meal prep

How to Meal Prep: a handy guide for beginners

In All, Health, Lifestyle, Nutrition by Jenna MaxwellLeave a Comment

So you’ve decided you want to learn how to meal prep. Amazing! Nutrition and fitness experts will tell you that meal prepping not only gives you the opportunity to save some time during the week, but also sets you up for healthy, nutritious and consistent eating habits.

Meal prepping takes the guesswork out of keeping track of the daily task of keeping our bodies fuelled and nourished. Many people, myself included, have hectic schedules that make it really easy to lose track of time or work late to finish a project. I use meal prepping as a tool to ensure I stay aligned with my own fitness goals – and it has the added benefit of helping me save a little extra money on the side!

Admittedly, meal prepping is not a skill that comes to all of us overnight – especially if cooking hasn’t traditionally been your forte. Don’t worry if you feel like a fish out of water at first — we all do when learning a new skill. That’s why I’ve made my meal plans as easy as possible. The goal is to empower you to eat healthier by doing the prep ahead of time, so your week is seamless!

Get started with the right mindset

I used to be terrible at mean planning because I never knew what I had in the house. I’d try to  pop into the grocery store on my way home, but because I was never prepared I would overbuy things or forget ingredients. This usually ended up leaving me frustrated enough when I got home that I’d just throw in the towel and order in. Sound familiar?

I want us to dodge that bullet together! Just like anything else in my programs, mindset is everything. If you dread meal prepping, it will be awful. But if you embrace it, crank up a fun playlist and create a vibe, it won’t be that bad. Believe me — the payoff is worth it.

Set yourself up for success

I’ve tried to streamline this as much as I can for you by creating the clean eating grocery checklist. Each week you’ll review the recipes you’re going to make in advance (you can either use mine or find your own), and then pull up the Clean Eating Grocery List to ensure you have everything you need to get cooking! One of my favourite ways to keep things cheap and fresh is to buy produce that’s in season as much as possible and build meals around those ingredients. One thing to note — when buying fresh produce, keep in mind it has a shorter shelf life in your fridge. If you’re someone who tends to do one big grocery shop in advance of your week, I’d recommend sticking with the the big ticket items (dairy, meats, cheese, eggs, sweet potatoes, sundries) and fresh produce for the meals you’re going to make for the first few days, and then restock fresh produce halfway through the week (things like berries, lettuces, fresh herbs, etc) that may otherwise start to look a little sad if they’re just sitting in your Friday for 4 days plus. The second restock grocery shop should only take you about 20 minutes if you have a list and only need the fresh stuff.

It doesn’t take long to meal-prep, but you will want to spend some time thinking about how this fits into your week. I usually stick to the same day every week, so that it’s a natural part of my routine and consistently pencilled into my schedule. Sundays tend to work best for most people, because when we’re back on the grind on Monday the guesswork is taken out of your work day meals.

Meal prep tips:

  • Keep your pantry well stocked with the basics so you have what you need to create most recipes. Think spices, stocks, canned legumes and other items you like to eat on the regular.
  • Decide which recipes you’re going to make ahead of time, write down a list of what you’ll need and set aside the time to shop! If you do this on a Sunday, I highly recommend treating yourself to a nice coffee or tea on your way to the grocery store to give yourself something to look forward to when starting errands.
  • Schedule the time to do it. For me, this is typically a two hour process from start to finish.
  • Stock up on reusable containers and make sure they’re visually appealing to you. You’ll need these to stack your meals in your fridge and keep your meals organized.
  • Know where to cut corners. If you hate prepping veggies, buy them pre-cut or frozen to eliminate a step!
  • Cook food you like. I can’t stress this enough! Yes, baked chicken and steamed broccoli is super healthy. Is it always the most appetizing? Maybe not for all of us. If you prep healthy meals that you actually enjoy eating, you’re WAY less tempted to “forget” about your prepped meals at home and accidentally grab pizza when you leave the office.

Simple enough, right? Now let’s get prepping! As always, if you have any questions, reach out to me on Instagram or through email. I’m here to support you.

Leave a Comment