Do you ever see those pictures on Instagram of other peoples' meal prep table tetris and the OCD side of you throws a little party and wishes you could do it too?
But then you buy your groceries and really aren't sure where to start, and you're also kind of tired from grocery shopping, so you just put everything away in the fridge and forget about it until you get hungry and wish you had food prepped? Sound familiar?
I'll let you in on a little secret: meal prep is super simple.
You've just gotta do it.
Yup, call that tough love or whatever you want, but at its core, meal prep is just that: prepping food for quick meals.
But I know that a lot of you are thinking, "Ok Marie, I get it, but WHERE do I start?! And WHAT kinds of foods can I meal prep?!"
Fret no more, friend. This article is going to make your life a whole lot easier when it comes to meal prep. I'm going to share with you my exact tips and tricks that I follow to set myself up for success.
Meal prepping is one of the most important things you can be proactive about to ensure you don't undo all of your hard work from your workouts in the kitchen!!
Ever heard the saying "abs are made in the kitchen"?? It's so true! This is where 90% of your results are going to come from!! I kid you not. So plan to succeed and don't leave your healthy eating to chance. First of all, you need to buy the right foods. I wrote a blog post a couple weeks back on how to stay on track during the summer and attached a helpful grocery list I created to do so. First step? Print off that grocery list and go get your groceries. It can be found here. One of my best tips? Buy fresh fruit and veggies, nuts, eggs, oats and healthy dips like hummus or baba gannouj (delicious eggplant based dip).
What am I talking about? I'm talking about cutting up your fruits and vegetables so that they are ready in individual containers or ziplock baggies to be eaten on the run. I'm talking about hard boiling your eggs, pre-packaging your coconut yogurt and berries, etc.
The more convenient you make this for yourself, the easier it will be for future you when you're running to pick the kids up, or between jobs or rushing off to a meeting or a date or road trip or you get home late from work and are feeling the HANGER and need something quick. Do yourself a favour and just prep the dang food. Okay?
Here are 12 helpful tips I can give you all on how I personally meal prep: 1) Cook up 6-8 chicken breasts at the beginning of the week. Cut them up and use them on salads for lunches. (I personally oven bake mine with a bit of garlic powder, sea salt, pepper and greek seasoning).
2) Make your own dressing for the week! My current favourite is honey dijon. You can find my recipe here. 3) Make hard boiled eggs!! These little bad boys are packed with protein, minerals and provide a quick and easy healthy snack! (My pro tip? Boil water, add eggs, and cook for exactly 7 minutes. Immediately take them out of the hot water and replace with cold water. It makes the most amazing, creamy soft boiled egg ever, every time! If you like your egg yolks a bit more firm, cook for 9 minutes MAX). 4) Cut up your veggies as soon as you buy them! Put into individual zip locks or make up a big salad to keep in the fridge and take from as you need during the week! I personally buy cucumbers, celery, carrots and kohlrabi for this particular reason!! 5) Take a small baggie of nuts and seeds (like pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds, dried cranberries) with you during the day to snack on as you need! 6) Drink Shakeology as your breakfast! It takes 30 seconds to blend, is delicious, INSANELY nutritious and you can drink it on the go! If you haven't already read why you should be drinking Shakeo every single day, go here and get yourself a bag. You will be SO happy you did!! 7) Set aside an hour or two on the weekend to set up your week! This doesn't have to mean every meal is accounted for, but the more you plan it out, the easier it will be to stick to! I actually like to browse Pinterest on Sundays for 20-30 minutes to find good ideas for meals that I'd like to make the upcoming week! Plus the pretty pictures make me happy. 8) Make spinach cubes to put in your smoothies (this is one of my absolute favourite ways to get extra greens!) I put half a bag of spinach with a cup or so of water in the blender, blend it, pour into an ice cube tray and freeze!! Pop 2-3 into your daily smoothie for an extra greens kick! (I also use the Shakeology Greens Boost in my smoothies on days when I know I won’t be able to get enough veggies in!!) 9) Cook a few servings of quinoa or brown rice up so that you have a healthy carbohydrate option for quick burrito bowl lunches or a side to your protein!! 10) SWEET POTATOES!! Oven bake these as fries, cubed or just roast them (cut in half and drizzle with olive oil) for a wonderful complex carbohydrate that you can enjoy with literally anything!! 11) Wash grapes, strawberries and blueberries and put into individual containers for a quick hit of sweet on the go!! Having these delicious AND nutritious snacks ready to eat will save you SO MANY bad decisions late at night!!!!!! (ermagerrdd chocolate...) 12) Make healthy muffins at the beginning of the week so you have a quick snack to grab if you're running out the door or need an extra something with breakfast! Here is one of my personal favourite recipes, my banana maple oat muffins! So those are some of my TOP tips on how to make your life easier and SAVE time by meal prepping.
For more tips and tricks on meal prep, daily health tips and my shenanigans, follow me on Instagram (@mariebarkerwellness) and or reach out to join one of my private accountability groups where the real planning and recipe sharing goes down! Xo