Meal Prepping Isn’t Just For Fitness Instagrammers, Kick Those Excuses To The Curb
Hey hey, party people. After a beauteous three week hiatus from the city buzz, I am back in New York, ready to finish off summer with a bang. This year has, without a shadow of a doubt, gone faster than any calendar year I've experienced. Is this what life is going to be like now? Flying at me like those pitching machines that appear to have fueled up on caffeine? Holy bananas, the nerve of 2018, chucking curveballs left and right. I digress.
Anyhoo. Three weeks away from my city meant working remotely, sleeping on a variety of couches and guest beds, and throwing a normal routine out the window.
While I loved every second of my short Oregon summer sneak, I am overjoyed to be back in the city, welcoming my routine with open arms. First things first, a Trader Joe's grocery run is on my list so my meal prepping life can finally get back to it.
Which brings me to my main point, meal prepping. This activity is one of my most treasured, a Sunday habit that provides the rest of my week with smooth seas. After many Instagram chats, questions, and general “oh I couldn’t do that” from incredibly capable humans, I realized how many myths circled my sacred Sunday afternoon routine.
The first thing you need to know about meal prep is that yes, it takes intentionality to be successful.
You can't just wake up one morning, go into your kitchen, and create food to last you for the week. You have to make a decision to start off on the right foot. Physically write it on your calendar. Grocery shopping, this day. Time set aside to cook, this day. For me, this works best on Sunday - hitting up Trader Joe's and then cooking my feast. I know in advance this is what works, so I don't plan things for Sunday afternoons.
You also need to know that meal prepping does not mean eating boring food over and over again.
When people think of meal prep, they think of dry chicken, brown rice, and broccoli.
On the contrary, meal prep can be delightful. It SHOULD be delightful. Some of my favorite, go-to lunches are chicken pesto pasta, and a BBQ chicken & sweet potato combination that never fails to satisfy. Make a list of foods you like. Then make a list of foods that make you feel good. Then combine the two into the food you use to fuel your life.
To address the "over and over again" portion of that little scenario, you can't go into meal prep already dreading the latter half of the week. You should be making food that you look forward to - that you can't wait to take out of the fridge and heat up. But say you do that, and you still can't bring yourself to eat the same thing for five lunches a week.
That's totally fine. Do what works for you.
One of the gals that I coached with didn't mind eating the same food, seven days a week. It didn't phase her - the woman is a machine. Me on the other hand, I can't deal with a meal for more than four days. That's my max. I've tried for more, but I just can't do it. You'll find your max too - respect that and make it work. If you can only do two days of the same thing, use similar ingredients and change your flavor profile. Chicken? Make a garlic lemon batch and a BBQ batch. Experiment with your spice rack. Throw in fresh herbs. You know, go all Iron Chef on it - this changing of flavors doesn't mean doubling your ingredients.
Still a little wary of the whole idea? Go into it with a buddy.
Sometimes life really is easier (or at least a little more comfortable) when you’ve got someone to share the journey with. Find a friend to grocery shop with, swap recipes with, or simply keep updated on how your food week has gone.
Still can't find a little inspo or a buddy to encourage you towards meal prep success? Send me a message!
Ultimately, the biggest comment I hear is "Oh, I don't know how you do that."
It takes 21 days to form a habit. It takes prioritization to see what's important and beneficial. It takes feeling positive results (both physically and mentally) to see why it's valuable. That's how I do it.
Here are a few ideas to get you started!
Yogurt, granola, fruit
Smoothies (you can find so many combos on Pinterest!)
Eggs + protein
Lunch/Dinner: (I stick to a carb + protein + veggie equation)
Chicken pesto pasta w/ zucchini
Homemade taco bowls
Mashed/baked sweet potato w/ BBQ chicken & green beans
Leafy greens w/ quinoa & protein
Taco soup (then freeze half of it for a week or two down the road)
Meal prep is good for your health, your budget, and your schedule. A few hours on a Sunday afternoon sounds inconvenient when you look at it as an overwhelming chore. But if you make the decision to do it - give it a month - then you'll quickly realize how much easier meal prepping makes your life.
GO TEAM!!! xo, Lil