Meal prepping... the words meal and prepping put together sounds like hard work! Well, it is, but it isn't. Let me explain. While meal prepping for the week can take time out of ONE of the days of the week, it means it will leave the remaining SIX free!! See where I am going with this?? That however, is just one of the amazing reasons why you should meal prep for your upcoming week.
As a mom working a full-time job and a side hustle, the last thing on my mind is to make dinner when I get home. However, I am not a huge fan of eating out or picking up fast food for me or my family either. As a personal trainer and fitness specialist, I am very particular what goes in my body. It is what fuels us and makes us run properly. If we don't fuel our body with good nutrition, then it won't run well and we will feel terrible. I am sure you will agree that we definitely don't have time for that.
One way to treat meal planning is like our daily calendars. We mark everything in our calendars. For instance, when we having meetings, doctors appt. and family birthdays. We are so organized with dates and times, there is no fooling us on when April Fools rolls around. So let's take it step further. Let's begin meal planning when we make our grocery list.
To be honest, thinking about filling out the grocery list does not get me giddy inside. However, when I am done with it, I feel like I just won the Super Bowl. Ok...maybe that's an exaggeration, but you get it. It's a small accomplishment. It's a small step to my meal planning process. While making the list, I look through recipes and find about 3-4 dinners to make. I have at least 1-2 slow cooker recipes, for time efficiency. Write all the ingredients you need on the grocery list for those meals and done! Begin victory dance right now! Let's move along...
Once groceries are in the house and waiting to made into amazing meals, select the best day you plan on making all of them. Yes, I said ALL of them. Don't quit on me now. You got this! I chose Sundays for my meal prep day because for our family, it guarantees me meals until Thursday evening. Sunday meal prep does take most of the day, but allows our family to have healthy meals all week. Saving money by making meals instead of going to restaurants, plus healthy options my body will definitely get fueled by. I think I'm hearing the crowd roaring with happiness!! Hope you hear it too!
Ok, there is one more step. Yes, there is more, but this one is a good one, trust me! Sunday is also the day I wash ALL (there is that word again) fresh fruits and veggies that was purchased for lunches and snack time. What??? Yep! I wash all the blueberries, strawberries, peel all the oranges and slice the apples. Then... wait for it, I put them in snack bags and line them up in a plastic container in the refrigerator. I call it the "Grab and Go" concept. Grab the snack, put into such bag and then go. You see, early morning is not the time to wash, peel and slice all these things and why you ask? Because you won't do it and then those healthy snacks will never make into your or your kids lunch bag. Instead, the vending machine chips and crackers will be calling your name when you stomach starts grumbling. Oh, and all the fruit and veggies you purchased at the store? Well, they rotted and ended up in the trash and not in your belly. Your welcome...
So there you have it. The reasons why sacrificing a half day to meal planning for the week will benefit you. It gives you free time throughout the week to spend however you choose. Meal prepping also allows you to save money by preparing your meals without having to resort to eating out. Lastly, (my favorite) you are fueling your body with nutritious meals and snacks that will make you feel less groggy, in turn giving you more energy for the day.
If this idea is still scary, don't feel you have to do all this right away. Try small steps. Maybe start by making 2 meals and wash only fruits and vegetables. Then maybe in a week or two put the fruit into snack bags. This may allow you to get a 20 minute workout in before work instead of being in the kitchen preparing your snacks. Once you make up your mind that you are doing this, mark it in your calendar as if it is a weekly meeting. It will be the best meeting you go to all week! You are worth it! Happy meal planning!