When I started wanting to make a positive lifestyle change and start losing weight, meal prep was one of the things that I had to learn. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed with meal prep and really needed to search high and low for a guide on how to meal prep. There are so many great sources on the Internet that share various details, but I was still confused. I needed a SIMPLE guide and I could not find one. I had to teach myself, but now I have been meal prepping long enough to where I feel confident, have lost weight, and am sharing my knowledge with others. So today, I share with you my beginner’s guide for how to meal prep.
My #1 tip before you start any type of meal prep is to go to the store and purchase SEVERAL plastic (or glass) containers. I prefer glass because glass does not retain any stains or smells after holding certain foods, but if you’re on a tight budget then plastic will be just fine to start with.
*Disclaimer: This is what works best for me and my body, but I am not a dietician or nutritionist! 🙂
Step 1: Make a list of meals you would like to have for the next WEEK. I like to keep things simple and make lots of meals with chicken, lean beef or turkey, fish, healthy fats and vegetables. I also have a few favorite fruits that are my go-to fruits. I like to make a meal plan that has at least 1 protein, 1 or 2 veggies, and 1 carbohydrate for each meal – balanced is good! I also try and limit my carbohydrates or fruits to before 6pm, which is a trick I learned from doing the 21 Day Fix.
*Helpful hint: I have created a printable clean eating grocery list you can use to plan your meals from and save you some time trying to figure out what foods are healthy! See it here: Clean Eating Grocery List – Printable.
Step 2: After grocery shopping for the items on your list ONLY (a budget-friendly tip), head home and sit everything out on the counter. This is what is easiest for me. I sit everything on the counter and decide how I will cook my meats first. 95% of the time, I bake my meats, but we just recently got a grill so now I will start using that more also! Cook your meats according to your recipes.
Step 3: Wash all of your fruits and vegetables thoroughly, and cut up or peel any that you can. For example, I love strawberries and grapes, so I wash and cut up my strawberries and wash and pluck all of my grapes off of the vines and store them in the refrigerator.
Step 4: Prepare and cook and vegetables that you would cook in advance, such as potatoes or sweet potatoes. I also like to prep broccoli and string beans because I know they are still good within a one-week time frame.
Step 5: Cook and store any grains you can pre-cook in advance, such as brown rice or quinoa.
*I like to do all of this on ONE or TWO days of the week. If I do it only one time, I usually opt for Sunday afternoon. If I decide to meal prep two days during the week, I will usually prep on Sunday and Wednesday. The key is to pick which days work best for YOU and your schedule.*