Mastering The Art Of Meal Prep – With Creativity

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Meal PrepDo you meal prep on the weekends? When you’re pressed for time during the week, it can really make a difference. They have meal prep classes where you learn how to make freezer meals or casseroles that make several servings all at once.

They even have parties now where people bring ingredients and each “team” makes several dishes and everyone trades to take home lots of meals. It’s like a holiday cookie swap but for casseroles. That’s some seriously cool stuff and you get to socialize while you’re doing it.

Most people (raising my hand here) start out with meal prep by lining up plastic containers on their counter and filling each with identical meals. They batch cook chicken breasts, ground turkey, rice, potatoes, veggies. You fill and stack them up, and they wait in the fridge to be grabbed and packed for lunch.

Those ideas are really great and can make a world of difference, especially if you’re a beginner. Simple, easy, fast. I did that for a long time and it works… but it can get boring. I personally am one of those who will often open the fridge to see the same meal that I’ve had 4 times already, and just order a pizza or eat anything to keep from choking down a repeat. I fully understand that not everyone feels this way.

If you don’t mind and it works for you, don’t mess with perfection. If you’re finding yourself bored though, try mixing it up a little. It’s still the same process to prep and cook your meats, grains, rice, and veggies so no changes needed there. The difference is in the making of the actual meals and varying what goes into each container.

I follow 5 easy steps whether making meals at home or ordering out:

  1. Pick a palm sized portion of protein (chicken, beef, eggs, tofu, greek yogurt)
  2. Add 2 fist sized portions of veggies (carrots, spinach, broccoli)
  3. Pick a flavor theme and add a sauce, spice or herb (BBQ, teriyaki, Asian, Italian)
  4. Add about a cupped handful portion of carbs (oats, quinoa, rice, wrap)
  5. Make sure there’s a serving of healthy fats (dressing, avocado, nuts)

Meal Prep IdeasI try to follow this with every meal and that ensures I get adequate protein, veggies, fats, and volume without sacrificing flavor. It takes no extra time, but a little more thought effort. If you call thinking about what you want to eat as “effort.” 😉

For example, chicken/kale/tomatoes/beans/avocado/salsa one day. Chicken/romaine/carrots/cream cheese/buffalo sauce/whole grain wrap the next. Slap the chicken in corn tortillas with BBQ sauce and grilled zucchini. Chicken with rice, steamed broccoli, and teriyaki sauce.

All of these dishes can come from the same meal prep and take no extra time to throw together, but they end up as totally different meals during the week. Your tastebuds are more likely to be happy and you’ll be more likely to stick to the plan if you’re bored with identical meals.

If you follow these guidelines each time, you’ll come pretty close to your healthy eating goals without a lot of thought and definitely without a lot of time. Every meal I ate yesterday for What I Eat Wednesday followed these guidelines and I spent almost no time in the kitchen. Life is too short to settle for chicken, broccoli and rice.

If you’re interested in working with me to get meals together fast while working towards your health goals, my Jump Start Nutrition Program or Online Coaching may be for you. Drop me an email, or come on over to Facebook and ask a question.

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