Monday, April 6, 2015

Meal Prep: 5 Tips to Get You Started

Alright, now that Spring Break is over and a New Week has begun, it’s time to get serious with my goals again. I want to help you get back on track and do the same!! Time to get off the couch and make your dreams a Reality!  If one of your goals for 2015 was to eat healthier, loose weight, or be healthier, listen up you still have time!!! 
The first quarter of the year may be over BUT you still have 3 quarters more to go! Imagine what all you can conquer in that time! 
To help you get started I want to share 5 tips to get you on the road to success!! These seriously are rock star tips as far as it comes to meal prep, so pin this baby and keep it handy! Meal prep is pretty much your ticket to success… Enough of talk, now on to success!!!

Almost 2 years ago, I started on my healthy eating journey.  At this time of my life, my youngest was 2, I had moved cross country a few months prior and my life was a roller coaster, I was so busy during the day that I skipped meals and was starving my body throughout the day then I was finally able to "rest" I was snacking the night away. I was exhausted, unhappy and I was ornery!!  Please tell me this sounds familiar to someone else?!
I decided I needed to make change. I  had to take control back of my life, get my eating under control. I wanted to take better care of myself and my body. But I needed help help with the eating part. My body was so used to skipping meals that I had to change my mindset mindset to eating smaller, healthier portions throughout the day. 
Enter My Super Hero ----> The The 21 Day Fix, An amazing Beachbody Program that combines fitness, nutrition and smaller portions for Real Results... Really what it does is make life as a busy mom easier and takes the struggle out of guessing what are realistic smaller portions and healthier choices. It was life changing for me! 
I was eating healthier, feeling better, getting results, but wasting a lot of my time in the kitchen. My time was being consumed by grocery shopping, cooking, eating, cleaning up the mess, repeat. It was exhausting and my family was not happy. Enter my other superhero -----> MEAL PREP!  Once I figured out what worked for me, my schedule, and my family it made my life so much easier. I had more time to spend with my family and get things done, I saved money, had snacks and lunches on hand, and felt much more accomplished. Not to mention my family was much happier. I finally was able to set myself up each week for success, but it didn't happen overnight. It took a lot of trial and error to find what worked for ME in regards to prepping my meals, and I want to help YOU take a step in the right direction to figuring out what will work for you.
I know it can be overwhelming and your palms are probably starting to sweat just thinking about Meal Prep. Since I have experienced the process I want to take away the overwhelming parts and share a few tips to get you started off on the right foot. Instead of throwing it all at you at once. If you at least start and have a good experience, you are more likely to stick with it, which is the key, right?  So here are my top 5 tips to get you started.
  1. Make a plan: We have all heard the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I look at it this way…we schedule EVERYTHING in our lives and put them in our smart phones or our paper planner. We schedule doctor appointments, hair appointments, play dates, parent teacher conferences, bible study, gym time, date nights, etc…but we can’t find time to prepare ourselves and our families healthy food. When planning here are some things to think about:
    • Select a day (and schedule it) to prepare a menu.
    • Select a day (and schedule it) to go grocery shopping.
    • Select a day (and schedule it) to cook/assemble your meals/snacks.
    • How many meals/snacks are you prepping?
    • How many days will you prepare at once? (most people opt for 3-4 days at once)
  2. Create a menu: My most valuable piece of advice in regards to menu planning is the concept of “Cook once, eat twice.” Use the same ingredient in multiple meals to save you time. For example, if you are having rice for dinner on Monday night, then have leftover rice for lunch on Wednesday. My other piece of advice is to stick with recipes you are familiar with. You can clean up your family faves and make them healthy usually with just a few tweaks. If you try to use all of the recipes you have pinned on Pinterest in one week, you will never try meal prepping again. Ever. Stick to the basics and familiar recipes the first few weeks, then branch out as you get braver. 
  3. Create a grocery list: Make a grocery list based on the menu you have created and only go shopping ONCE a week on your scheduled day. If I go more then once a week, it is to pick up fresh produce. I promise you will save money if you only go to the store once a week and only get what is on your list. (Come on, we've all gone to Costco to pick up a bag of chicken and came home with a cart full, Not cool.)
  4. Don’t bite off more than you can chew: Avoid feeling like you have to prepare every single meal of every single day for every single member of your family for a whole week. Start small. Prep a few days rather the entire week or Look at where you feel like you personally struggle the most during the day? Is it breakfast while you are trying to get everyone out the door on time?  Lunch?  Is it in the afternoon when you crash and want to dive into anything you can get your hands on?? (been there, done that)  Is it family dinners?  Dreading the "What's for dinner question? Where ever it is... Start there. Be successful and feel confident where you struggle the most, then move on from there and master the rest of your meals.
  5. Consistency: This is not a once in a while thing. Meal prepping only once will not bring you the desired results that you crave,  Just like with everything else in life if you want to be successful, you must repeat it over and over and over again until it becomes a new natural way of doing it. Create a new habit with meal prepping.
Try these tips to get you started, but promise me you’ll test them out more than once! The first time you might get frustrated and curse at me under your breath, but it does get easier. I promise! It took me a while to try many different options figure out what worked for me and my family, and now I love helping others find their meal prep groove. You’ll find it. Then you’ll be on the road to success!
For more of my tips, recipes and random and funny thoughts, follow me on Instagram! Happy Prepping!