In today’s society we are FOREVER on the go. We’re spending less time at home and more time out and about because of work, college, school, interests and hobbies, the list goes on..which is why, meal prepping is so important.
You might hate the idea and think eating out of a lunchbox is lame, or that people will look at you funny..but I promise you no-one genuinely cares, it’s become the norm. Eating out all the time is not only expensive, it can also lead to unhealthy food choices and weight gain or worse undereating leaving you left feeling miserable and hungry and then overindulging as a result later in the day. This isn’t a healthy lifestyle.
So whether you’ve built your own diet plan, or gone to a professional for help with macro’s and they’ve provided you with a healthy eating meal plan tailored to you, here’s my easy tips to help you get started and get you familiar with the idea of MEAL PREP SUNDAYS. Whether your goal is to try and lose weight, build lean muscle mass or just to track what you’re eating daily, it’s essential.
So here’s a list of tips:
Plan your meals.
Sit down on a Saturday/Sunday before you go about doing your weekly shop, and decide what you are going to eat that week for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Write out a shopping list and quantities.
Stock up on Tupperware’s.
All the shops have them these days, so it shouldn’t be hard to find them. I get mine in Ikea because I legit bulk buy them and they’ve never leaked on me or caused me any trouble. But I know shops like Tiger and Dealz etc. have funkier ones with slogans on them and stuff if you want some funky and fashionable looking ones.
Do the food shop.
Alongside setting aside time to plan, it is then essential that you set aside time every Saturday/Sunday to head to the supermarket and shops. Make a list of what you need from each supermarket. So for me, I get most my fruit/veg/carbs/meats etc from Aldi, and then pick up bits like Egg whites, Peanut butter and different sauces in the likes of Tesco or Dunnes.
By making the list, you’ll be sure not to forget some of the essentials, and know exactly what you need when you get there. It will also mean, you’ll be less likely to venture down the naughty isles and only fill your shopping basket with healthy things.
The more you fill your presses with healthy foods and snacks, the more likely you are to stay on track.
Cook in bulk. Less mess, more success
So once you’ve decided what you’re having for lunches and dinners this week it’s time to get prepping.
Step 1: Cook the meat, fish and sweet potatoe together. And it could not be simpler.
Grab some oven proof trays and line them with tinfoil.
Chop up the sweet potato into cubes, chips, chunks.. however you want it. Place on one tray. Add some herbs and spices for added flavour.
Grab another tray or a oven-proof dish and lay out your meat. Spray the meat with some spray light oil or drizzle some coconut oil on top to avoid it drying out. Again, spice it up.
If cooking 2 different meat sources, or a meat source and a fish, place the second into another separate tray or dish.
Turn on the oven. Place each tray and leave to cook. Usually I would give 25-30 mins for the fish, and about 30-35 minutes for the meat and sweet potatoe. Keep an eye on them though that they aren’t burning, and move the trays around if you need to.
Step 2a: Cooking your Veg
So here’s a little trick that can cook any green veg. Grab a bowl and add your green veg, fresh or frozen. Cover slightly with water and then cover the bowl with a plate/lid. Place into the microwave for 3-5 minutes dependent on quantities at high power. Drain the water and VOILA!!
You can also boil your veg if the microwave doesn’t sound too appealing. Just place the veg into a saucepan with some boiling water and leave to cook. However, take note here to undercook the veg a little, especially if you like it crunchy because later in the week when you’re reheating your meals, they will cook some more and who wants soggy veg!!
No matter what veg you go with, just cook a bunch of it together. Peppers, broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts… Whatever veg you choose.
You could also oven bake the veg if you had an extra level free. Literally same steps as above, line a tray with tinfoil, place the veg in with some spices and herbs and cook until they are done.
Step 2b: Cook your pasta or rice.
You may have opted for rice or pasta to accompany your meals, or decided that you want to boil the sweet potato rather than oven bake it.
Again, grab another saucepan, add your rice/pasta or potatoe, cover with water and leave to cook. Keep watch on the rice though, you don’t want it over cooking and sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
Step 3: Store them away.
So there is 2 ways you can do this.
a) Store each different food in their own tupperwares and take servings out throughout the week (which is what I do). You can store Mon-Weds in the fridge and then Thurs-Sat in the Freezer and take them out mid-week.
b) Divide out your portions now and label them, so that you can just grab the lunchbox and run in the mornings and not have to worry about it for the rest of the week.
Cleaaaaaaan up after yourself, and you are doneeeeeeeeee.
Snack wise then, you can prep those also into little tupperwares on a Sunday and label them too or you can get those ready every evening for the next day.
It is possible, that on Wednesday, a quick trip to the supermarket for fresh veg, salads and other stuff might be needed, but all in all, your cooking is done for the week. You don’t have to stress about your meals as they are prepped, and you can change it up every week so you don’t get bored of eating the same thing.