Tips and Tricks to Meal Prepping for a Beginner
Life often gets hectic, and one of the first things that fall apart with a busy schedule can be how well we feed ourselves. It’s easier to grab whatever we can find— which usually turns out to be unhealthy and expensive— something we can all relate to. Meal prepping is a process that’s actually much simpler than most people think!
Meal prepping may seem daunting but it is really just the idea of preparing foods in advance and making your meals ready-to-go for when you need them. Different methods of meal prepping exist, you can make entire meals, or just components of meals ready to assemble later. Despite assumptions about how difficult and time consuming meal prepping is, the process actually helps you save time!
At Wishroute, we’re all about creating sustainable habits. This list is for those who are feeling overwhelmed with the world of meal prep and need an easy-to-follow guide, or pros who want a refresher on ways to keep things efficient.
1. Schedule your prep time
When pulling together what you’re going to prepare, be realistic about how much time you have to cook and how much prepped food you’ll actually eat. No shame in starting small, and be sure to schedule your prep sesh on a day that makes sense for you (aka not right before you plan to eat out the next 3 days).
Pro tip: figure out if it makes more sense for you to shop and prep on the same day or on two different days.
2. Pick realistic recipes
Some things to keep in mind when you’re feeling overwhelmed with the amount of meal prep options out there. Determine if it’s reheatable after 1-3 days, travels well on your daily commute, and remember: don’t cook “healthy” meals you know you’ll hate eating!
Pro:tip: We love Fit Foodie Find’s recipe index with handy filters for meal prep recipes, 30-minute or less cook time, slow cooker recipes, and by dietary preferences. Great for finding a recipe you’ll love cooking AND eating
3. Create a productive prep environment
Lay out everything you know you’ll need to make your meal prep for the week. This includes the ingredients, pots or pans, and containers to store the finished meals. It’ll take a few more weeks to get your exact system down, but start to build a habit of multi-tasking little things. Combine tasks like hard boiling eggs while roasting veggies in the oven. Before you know it, these little actions will quickly become a habit. Make it fun too -- turn on your favorite playlist or podcast and make the entire process something enjoyable to look forward to.
4. Learn to love roasted vegetables (if you haven’t already!)
One of the most yummy and versatile options, roasted vegetables can be used as side dishes, an easy snack, or in a main dish like omelettes, casserole, or pasta. Vegetarian or looking for heartier vegetables? Our go-to’s are roasted chickpeas, spaghetti squash and baked sweet potatoes.
Pro tip: see which veggies are in season every month to buy them at their tastiest and least expensive
5. Make a big batch that’ll last all week long
Big pots of chili, soup, or curry that can just be popped into the microwave/on the stove without additional prep can really help out on busy weeknights, especially on days you’re out late or too tired to make something. If you’d rather partial-prep, it’s great to pre-cook rice, pasta, or beans that usually have a longer cook time so they’re ready to assemble into main or side dishes. These are also foods that store well and don't lose their taste and texture easily!
6. Chop up fresh ingredients
Just like pre-cooking your meat or vegetable, pre-chopping the ingredients you’ll need for the week is a big time-saver. Slicing and dicing carrots, onions, and bell peppers ahead of time means time saved when adding it to your soups, casseroles, and other dishes.
7. Snack prep!
People usually think of lunches and dinners when it comes to prep, but don’t leave snacks behind! Healthy snacks help keep you satisfied between meals and help you steer clear of an impulse snack or the vending machine. Some of our go-to’s are hard boiled eggs, trail mix, veggie and dip, chopped fruits, energy bars, and even individually bagged fruits and vegetables for smoothies.
Pro-Tip: rather than opt for one food item for your snack, make a mixed bento box! It’s a great way to make your snacks a bit more exciting and a fit in a good combination of protein, fat, carbs, and fiber.
Summing it all up!
Hopefully these easy and healthy ideas helped you feel motivated to take on prep in the week ahead. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, here are some steps you can take:
- Make a plan: Start by trying to plan out your meals for two days first and see how it goes from there. Give yourself 15 minutes to pick out the recipe or two you’ll make so you don’t go down an overwhelming recipe rabbit hole. Want to plan the whole week? Use Wishroute's Guide To Planning a Week of Healthy Meals visual below as a starting point!
- Find some accountability: If you’re craving some more help, check out our accountability resouces to see how they can give yourself an extra push in the right direction!
- Start your FREE Wishroute trial: Want some help in getting your prep game going? Click the “start FREE trial button” and see how Wishroute can help you build sustainable habit changes, one step at a time!