Meal Prep Your Way to Weight Loss
If your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, meal prep can help you achieve your goal. Meal prep is all about planning and organizing in advance, which is needed in order to get healthy meals on the table. Here are 5 steps to getting your healthy meal prep routine in place.
1. Stock up on containers.
Containers can make or break your meal prepping goals. Having the right storage containers can help protect the flavor and quality of the food. Look for containers that are easily stackable, or nestable especially if you have limited space in your kitchen. Also, look for BPA-free, leak proof, and microwave, dishwasher, and freezer-safe. If you’re planning to pack your meal to take to work, then you may want to invest in a few bento boxes and glass mason jars.
2. Get your kitchen equipment in order.
To ready yourself for meal prepping, check your kitchen for the most common healthy cooking equipment you’ll need. As you become a meal prep pro, you may choose to add to this starter list:
• Baking sheets: From toasting granola, baking whole grain pizza and roasting veggies, a baking sheet will serve as an all-purpose cooking vessel for many dishes.
• Sauté pan: A good sauté pan (at least 12-inches) can be used to make sauces, sear meat, cook chicken, and whip up frittatas. The straight sides and large surface area are perfect for double batches and also reduce splattering.
• Measuring cups and spoons: When following recipes, it’s important to measure the ingredients as listed in the recipe. This is especially important when following healthy recipes that provide nutrition information and serving sizes.
• Blender: You don’t need to invest in a super fancy blender. You’ll get lots of use out of any level of blender making smoothies, dips (think hummus), sauces and soups.
• A sharp knife: A good chef’s knife will become your best friend when meal prepping. From vegetables to fruit to meats to herbs, it will get a ton of use in your kitchen.
3. Plan your meal prep day.
Decide which day is best for you to prepare your recipes. Many folks with traditional Monday through Friday jobs like to meal prep on Sundays, but choose whatever day is best for you.
4. Select healthy recipes.
Choose simple, healthy recipes that provide the nutrition information and serving size so you know how many calories you’re consuming. The FoodNetwork.com site has more than a thousand recipes labelled as “healthy” with the nutrition information listed. You can also invest in a cookbook such as my latest best-selling cookbook The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook. When selecting healthy recipes, look for those that that serve between 4 to 8 people and you can easily find the ingredients listed.
5. Fill in the blanks.
When you lay out your week, you’ll probably find a few meals and snacks that aren’t accounted for. Perhaps you have a breakfast or snack or two that you didn’t prep in advance. This is when adding simple breakfast and snack food to your shopping list is important. A few easy breakfast choices include Greek yogurt topped with fruit, whole grain cereal with nonfat milk, and eggs (hard-boiled or scrambled). Snack choices to consider include fresh fruit, nuts, yogurt, and cheese sticks.