One of the most frequent questions I receive from my clients is how to find the time to prepare healthy meals. While eating well does require you to set some time aside, think of it as more of a requirement and not an option. For example, taking a shower or putting gas in your car takes time, but they are requirements and therefore you get it done. When it comes to healthy meal prepping, there are ways to simplify the process and make it more practical. Below I have outlined the steps I give my clients to help them prepare healthy meals.
Determine the time period you are prepping for. This will be different for every home, but most people do best by focusing on a weekly period. This can either be a full week or a workweek.
Determine how many meals you will need during this period. How many breakfasts, lunches and dinners will you need during this time? Again, this will vary from person to person. Rather than assuming you will need 7 breakfasts, lunches and dinners for a 7 day period, consider your normal habits. Do you eat at the office or school cafeteria? How often will you be eating out? Will you be eating leftovers?
A good way to determine this is to track one week. Write down all the meals you eat and note whether they are a freshly made meal, leftovers or eaten out. This will give you a clear picture of how many meals to plan for.
Choose recipes. Depending on the person, this is usually either the most fun or the most stressful part. If you find it difficult to come up with healthy meal ideas, there are many resources available to help you.
The following books and services are great resources I’ve found to be extremely helpful:
Once you’ve found healthy meals you love, be sure and create an easy system to use them again and again. I opt for a good old fashioned binder with plastic sleeves where I can add each recipe I love. If you’re more high tech than me, you might consider creating a Pinterest page or other digital collection (such as Pocket). Let me know what great ideas work for you! The important thing is that you can and will easily access it.
Create a plan. What day will you pick recipes and create a shopping list? What day will you shop? What day will you cook? For example, if you’re meal prepping for Monday through Friday, you can plan to shop for food the Friday before and cook on Sunday.
If you stick to these simple steps, you’ll find meal prepping to be much easier. While it does take a little effort and commitment, it will soon become a regular part of your routine and you’ll find it well worth the effort!