How To- Meal Prep for Beginners
When people first begin flexible dieting one of the things they seem to dread the most is meal prepping. They do their best to try and avoid it for the first few weeks only to come to the realization that meal prepping is going to make life easier. You may be thinking “when will have I have time to cook up all this food for the week?”. This is a completely normal question to ask. Work, training, school, family, social events, soccer games…I could go on and on about all the activities we tackle in our day to day lives. But it is important to remember that meal prepping is a way to eliminate the “what am I going to eat” question you probably ask yourself throughout the day.
One of the first things I tell people is that meal prepping is only going to work if you feel it is manageable. If there is no system in place, it is going to be very likely that you will become overwhelmed by the whole process and just give up. This is what we want to avoid. Meal prepping, after all, is all about you and how you want it to work.
Before getting started, there are a few questions you should ask yourself in order to have a successful prep:
- How much time can I dedicate to prepping?
- How complicated am I going to make it?
- Do I want exquisite three course meals or do I want to just keep it simple and tasty?
- What ingredients do I need?
- How many meals per day will I be making? Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Snack?
Recommendations for Success
- Meal prep Sunday/ Wednesday. This way your food won’t go bad or become soggy. This will also save you from having to spend too much time meal prepping for an entire week all at once.
- Keep it simple. For beginners I do not recommend trying to make fancy meals for the week. Keep it simple so that it is easy to execute and easy to track the macros.
- Prep when necessary. When I first began meal prepping, the idea of prepping ALL of my meals seemed daunting. For starters try just prepping 1-2 meals ahead of time each day. For example, on Sunday prep your lunch/ dinner meals for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. This way you take some of the thought process out of what to eat for the week without feeling too overwhelmed. Always start small and with experience you can begin to expand.
- Find foods you enjoy. Meal prepping is only going to work if you find foods you actually want to eat and look forward to eating. Constantly try new things and always keep a well balanced diet.
Meal prepping is all about keeping it manageable. You ultimately have to find a system that works for you. Try to avoid viewing meal prepping as a pain. It won’t become a long term habit if you do not find enjoyment in the process. Embrace the pleasure that comes from having a full stocked fridge full of food you prepared yourself. Take value out of the benefits that come from meal prepping and your long term success rate will guarantee you reach your goals!