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So you’ve decided to try meal prepping, now what? How do you decide when to prep? How do you know what portion sizes to divide your food into? What do you even cook? I’m going to answer all of these questions and share a few items that make my meal prep a breeze!
Alright, first thing is first. You’ve decided to commit to prepping your meals and most of the time it is for one of two reasons. One, to save money or two, to lose weight. This is going to play a big role in what you prepare. If you are simply trying to save money you can basically make anything you want, divide it into portions and there-you-have-it. IF this is the case, feel free to check out any of my recipes. I am a huge fan of crockpot, casserole and easy meals. Especially ones that make great left overs!
Now, if you are prepping to lose weight, it’s a little more tedious but still worth every second of your time! I swear!
So, some meal prep basics.
- Portion control: If you are prepping for weight-loss…this is the THE most important part. You need to be in control of how much food you are eating, regardless of what that food is. Generally, typical portions are…
- Protein 4-6oz (maybe 8oz for men)
- Carbs 4oz
- Fats are all different in their portion size, unless you are following a higher fat diet (Keto, etc) I just suggest using fats only here and there (They aren’t all bad, but that’s a whole other post!)
- Fruits and Veggies can be divided into 4-6oz portions as well. However, if you find yourself very hungry, you can always go to 6-8oz.
- Food Choices: This is also extremely important because you shouldn’t have to force yourself to eat foods you don’t like (but you will need to have an open mind!) There are ways to make healthy but also tasty meals! My suggestion is hit up Pintrest and find a few meals that you want to try out and then see where to go from there. If you’re more like me and are just looking for quick, convenient foods that you can cook in large batches, here is some of my go-to, meal prep foods…
◦Lean ground beef
◦Steam in a bag frozen veggies
◦90 second rice (“lazy rice”)
◦Apples, oranges (“portable” fruit)
Once you have these cooked you can create meals with them. For example: I will take lean ground beef, green beans, rice and I add pickles, tomatoes, and mustard. It tastes like the middle of burger. Obviously it isn’t the same thing, but it does the trick. But there are millions of ways to create easy, delicious pre-prepped meals!
- Don’t sacrifice flavor!!! If you want to add 30 calories worth of ketchup to something…do it! Or if you want to use a little sugar free-jelly in your oat meal to give it a little sweet kick, that’s okay. You just need to be very aware that those little calories add up quick! So limit yourself. And find other ways to make your food flavorful. Use spices and things like that.
- Don’t drink your calories. Part of meal prepping is the convenience but also, usually, to get on track with a healthy lifestyle. By being aware of your caloric intake when it comes to beverages, you’ll be much more successful. Use things like water with lemon, green tea (unsweetened), Crystal Light and things like that to flavor your drinks instead of high-calorie things like soda and juice.
- My last tip is only cook for about 4 days. You will want variety and with out it you may not stick to your new lifestyle. If you cook too much food you may feel wasteful if it doesn’t get eaten and goes bad. So plan on cooking for 3 to 4 days.
Here are a few things I use that make prepping my meals and having them with me at work or on the go, quick and easy.
Fit & Fresh Jaxx FitPak Meal Prep Bag : This is a cute lunchbox style cooler with microwave safe containers. Doesn’t get any easier or more convenient. (I like this one better than any of my other meal prep bags!!)
Ozeri Pronto Digital Multifunction Kitchen and Food Scale, Elegant Black : This is my food scale. I think it is indestructible because it had survived, plane rides, oil rigs, and fitness competitions. Easy to use, battery operated, lifesaver.
Ziploc Slider Storage Bags : This is not a joke. Ziplocks will save your life. I throw my hard boiled eggs, my apples, maybe some silverware, oatmeal (before its cooked), protein powder, you name it, ziplocks make travel easy. They also allow you to freeze left over food if you don’t want to cook it all.
Let me know what tips and tricks you have for your meal prep! I’m always hoping to learn new ways to make this lifestyle easier!