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The Wellness Library

How to Meal Prep: 4 Simple Steps You Can Start Today

by | Feb 1, 2023 | Nutrition

Meal prep can be an incredible tool to save on time and support your health goals. Having meals and snacks already prepared takes a lot of guesswork out of the day and keeps you on track! However, we hear from patients all the time that meal prepping can feel overwhelming, they don’t know what they like, it takes too much time, or they find they get tired of eating the same meals over and over again.

I’m here to tell you that adding meal prep to your schedule does not have to be difficult—it can be a quick and easy way to set yourself up for success and continue making headway in your desire to eat well. Today I’m sharing my tips on how to meal prep in a way that feels easy and enjoyable!

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1: Gather inspiration

The first step is the most important, in my opinion. Is it easier to make plain rice, a sheet pan of veggies, and seasoned chicken breast? Yes, of course! Am I more likely to get so sick of rice, broccoli, and chicken breast by day two that I never want to look at it again? Absolutely!

What I’ve found to be the key to enjoying meal prepping is finding meals that you actually want to eat and find enjoyable. They don’t have to be meals with a laundry list of ingredients that you’ll never use again. You can find lots of one-pot or sheet-pan meals that are easy to make, but taste good and keep you satisfied all week long.

My favorites sources of recipe inspiration come from:

Half Baked Harvest

Pinch of Yum

Fit Foodie Finds

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2: Take stock of what you already have

Nothing drives me crazier than buying a grocery cart fulllll of ingredients to be used once and never seen again. I learned a long time ago that instead of leaning into my perfectionistic tendencies to meticulously recreate the recipe I’m following, I should find ways to use what I already have, or find meals based on the ingredients in my fridge that need to get used up.

The easiest way to do this is using the SuperCook app on my phone or laptop while I’m thinking about meals for the week. SuperCook will help you find recipes that use ingredients that you already have on hand! Win-win for cutting down on waste and finding meals that you’re excited to eat.

One of my favorite ways to use up veggies is to make an egg casserole. Simply chop and put your need-to-use veggies into a baking dish, whisk as many eggs as you’d like, and pour over the veggies. Stir it all up and add some high-quality, organic cheese (if you tolerate and enjoy dairy) and seasonings, and stick in the oven! Baking times vary on temperature and number of eggs used. Just keep an eye on it and pull it out when the center is fully cooked through!

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3: There’s an app for that

There are tons and tons of meal prepping apps on the market, some paid and many free. I’d recommend downloading a few and testing them out to see if their capabilities meet your needs. If you don’t like one, just delete it and move on! Here are two of my favorites.

While not free, PlateJoy is consistently one of the highest-rated meal prep apps on the market. When you download the app, you’ll take a short survey to find out what types of meals you enjoy and which things you don’t have a preference for. PlateJoy’s algorithm will then create a personalized meal plan just for you. Their streamlined, easy to use interface makes it a no-brainer.

Eat This Much has both free and paid versions, depending on your preferences. Find inspiration and create grocery lists all in one place to keep meal prepping fun and easy. You can start with the free version of the app to determine if you enjoy the style of meals they suggest and then move to a premium subscription for all of the extra bells and whistles.

4: Find kitchen gadgets that are actually useful for meal prep

After you’ve planned your meals, you’ve gone to the grocery store, you get home, and then you actually have to do the cooking, right? This can feel like the most difficult part of the process sometimes. You were high on energy and motivation and now you’re staring at your measuring cups wondering if you’ll ever make it through the 4 recipes you chose for this week.

Finding and investing in the right kitchen tools can make a world of difference in actually doing the work! Over the years, I’ve found the tools that make my life easier and the ones that end up collecting dust at the bottom of the drawer. This could change depending on your dietary preferences, but these are my favorite gadgets that save me time and energy in the kitchen.

This garlic press is ergonomic and dishwasher safe, saving you lots of time (and fingers!) chopping garlic into tiny little pieces.

Another favorite is my stainless steel citrus juicer. Again, easy to use and dishwasher friendly! I tend to favor stainless steel over any type of plastic kitchen tool to avoid microplastics and other chemicals that can be released, especially when working in a hot kitchen.

I’ve seen these vegetable choppers increase in popularity over the last several years. I find chopping veggies to be strangely therapeutic, but if you hate chopping this is an amazing time and energy saving tool.

Lastly, I love these glass food storage containers. They’ve got snap-on lids so your lunch won’t go flying, but they’re safe to heat your food up in as long as you take the top off. They come in multiple sizes depending on how big of a container you’re looking for!

There you have it, all of my tried and true tips on making the meal prepping process feel less overwhelming and more motivating to find meals you love that make you feel well too! What other meal prepping tips do you all have to share?

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