Before we dive too deeply into the how of eating to reach your goals, specifically through meal prep, I wanted to touch on the why.
I started meal prepping when I got serious about my health and fitness. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy cooking, but some (most) nights, I was choosing fast food because I’d come from work too tired to make a meal and then take care of the cleanup that must ensue as a result.
I was having so much fun learning how to cook all the new vegan meals I had found and experimenting with new flavors and ingredients, but I just felt it all to be more time consuming than I was ready for. I often would head to Taco Bell or reach for a frozen package of faux meat.
While I generally had more energy from the sudden increase in plants in my diet (read: more than the zero I was eating previously), I still found myself packing on the pounds. Those bean burritos add up, y’all.
About 15 pounds later I decided it was time to try something new. This is where meal prepping changed the game. I still had the opportunity to try new recipes and fuel myself with plants, but I wasn’t cooking every night for the entire week anymore.
This is how I stay on track now. Between meal prepping with my meal plan in mind and adding home workouts, I have a strong body that I feel confident in for the first time in my life.
Meal prepping works well for me for a few reasons:
- It saves time cooking and cleaning during the week. This was probably the biggest factor when I was looking for something new. I was tired of spending 30+ minutes every night chopping veggies, sautéing, baking, marinating, and cleaning just to go and repeat the same thing the next night. I was already coming home hungry and ready to eat any food I could get my hands on. Now it’s super easy to just throw my already-meal into the microwave or oven and then promptly devour it.
- Meal prepping (done the right way) saves you money. If done with a plan, meal prepping can save you oodles of your hard earned cash. Making meals from scratch is going to be cheaper than eating out or buying processed and already made foods.
- Meal prepping helps you stick to your goals. Instead of driving to the nearest Taco Bell, grabbing that bag of potato chips, or ordering veggie pizza, you can heat up your tempeh fajitas or salad or whatever it is you made to keep yourself on track. I don’t honestly see Taco Bell as being conducive to anybody’s goals unless their aim is to have to run to the bathroom frequently. I’m just sayin’.
You can also “snack prep” so that you’re reaching for healthy, satisfying snacks instead of overly sugared bars, energy drinks, or whatever you found in the vending machine in the break room. Think veggies and hummus, popcorn, or homemade granola instead.
- Home-cooked meals can be healthier and more satisfying than store-bought or restaurant meals. I think back to when I was in college, I probably ate out no fewer than 10 times/week. I ordered pizza for most of my other meals. That might explain why I gained the freshmen 15 for every year I was at college. Oops. None of those meals were doing my body any good. They were full of sodium and fillers and who-knows-what. Not only that, but they never kept me satisfied. Now that I meal prep, I am intentional about eating plant-heavy, fiber-full, protein-packed meals that keep me satisfied until it’s time for my next meal.
Have I convinced you to try meal prepping yet? Maybe you’re saying “enough of the why, Brittney, please tell us the how!”
I will soon! Be on the lookout for a post with allll of the juicy details of meal prepping including:
- Picking your storage containers
- Incorporating themes into your weekly meal plan to save money
- Making successful shopping trips
- Finding recipes you and your family will love