January is over and I’m curious: how are those New Year’s Resolutions going!? According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February. Let that sink in. That means 8 out of 10 of you reading this will not stick to your healthy resolution plans! Or maybe you’ve already thrown in the towel!!
Many resolutioners I see in my office often want to lose weight or improve their health. If you’re one of these people, last month you may have started new habits like meal prepping and going to the gym. And while you may have been very motivated cooking and trying new recipes the first few weeks of January, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re starting to get burned out as your schedule starts to pick up.
Search #MealPrep on any social media platform, and your screen will be overwhelmed with fancy tupperware, perfectly portioned meals, and unique recipes. This word (and hashtag) have become quite a buzzword online, and it’s no wonder why it can often cause anxiety and unrealistic expectations for anyone that doesn’t have time to slave over meals in the kitchen.
Working with clients one-on-one, I know the value of preparing to succeed… which often means developing a game-plan around easy-to-grab meals and snacks for when life gets busy (which is always, right!?). For this reason, meal prep can be an amazingly beneficial tactic when trying to maintain a healthy diet for your whole family!
To make things simpler, here are my top five tips to make your attempt at meal prepping anxiety-free with options that you’ll be able to do for months to come:
- Sit down, make a list, and plan. With any task in life, when you take a moment to develop a plan you often are more likely to succeed! Instead of going to the grocery store and buying what looks good, sit down and write out a sample week of eating for you and your family. This way you can determine portion sizes and what you’ll need to purchase to be successful in the kitchen. Plus, once you do this one time; you’ll never have to again!
- Cook double! There are so many ways to meal prep without cooking for 5 hours in the kitchen on every Sunday evening. Instead of cooking one meal every night for your family, pick 2-3 days throughout the week where you cook EXTRA food for you and your family to have as leftovers! This may take extra time in the moment, but I promise it will save you more time throughout the week.
- Ditch recipes, and focus on mix and match meals. Instead of focusing on creating complicated recipes with ingredients that aren’t always in your kitchen cabinets, consider what you need for a balanced plate instead. By focusing on general food groups like fibrous carbohydrate, vegetables/fruits, and lean protein… you can make any meal balanced with what you have available!
- Create one dish meals. No time? No problem. One of the most overlooked ways to create a healthy meal is actually all in one pan. Casseroles and stir frys should be a staple in your meal prep routine if you don’t have a lot of time and don’t want to clean up many dishes. My best advice? Plan ahead and use convenience foods such as pre-cut veggies, one-minute rice and rotisserie chicken.
- Make your new habits a routine. The biggest determinant to continued success is your ability to make your new routines sustainable habits. Be realistic with yourself, and know that you don’t have to sit down for weekly meal planning to be successful. Instead just focus on a stocked kitchen, new meal prep ideas, and easy options for your family that you can continue to recreate throughout the year.