Last year, one thing I was awful at doing was meal planning and prepping, especially in December. It got to the stage where I’d be buying what we were having for dinner on the way home from work or giving up and just going out somewhere locally because there was absolutely no planning involved. Not only is this not great for your health buying last minute food which is heavily processed or cooked in a vat of oil, it’s really not great for your bank balance either.
So I’ve embraced the new year and got down to it, I’ve pulled out of all of my healthy cookbooks and tagged ALL of the recipes that I love and made sure that either they made me surprise myself or gave me something to work towards in terms of taking myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve bought myself a book that helps me keep track of everything that I’m eating/shoving in my mouth that includes a weekly meal planner.
Here are some of the products/tips I would have for helping you to get meal prep ready:
And this is SO important but you need to carve out some time in your week to dedicate to this. Whether you need to review recipes that you’ve saved on your phone, go through anything you’ve tagged in your recipe books or just do a bit of a Google search. You need to give yourself some time to figure out what you’re going to eat throughout the week so that when you hit the shops, you’ve got everything you need. I’ve found over the past couple of weeks that I’m actually getting the cupboards to look a bit clearer by the end of the week by using up stuff rather than shoving more stuff in there!
Check out what you have already in the cupboard – I seem to have a thing for tomatoes and have managed to hoard 5 tubes of tomato puree for some reason….. So it’s good to know NOT to put that on the list! Also, it means that you can actually give the cupboards a bit of a clear out and use up stuff before it goes off.
This is a big thing to help you in task one of finding time is stuff that actually inspires you! I’ve become a bit of a book fanatic in the past 6 months – I love reading a recipe and pouring over books to find things I love and that I don’t. Some of the things below that I’d loved recently include:
The woman is a social media power house who has recently become a Adidas ambassador and generally is pretty wicked. I’ve followed her for probably just over a year and I love her approach to life and this kind of lifestyle. Her book is EPIC and doesn’t just include recipes but the main bulk is helping you choose how to train which is so vital for those that can’t afford a personal trainer but want some guidance on how best to do stuff.
This is a GREAT book BURSTING full of delicious recipes that can be tweaked upon what diet plan you’re following. There is an incredible Bombay Chicken recipe that just knocks my socks off every time I make it and is a firm favourite in our house.
I know that he has become a bit like marmite to some people and he isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but his recipes are absolutely brilliant. They are so simple but most importantly, I love that the majority of them are for either one or two people! His demographic are a lot younger and looking for something to make for themselves rather than ‘Serves 4’ which is a standard. They are also so easy and most of them can get done in 5 minutes!
- Meal Planner Diary or Tracker
Once you’ve made that plan, staying on track is SO much easier. Write that list down, figure out what you need to do all the recipes and make a shopping list. There are so many options out there on the market but I use anything from the wonderful Fox and Moon – she’s a one woman band so sometimes she’s overwhelmed with orders but her stuff is beautiful, handbag handy and non-offensive if you decide to whip it out at work or finishing up lunch with the girls.
The main thing is find something that you will use. There is no point unless you write it all down.
- Cooking time
More time. Sorry, I should have flagged this – meal prep takes time in advance but I promise makes things quicker in the long run. Sunday afternoon is my meal cooking time. This week I made a huge frittata which I’ve cut up into slices to eat with a little side salad on a daily basis. Not difficult but you just need to find that time to dedicate to it. Once it’s in, box it up and TA-DAH!
- TIME TO BASK IN THE GLORY
Honestly, you feel quite smug and epic once it’s all done. And then it’s a case of it becoming a habit. I’m sure there is a stat that tells you exactly how many weeks it takes to get you to do something enough for it to become a habit and I think it’s 4 weeks?! Whatever the stats say, the more you do it, the better and the easier it will get.