Up until fairly recently, I had been against the whole “meal prep” thing. I always see work-out obsessed people on Instagram posting pictures of grey looking food in plastic containers with captions like “Just knocked out meal prep Monday, bro” or “PREP OR DIE. GONNA GO GUZZLE SOME WHEY POWDER.” Maybe I’m exaggerating with the second one, but I think I’m pretty close.
I thought I’d leave the meal prepping to the gym rats and just hang out on my couch watching Supernatural while downing awesome, freshly made meals. I can just hang out and not go to the gym since I’ve eaten healthy all day and it’s raining and the gym is far away and maybe I’ll workout tomorrow, right? (My daily thought process goes something like that…) Anyway. Lately, I’ve been super busy and have started to realize that okay, maybe I don’t always have time to spend an hour cooking. Between school, my two internships, and my part-time job, making homemade ravioli on a whim isn’t always the best weeknight choice.
Since I found myself throwing handfuls of raw kale in my mouth in between projects, I thought maybe I’d just have to give in and try making some meals ahead of time. Guess what? I did it and it worked out great.
First off, meal prepping makes grocery shopping a lot easier. If you know what you’ll be making ahead of time, you know what you’ll need to buy. Ever go into the grocery store super hungry, throw a ton of random stuff into your basket, and then get home and realize that you really didn’t even buy anything you could turn into a meal? Yeah, well, that happens to me every time. If you start off by making a list of things you’d like to eat over the week, shopping isn’t as stressful and you don’t end up just buying vegan cookie dough!
If you’re super busy like I always am, making a few dishes ahead of time might just be a lifesaver. Pick things that are easy to put together and reheat so that you can just grab it and go; one pot dishes work great here! I like to make chili, pho, baked tofu for salads, and overnight oats. All of those dishes keep well over the course of a week and can even be frozen, if need be (except the oats, duh). Don’t try to make avocado pesto or guacamole and save it for the whole week; it’ll morph into something super weird by day three.
Best of all, meal prepping can help you to lose weight! By making meals ahead of time, you know what you’ll be eating; so there are no slip ups. You can measure out your food and save it for those times when you’d just run out and grab a burrito that you’d later feel guilty about. Knowing that your lunch and/or dinner is already set will keep you from stressing over a diet plan.
I’ve been on a gluten-free kick lately and meal prepping has really helped me to stay on track. I don’t always make my food ahead of time, but I have been planning out my weeknight meals. Doing so helps me assure myself that I have all the ingredients I’ll need for whatever it is I’m making. And yep, it’s helping me lose weight!
If you want to save time, money, and lose weight, you’ve gotta try meal prepping!
What are your favorite dishes to make ahead of time? Do you prefer knowing what you’re going to eat every day or would you rather make it up as you go along?