*Originally written for Juice Fit*
What you eat matters. I don’t care if your goal is to lose weight, gain weight, get stronger, get faster, or simply live a healthier life—good nutrition is key.
But you’re busy, I get it. So let’s cut the excuses and make eating good easy. These 5 steps will simplify your weekly meal prep and kick your excuses out the door.
1. Plan and Make A List
There are two places you should always enter with a plan: the gym and the grocery store. Without one, you’re sure to get off track and forget why you’re there. When it comes to meal prep, it helps to plan your week of meals, taking note of ingredients that work in multiple recipes and meals that will make great leftovers.
Once your meals are planned, it’s time to make a list. Write down exactly what you need for each recipe and how much. Pro tip: Check your pantry and fridge before heading out—because you might have more ingredients than you thought. Once you arrive, only grab what’s on your list. Not only will this make prepping easy, it’ll save you money too.
2. Pack A Snack
I’m a big fan of snacks. Whether you’re running between jobs, hitting that 3:00 slump, or starving at the gym, you should always have a snack on hand. But snack time isn’t an excuse to sabotage your nutrition, so don’t be silly.
Make your own “snack packs” by tossing nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and dates into a mason jar or zip loc. Not a fan of trail mix? Take a Tupperware of carrots, peppers, and hummus or just keep protein powder in your bag. It’s really not that hard, keep good food around and you won’t be tempted to grab a Snickers.
3. Chop Chop
Obviously I want you to eat plenty of veggies. But unless you’re chomping carrots all day, you’ll need to do some chopping. Keep things simple by cutting all your veggies for the week on the same day and storing them in separate containers. This way, when you need onion for your omelet and mushrooms for your salads, you’ll be ready. Plus, you’ll only have to wash the cutting board once #worthit.
4. Bulk Up
Cooking one meal at a time isn’t your best option if you’re looking to save time and simplify. Neither is cooking one serving. Do your future-self a favor and bulk batch: AKA cook multiple servings and meals in the same sitting.
Foods to always cook extra of: rice, quinoa, roasted/sautéed vegetables, chicken, beef, and soups.
5. Fill Up Your Freezer
Since you’re smart and have a bunch of extra meals prepared, go ahead and store them in your freezer for later in the week. Not sure how to appropriately do that? Read this.
Keep freezer meals on hand for something quick on the weekends or those nights you really don’t want to cook. I promise you’ll thank yourself later.
I get it—meal prep isn’t exciting for most people. But the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Until then, use these 5 tips to cut back on time and stay on track. While you’re at it, toss a snack or two my way.