One of the most common questions I get about #MealPrep is how to get started. It can seem quite overwhelming, especially when you think about adding one more thing to your already busy life. Meal prep (regardless of what it looks like for you personally) should help you to streamline your life, not overwhelm you further. If you don’t know how to start, it means you won’t take action. Without intentional changes, you’ll just keep doing what you’ve been doing (which means no improvement or progress towards goals). While these tips would probably be helpful to anyone, I think they will be especially useful if you’re just getting started! If you need more help, click here to find out about my #MealMasteryMentorship coaching program!
1️⃣ Figure out a schedule that works for you. Is it easier for you to do everything all at once, or to break it down into smaller chunks? There’s no right or wrong. It really is just about preference and what is realistic. Preference meaning you find the way that is most enjoyable, and realistic meaning it’s actually feasible for your schedule. Some people like doing everything all at once so that it’s off their plate (ha ha see what I did there 😉) and off their mind. Others may find that doing it in small chunks is more realistic and less stressful. You can grocery shop and cook all in the same day, or you can grocery shop one day but cook another day, or even break cooking down into smaller tasks like roasting veggies while you are doing laundry, etc. If you enjoy it and can actually follow through on it, you’re more likely to maintain the habit.
2️⃣ Start small and build. Implement one new thing at a time, get that down, and then build upon it. Even if you just start with figuring out 1 meal per week, that makes a difference. There’s 3 meals per day. That’s 21 meals per week, so even just tackling breakfast means that you’ve made a 33% improvement! Remember that just like anything, the more you practice it, the easier it gets.
3️⃣ Decide on a strategy. Would it be better for you to start with something easy, or something that has more impact? Easy meaning to start with the meal that takes you the least effort so you get a small win. For example, having pre-chopped veggies in plain sight in the fridge so you reach for those as a snack over a less healthy option. Impact meaning to attack the meal that you struggle with most so that you move the dial further with your nutrition goals. For example, make sure you have lunch prepped for work so you don’t cave to take out if that’s a difficulty for you.
4️⃣ Think #MinimalistMealPrep. Don’t try to do everything from scratch. Use convenience options like pre-cut and washed veggies, frozen steamable sides, ready-to-eat proteins, etc. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just find foods you enjoy that also fit into your plan. I have a blog post on #MinimalistMealPrep which includes my go to list of convenience items. I also have a downloadable healthy grocery shopping list which may give you some ideas. You can use the link in my profile to navigate to these things.
5️⃣ Keep a running list of your favorite go-to recipes and meal ideas. Decision fatigue can be a barrier to action, so the less thinking you have to do, the better. Use Pinterest, index cards, a notebook, etc. Whatever gets the job done. I have a free downloadable meal plan template which allows you to plug in your recipes into meals for easy scheduling which you can find here. We also have a meal planning tools like a calendar, recipe box, and printable grocery shopping list available on Dashing Dish if you are a member!
1/ What’s your best tip for streamlining the meal planning and prep process?
2/ Which of these sounds the most helpful to you?
3/ What other tools or resources would you find helpful?