Ah, the sweet sound of silence as the kids head out to school. Ok well it’s not silent, but once the moaning and fighting has subsided, peace at last. The chaos of summer is over, and now it’s time to get back to our regular routines – you know, the ones that involve more than just sunscreen and snacks. Yep, it is time to get back into that healthy routine, that for me, completely went out the window the minute the holiday’s started.
The Miracle of Meal Prep
No matter what we tell ourselves our intentions are for this new school year, without prep it just isn’t going to happen. We’ve all been there – a busy workweek, countless obligations. Especially now the kids clubs are back and their social calendar is already filling. It won’t be long before we are mid flow in a work call and that growling stomach (because we skipped breakfast) leads us to grab whatever’s convenient. In my case, its usually a garage bought sandwich, which then you justify buying the supersized crisps and fizzy pop coz its somehow half the price of buying just the sandwich! And well, we are in a recession right now….
It’s the dream, but the reality often involves sad desk lunches and 9pm “snack attacks” that somehow turn into binge eating more in 5 minutes than you’ve had all day – and that’s including the supersized meal deal.
So let me talk to you about Sunday. The day you take back control of your meals and reignite your love for nutrient rich food. I know, i know. It sounds good but in reality who wants to spend their Sundays cooking and prepping food all day?
Well actually, it doesn’t actually have to take that long or be a chore. Planning your meals and prepping on a Sunday can help you not only make better food choices during the week in terms of nutrient content – but this food will give you so much more energy and therefore make you more productive. Plus and this is a big one, you can actually save money as you’ve got less food waste and not spending the best part of £10 everyday on garage food and vending machine snacks!
Picture this: Monday morning, you wake up to find a well-organised fridge filled with prepped meals, neatly stacked containers of goodness. No more frantic searches for inspiration for breakfast or needing to pick up lunch on the go, which let’s face it is usually a white bread, high calorie sandwich – lacking in any kind of nutrition. No, instead it’s all there ready for you to grab and go.
Bye-Bye, Decision Fatigue
Making choices can be exhausting, especially when it comes to food. How many hours I’ve lost just stood staring into a cupboard looking for inspiration on what to make for dinner. By planning your meals in advance, you eliminate these daily menu decisions. Your meals are already set, allowing your mind to focus on more important matters, like conquering that work to-do list or binge watching Netflix.
You can decide how far you want to go with your meal prep. It is up to you whether you choose to plan and prepare some or all your meals in advance. This could mean making your lunch the night before, cooking in batches midweek for lunches, or precooking all your food and portioning it out for the week in grab-and-go containers on a Sunday. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
One of the most important benefits of meal prepping is that it can help reduce the stress that comes with trying to eat healthier. Solving all your food decisions in advance really frees up some of your willpower and mental stress, helping you reach your goals faster and with more ease.
Have you ever noticed how dieting, especially cutting calories, can cause you to think about food all.day.long.? Not to mention, your willpower gets drained much faster and you are more likely to go off your plan when you’re tired or “not in the mood” to make healthier choices.
So here are our top 5 tips on how to get started with Meal Prep this September
Plan Your Menu:
Start by planning your meals for the week. Consider your dietary goals, preferences, and any dietary restrictions. Choose recipes that are suitable for meal prepping, such as dishes that can be easily portioned and stored.
Create a Shopping List:
Once you’ve decided on your menu, create a detailed shopping list. Ensure you have all the ingredients you need for your chosen recipes. Stick to your list to avoid impulse purchases, which can lead to food waste and overspending.
Invest in Containers:
Get a variety of high-quality, reusable containers in different sizes. These will be your meal prep essentials for storing your prepared meals and ingredients. Consider containers that are microwave and dishwasher-safe for added convenience. We like to use Igluu and have a 10% discount code for you here.
Set Aside Time:
Dedicate a specific day and time for meal prepping. Many people find Sundays to be a convenient day to prep for the upcoming week. Allocate enough time to complete your meal prep without feeling rushed or stressed.
Batch Cooking and Portioning:
Cook large batches of your chosen recipes. This will save you time and ensure you have enough meals to last throughout the week.Portion your meals into individual containers. Label them with the date to keep track of freshness.
Bonus Tip: Keep It Simple
Especially when you’re just starting, it’s okay to keep your meal prep simple. Focus on a few staple recipes that you enjoy and are easy to prepare. As you become more comfortable with meal prepping, you can gradually experiment with more complex dishes. We’ve got a great recipe download of nutritionally packed meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks! Why not treat yourself to a copy!
Remember, meal prepping is a flexible process, and it may take some time to find a routine that works best for you. The key is to start with a plan, stay organised, and gradually refine your meal prep skills as you go.
With practice, you’ll become a meal prep pro, saving time, money, and stress while enjoying nutritious and delicious meals.