Meal preppers love to quote time-management expert Alan Lakein’s famous motto: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
But be honest: How many times have you finished work and thought, “I’m too tired to cook and there’s nothing in the fridge. I just I’ll hit the drive-thru”?
By planning and prepping, you can help prevent that from happening. And once you get the hang of it, you’ll be amazed how much time and money you might save!
10 Tips to Make Meal Prep Easier and Faster:
1. Make a meal prep plan
Make a list of your favorite healthy foods, choose simple recipes that can be made quickly or in bulk, and decide what you’ll eat for every snack and meal.
This step will get easier and faster with practice. If you’re following the 21 Day Fix or want to use its simple approach, you can download its meal planning tools here.
Pro Tip: Save your plan for a future week. Once you have a few meal prep menus in your arsenal, you can rotate them to keep things interesting.
Photo by @shiftingtowardbalance
2. Make a grocery list…and stick to it
Don’t let junk food sneak into your shopping cart. Not having it in the house means not having to use your willpower to avoid it.
Want to make an impulse purchase? If you can find a way to fit it into your eating plan for the week, go for it. Just keep these to a minimum so nothing goes to waste.
By sticking to your list and by minimizing the impulse buys, you’ll help yourself save money.
Photo by @erindanaemackie
3. Don’t forget to incorporate Shakeology in your meal plan
Especially if you feel like you’re short on fruits and veggies, this is one healthy snack taken care of!
4. Keep snacks simple
When you’re cooking everything for the week at once, it’s important to keep things simple. Save time by choosing snacks that don’t require a lot of time to put together.
Fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and pre-cut veggies with prepared hummus are great choices. Here are 55 snacks under 150 calories.
5. Batch cook
Roasting vegetables, sweet potatoes, and even chicken breasts all at once will save you time when it comes to prepping all your meals for the week.
Photo by @onehungrymami
6. Look for shortcuts
Buy pre-cut veggies and fruits, cooked lentils, or rotisserie chicken. Tuna is an an easy no-cook protein to add to salads or snacks.
Already have your oven on to roast veggies? Try this tip for cooking a dozen eggs at once from @choose_you_fitness: Preheat your oven to 325°, then put your eggs in a muffin tin and bake them for 30 minutes.
Then carefully remove them and plunge the eggs into a bowl of ice water until cool.
Prefer the standard method? Here’s our approach to perfect hard-boiled eggs.
Photo by @choose_you_fitness
7. Get on the Mason jar salad bandwagon
Mason jar salads are the darlings of Pinterest and Instagram because they’re pretty — and practical. T
You can find them at most grocery or big box stores, they’re microwave safe (just remember to remove the lid), and you can use them for so many different types of meals.
Their vertical shape makes them especially nice for storing salads. Since the dressing is at the bottom of the jar, and the greens are at the top, nothing gets soggy! Here are some simple Mason jar salad recipes to get you started.
Photo by @applewood_garden
8. Don’t forget to switch things up
It can be tempting to just eat the same meals every day, but you’ll eventually get bored. Pick at least two lunch and two dinner recipes to make.
This can be as simple as choosing different proteins for your salads each day, or eating chicken with vegetables three nights of the week, and fish or tofu with vegetables the other two.
If you batch cook your food, you can try a buffet-style meal prep so you can keep your tastebuds happy and not bored.
Photo by @meowmeix
9. Invest in quality food-storage containers
A small investment in food containers of various sizes to suit your needs will make a world of difference. It’s a good idea to choose one container type and buy several that stack and store neatly.
If you choose plastic containers, make sure they are BPA-free and that they won’t melt in the microwave or dishwasher. Sturdy Pyrex dishes with lids are also great as are Mason jars.
If you decide to go all-in on the meal prep lifestyle, you might want to think about getting an insulated bag to carry your meals everywhere you go.
Photo by @_michaela_brittany_
10. Keep your eyes (and mind) on the prize
All of this meal prep is for a purpose — to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
When clean eating is as simple as reaching into the fridge for your lunch or dinner, you’ll be less tempted to stop for fast food or order takeout.
Whether you do your meal prep for the week all ahead of time or just a few days at a time, doing so will help you stick to your meal plan.
Photo by @teresatrevinofitness