How to Meal Prep for Beginners!
The best thing about starting a healthy lifestyle is discovering healthy food! Learning how to meal prep and how it helps fuel your body reach its peak performance, is exhilarating. It’s almost like a light bulb goes off once the realization that food is fuel for the body, kicks in. We’ve all seen the pictures of the experts setting out a 7 day meal plan, but those pictures show a progress shown over time. Getting to a level of expertise in meal prepping takes time, but the best place to start is the beginning.
Just like exercising, small baby steps can be taken to ease into meal prep. Trying to wipe up a 7 day meal plan can get overwhelming fast and cause discouragement, which isn’t the goal. The best suggestions are to start with small changes and build up over time.
5 best ways to start with meal prep
- Cut out sugar and processed foods – Depending on your eating habits, cutting out one sugary drink a day with water can be a great start. Another trick is cutting back on the number of drive through/take out meals are purchased a week. Both habits contain an unhealthy amount of carbs, sugars, and salts while providing little to no daily nutrients needed. A car won’t be able to run smoothly without the needed fuel.
- Get the body moving – If going for a run is too difficult, start with a small walk around the block a couple times. Even a quick yoga, or pilates workout can do wonders for your muscles. After getting into the habit of moving daily, finding foods to fuel your working muscles will also become a habit.
- Change your shopping habits – Switch out the weekly bag of chips and cookies for a bag of grapes and sweet potatoes.
- Increase daily water intake – Drinking the daily recommended amount of water, will not only replenish the organs, it also helps with meal prepping by curbing sugar/salty cravings. Waiting to feel thirsty to drink water, is a sign of dehydration.
- Eat Breakfast- Breakfast is the most important meal of day, it helps jumpstart the metabolism and bodily systems. Not only does it help with overeating later in the day, it helps maintain lunch time hunger cravings.
Meal Prepping for Beginners
Meal Prep Tip #1
Start with planning one meal per day, or one day’s worth of meals. I started planning my breakfast and morning snacks first before I moved onto lunch and dinner. Some morning meal options are:
- Oats and flax seed oatmeal
- Overnight oats with fresh fruit
- 2 hard boil eggs and whole wheat toast
- Greek yogurt, granola and scrambled eggs
- Bowl of fresh fruit with toast and eggs
- Breakfast smoothie (be sure to use fruit, veggies and some form of flax/chia seed)
These are some suggestions to start planning a healthy breakfast. Be sure to drink a full glass beverage in the morning as well. A glass of organic milk or fresh squeezed orange juice, are my go to’s.
Meal Prep Tip #2
When preparing a meal, be sure to add a item from each of the following categories: lean protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and some carbs. Eating a combination of these will help get rid of that sluggish feeling and provide enough nourishment and fuel throughout the day.
Meal Prep Tip #3
Purchasing a set of meal prep containers is a good way to start planning. Seeing the meal prep containers out and about will add a level of encouragement and motivation to completing the task. Like all things, once it’s formed into a habit the tasks will become easier to complete over time. Obtaining the tools for success helps make the task a little less daunting and the process more enjoyable!
Meal Prep Tip #4
Be sure to add lots of protein and veggies in the meal. There are lots of different methods to increasing the daily intake of protein, and not all require chicken! My personal favorites are boiled eggs for breakfast, yogurt and granola for snacks, and some trail mix and cheese in the afternoon. I’m not big on chicken for each meal, so I try and switch it up occasional to keep things interesting. Throw some fruit and nuts in a fresh spinach salad, and it’s a lean meal your muscles will love.
Don’t give up if it takes a couple of tries to find what works best for you. One man’s meal prep might not necessarily work for another. Find what dishes are prefered by your body and taste buds, and which snacks are easy to munch on throughout the day. The key is to keep going! Keeping track of all progress with food diaries and pictures, will help show a clearer picture than what’s seen daily in a mirror.
Be sure to comment your favorite meal prep meal and snacks!
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