s schedule. Tomorrow we will talk a little bit more about grocery shopping and how to maximize your time.
Again no need to invent the wheel! Why not share our ideas with this accountability group?? Post in the comments your meal plan, creative ways you are scheduling in the time to prep, and your grocery shopping lists!