* This post was submitted by our new 6FIT Spokeswoman Kelly. I think programs like 6FIT can sometimes seem overwhelming to people because the concept of meal prepping is an unknown. While, I have totally felt that way and can understand not even wanting to try, I am now on the other side of it. Meal prep takes a few hours out of my Sunday or Monday, but makes the other 6 days of the week so easy. I make scrambled eggs most morning, and will probably grill 2-3 times a week aside from Sunday’s grill session, but those things take anywhere from 3-15 minutes, which is nothing compared to making an entire meal every night.
Meal Prep, it is probably something you have heard from anyone that has a busy schedule, but also tries to stick to a pretty healthy diet. For me, learning to meal prep was definitely a process, and it took more than a few tries to get it right. Even now there are nights when my husband or I are still hungry, and I realize that we didn’t have enough food. When that happens I usually make a note, and try to do better the next week. Today, however, I want to share five tips with you that will hopefully help you when you are meal prepping.
I meal plan and prep for my two kids, my husband, and my self. We don’t always eat the same things, lunch in particular is the most variable, and so I make a chart.
This is the only way to ensure that I will not forget something. In the past I used to wing it, and that meant I was snacking on spoonfuls of almond butter instead of eating a solid lunch, not at all healthy. In the extras, I would put things like spices or condiments that we had run out of.
2. Check for coupons & be flexible.
I don’t meal plan based on what’s on sale. I plan first and then I look at the circulars. I shop at Whole Foods, Market Basket, Target, and occasionally Trader Joes. The first two are my primary grocery stores. Is going to two grocery stores with two kids ideal? Definitely not, but it is the most cost effective for us. If my meal plan calls for asparagus for 2 nights, but broccoli is on sale, I will change my plan. If, when I get to the store, and the broccoli doesn’t look great, I will go back to my original plan. Both Target & Whole Foods have coupon apps for your phone, so you don’t need to clip coupons. Whole Foods has even had some great ones like $5 off when you purchase $20 worth of produce. They change weekly, so usually you can only use each coupon once.
3. Invest in Tupperware
I am a stay-at-home mom so I don’t necessarily need to pack each days lunch in a separate container, but I pack my husband’s lunches, so I do need a variety of sizes for Tupperware. I use small square ones for his lunches. I use the large rectangular ones for items like cut up fruit, homemade marinara with ground meat, roasted or sautéed vegetables, etc.… If you like to make the mason jar salads, invest in mason jars so that you can prep them all in one day, and not have to do it more than once a week if you don’t want too. This is something you will learn as you go, again, learning to meal prep takes some practice, and eventually it becomes natural to know what you need.
If you look at anyone’s meal prep on Instagram or Facebook, you will most likely see him or her talk about how pre-portioning food is key. For me, this is especially essential for things like smoothies and nuts. Both are items that can be healthy, but can also be unhealthy or derail your eating if you don’t have a good balance. For nuts, a serving size is usually ¼ cup, which seems small but can be very filling. If you just stick your hand into the almond bag and eat that way, it is super easy to eat more than one serving size. I like to measure out 3-4 servings and put them in a Ziploc bag or small Tupperware. That way if I am super hungry, I can grab one serving size, or if I am going to be on the road or at the playground, I can take it with me for a snack, should I need it. For smoothies, I put all my ingredients; ½ banana, frozen fruit, and spinach ice cubes, into a small Ziploc bag and put it in the freezer. When I make the smoothie I pour the almond milk in the blender, the bag of fruit, and protein powder if I am using it. Takes seconds!
5. Only one new food each week
I think what can be most stressful about meal prep is thinking that you have to make all these new-to-you foods. What has been essential to me is to only make one new thing each week. I love spaghetti squash, but it took me forever to figure out how to make it properly. Those weeks that I was trying it out, I didn’t add any thing new to my meal prep, except the squash. Two weeks ago I tried a curry sauce. I poured it on top of roasted veggies that I would have made regardless. Keeping your prep to items that you are used to means that most of the food will make it to your fridge, and you will have plenty of food to eat throughout the week!
Some suggestions for meal prep: hard-boiled eggs, roasted veggies, grilled meat (chicken, pork, shrimp, etc…), cut up large fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, chili, or lentils. Let me know in the comments if there are any other meal prep tips you’d like to know more about!
Mom of 3, wife, business owner, ballet teacher and fitness instructor. Trying hard to raise healthy, happy and grateful children while running the studio of my dreams. Trying to stay FIT, flexible, stylish and take care of myself in the process!