For many, the quality of their food choices comes down to the time they have. For many of us, food is a second or third priority to the other activities that keep us busy throughout the day. It’s during these times that most of us make the food choices we end up regretting, and, when it happens too often, it is reflective on our waistline. The reality is that the food choices we make out of convenience, be it on-the-go from restaurants, fast food or gas stations1, are often the ones that set us back the furthest from being the healthiest version of ourselves.
In my journey of losing 95 pounds, this was without question, the most critical thing I had to learn and find a solution for. Like you are currently, I turned to the internet for advice and found a massive number of potential solutions. Some of these were more helpful than others, but the most game-changing strategy I picked up on was meal prep. By blocking my time more effectively, I was able to cook just a few hours each week and have healthy, on the go meals that kept me on track towards my fitness goals. Here are the most life-changing strategies I learned while meal prepping. Follow these meal prep hacks, and you, too, can make all of your healthy eating goals a reality.
Fire Up The Grill
It shouldn’t be a secret that protein is vital to any healthy eating plan. Low in calories and very filling, proteins are an excellent way to keep calories low without feeling like you are starving yourself.2 Fire up the grill, and don’t hold back. You can grill a variety of lean proteins like chicken and beef that will last you the week while only taking a short while to cook. Switching it up from week to week keeps your meals from getting boring and ensures you will stay on track.
Dice Your Veggies
Just like proteins, vegetables are a mandatory part of any healthy eating diet.3 Unfortunately, when we grab a quick bite on the go, these vitamin-packed superfoods are usually the first to disappear. Grab a rainbow of colors and dice away! It doesn’t take as long as you might think once you are in the zone, and having them pre-cut can make all the difference. If you are especially short on time and/or maybe you just don’t particularly like cutting onions, check out your local grocery store! The produce department of most larger grocery stores will have precut veggies that are already diced and ready to go. They can be a little more expensive, but the cost difference is largely made up, for me at least, when I consider how many veggies I throw away because I was too lazy or busy to prepare them myself. Another thing to consider is that predicted veggies will be ripe and great to eat the moment you buy them, but will also expire slightly faster as well.
Assemble In Advance
Sometimes life has a way of preventing us from our commitments no matter how dedicated we might be to them. You can’t necessarily control what life will throw at you, but by using the time you do have wisely and assembling your meals in Tupperware, you can grab and go even when time is limited. You can order Tupperware in bulk online fairly cheaply, and by having a plentiful supply around the house you stand a much higher chance of using it for your meal prep!
Keep It Fun
Bringing your loved ones or friends into the meal prep party can turn a healthy habit into a legitimately fun time. Involve the people in your life with your meal prep, and you can save time and encourage the people you care about to make the same healthy choices you are. Alternatively, you can split the work and trade-off weeks. Find a system that works for you and keeps you accountable; there’s no need for excuses!
Meal prepping can take the craziness of our lives and add a little structure to our food choices. The truth is most of us have the right intentions when we step outside our door to start the day, but, in the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important and grab what’s convenient. By meal prepping, you are setting yourself up for success and ensuring that your health goals remain in sight even when it feels like you don’t have time.