Failure to plan is planning to fail. Behavior and lifestyle change is all about avoiding getting into situations where your willpower is challenged. Meal prep is essential for someone looking to improve their health. A bonus side effect of meal prepping is that it saves time and money!
First, you must schedule a regular grocery store trip and meal prep time. Most people like to schedule this on Sundays. Put this block of time in your calendar and make it a non-negotiable!
Second, before you leave for the store, make a list. Making sure you have all the items needed will save you the hassle of having to return to the store because you forgot to get a key ingredient. I recommend to look up 4 simple recipes for two proteins. This way you have variety, but you also are saving yourself the time of having to prep 4 different proteins, which takes the most time. For example, let's choose chicken and ground turkey. Google "healthy recipes with chicken" and "healthy recipes with ground turkey" pick two of each and print out the recipe. You now have your list for your dinners for the week.
If you are intimidated by cooking recipes or really are short on time, I recommend this approach: pick two proteins, pick two seasonings, and grab four bags of frozen vegetables you can steam in the microwave. You can bake or pan cook your proteins with one of the seasonings and quickly steam up some veggies as your side.
Don't forget healthy snacks! Always make sure to have quick, no prep needed healthy snacks on hand. Fruit, veggie sticks, hummus, nut butters, mixed nuts, and dried jerky are healthy, no prep needed snacks. If you are a breakfast person, you can make ahead egg muffins or oatmeal bites that are easy to grab and go on your way out the door in the morning.
Get a fun lunchbox. The whole point of meal prep is to bring the food with you so you are not reaching for unhealthy options during your busy days! Make sure to get freeze packs to keep your food cold and fresh if you don't have a refrigerator available to you at work. Bento Box type containers are a great way to pre-portion out your foods for each day and saves the landfills from wasteful plastic ziplock baggies.
Lastly, bring it even if you think you won't need it. Even if you are absolutely sure you are not going to be working late, or you will only be gone a couple of hours, bring a healthy snack with you everywhere you go. You never know what may delay you. Then you are left without a healthy option and eyeing the nearest drive through fast food option as your stomach grumbles in hunger.
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