This post is a followup so If you haven’t already please review my previous blog post Let’s discuss 5 day meal prep for newbies (like me!)….Thanks! (Published on Nov 2, 2013)
A couple months before 2013 ended I started to change the way that I prepared meals due to my crazy work and school schedule. I didn’t want to use the excuse “I’m busy” as the reason why I needed to eat out throughout the week, buy a bunch of sugar from vending machines, and not have a fully packed lunch for the workday. Meal prep is very important to me because it matters how I fuel my body. I can’t expect to perform my very best throughout the week when I’m not giving my body what it needs everyday. When you look good, you feel good so it’s a ripple effect. If you feed yourself a nutritious and wholesome meal, your body will reflect that and so will the clothes you wear. So I wanted to do an updated post for people who are interested in doing meal prep for themselves but not sure how to go about doing so. I’m not a doctor or a dietician keep in mind what’s best for you and if your not sure see a doctor or dietician. Here I want to discuss my progress, why the meal prep has been working for me for almost 6 months now, and why despite all the work I put into it I’m starting to like it.
1. I prepare and plan ahead.
I know that the way that I eat has changed a lot. Therefore I’m always thinking ahead on when I’m going to grocery shop and what I want to eat for the next week during the previous week. Waiting until the last minute to cook is pointless because if I do that I increase my chances of going back to my old habits (or not eating at all which is worse). The previous week I go online and research any new recipes or substitutes for my favorite unhealthy foods that I want to try. Then I write down any ingredients that I don’t already have and decide on a day and time to go to the store. If you stay on top of and ahead of doing meal prep, you’ll always be consistent with the process.
2. I live in the grocery store (and not in a bad way).
Nobody likes to spend hours in the grocery store lord knows I can think of a million other things I could be doing. Lately I have been spending a lot of time at grocery stores. Like three grocery stores in one day quality time. Not because I have nothing else better to do. It’s to figure out what areas of the store I need to maneuver so that I can spend less time in there on days when I need to get in and get out. You have to be able to know what aisles to stay away from and what aisles to shop in frequently. For example, when I go to this grocery store called Market Street I figured out that whenever I walk in I need to make a left and go straight to the back where the fresh fish is and start there. Why? Because right next to it is the produce section. There’s nothing on that side to tempt me like huge bags of chips and cookies. When I go to Trader Joe’s, soon as I walk through the door I’m in produce where I need to be. Awesome.
3. I keep my receipts.
Why in the world do you keep receipts are you trying to get a tax write off?? No silly. I review my receipts to see how much I spend on what and what items I buy the most. Although a lot of times it’s pretty obvious what I spend my grocery money on the most. Frozen fruit and healthy snacks. The frozen fruit is for my green smoothies that I like to prepare almost daily and healthy snacks are my heaven during a busy workday and it keeps me far, far away from the vending machines. At Trader Joe’s I spend on average $2.50 per snack which lasts almost a week and really keeps my costs down considering one tiny bag of chips out of the vending machine at work is $1 or more.
4. I try new things.
I know a lot of people who are disciplined and they can eat the same things over and over for like a month straight. I am not one of those people. I would go crazy! I have to constantly switch things up in my kitchen. When I’m at the store I look for at least one or two new items to try every two weeks to keep it interesting. Because I know that I’m a really picky eater I try not to buy anything too crazy, or i’ll talk to people who have tried it first to get a description of the taste. The one thing that grinds my gears is to spend more than $5 on an item only to find out that I absolutely hate it! Good news is this has not happened to me yet because I research first and read the labels before I buy. If it sounds like I’m not going to like it then I don’t buy it unless I can sample it first. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods stores are really open to letting you sample food to see if you like it first. One time in Trader Joe’s I wanted to sample some dried fruit to see if I liked the taste and I’m so glad I did because it didn’t taste good to me at all.
5. I replace the unhealthy with the healthy.
When you get to a certain level in your lifestyle change with food, you have to advance it. For example, I am a really big fan on lunchmeat on subs and sandwiches. Lunchmeat can be really high in fat and carbs and the flavoring in them can be even higher in fat and carbs so I really wanted to find out if there was a substitute for it. I watched a few youtube videos and used google and found out about the Tofurky brand which has sandwich meat made from soy protein. I was too nervous about trying it but heard good things so I figured why not and turns out it tastes exactly the same as lunch meat! What a relief.
6. I actually like it!
Meal prep is a lot of work. I have to haul groceries up three flights of stairs then I have to cut it up, chop it up, season it, cook it, and put it all in containers and/or sandwich bags. Then I have to make a commitment to myself that I will eat everything I worked so hard to prepare. The way that the body feels at the end of the week, the energy I have throughout the day, and the migraines that stay away make it all worth it. I have really grown to like a lot of food that I thought I wouldn’t even like which makes it fun and interesting. The longer that I stick with my lifestyle the more I will start to see long term results like weight loss, and a flatter stomach. Now those are the results I can’t wait to see this summer.
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