What’s the most important thing you can do to insure you’re eating healthy foods?
I used to say it was cooking your own food.
Today, though, I think differently—it’s not cooking.
It’s meal prep.
Most people think of meal prep as a Sunday afternoon cooking marathon, where you grill a million chicken breasts, chop a metric ton of broccoli, and stuff it all into 42 tiny identical Tupperware containers that you then carry around with you everywhere you go, insisting to all your friends that you “really enjoy eating like this” and that you are just “embracing the process”, when really, your taste buds are slowly dying off and you’re so feeling so bored and deprived that you might face plant into a half-gallon of Chunky Monkey at any given moment.
Healthy food, obviously, doesn’t need to be that boring. And neither does meal prep.
The key to meal prep is in the name itself — being PREP-ared to eat healthy MEALS.
The degree to which you cook during meal prep is entirely up to you. And if you despise cooking, or if you simply don’t have time to spend on cooking each Sunday, you can still be prepared to eat for your goals all week long.
The key is to have some fall-back foods that you can commit to—without committing to hours in the kitchen.
Before you consider what those foods might be, really think about the time you CAN commit to meal prep:
Do you have time to chop vegetables, or do you need to buy pre-cut ones?
Do you have time to pack meals into containers in advance, or do you need to simply buy all the food and spend 5-10 minutes each day getting meals together?
Do you have time and a space to microwave a meal when you’re away from home, or do you need something you can eat entirely raw?
The meal prep formula I created below gives you the best of all of these considerations. If you can manage to chop veggies after buying them, you’ll save a few dollars in food costs. All of the foods listed below can be packed and eaten raw, but many of them would also be delicious heated in a microwave if you prefer hot meals.
You may not need to pick something every column to meet your nutritional needs.
But everyone, in every meal, should include:
Beyond those 3 things, your individual needs determine how many carbs or how much fat you need. The more active you are, the more carbs you might need, and if you’re mostly sedentary, you might not need a starchy carb source at every meal.
No serving sizes are included — because your needs are different than mine, and mine are different than Susie Marathon Runner next door to me. Read labels to determine how much of a protein you should eat, or how many nuts you should try, or whether 1 slice of bread or 2 is enough. Where most people don’t need to measure is veggies–aim for 1/2-1 cup per meal, and don’t worry about those calories.
And just like your serving size needs are unique, your food tastes are unique too.
Maybe you don’t like celery–that’s fine. Don’t eat it.
But DO find the healthy foods that you enjoy, and eat those.
Eat lots and lots of those.
Because face planting in that half-gallon of Chunky Monkey is NOT the way to your goals.
BONUS for WNYers ONLY:
I’ve created a full-length, detailed NO COOK (or low cook) MEAL PREP GUIDE just for you.
It contains detailed food lists–proteins, carbs, fats, veggies, and flavors–customized for Western New York shoppers. Find national brands and store brands so you don’t have to waste time searching the aisles for healthy foods.
And good news:
The book is a FREE download you can access TODAY.
As a bonus, I’ve also included a list of meal ideas using the foods listed in the guide. I’ve eaten every meal listed, too, so I stand behind the quality of the foods AND their deliciousness.