So I would like to start by saying I have tried meal prep so many times, and some meal planning weeks went smoothly, and others it was egg throwing at the dog. That is probably a story for a blog about meal planning for fitness show week. For me, I have been off and on with meal planning for many years. The first time I got serious about prepping my food was about 8 years ago. It was during one of my fitness competitions and I knew in order to be successful I would have to plan out my meals. So I will admit I did have a lot of help during my first meal prep. I had paid for someone to make my meals so that I could have variety and not spend a lot of time in the kitchen. What I found with this way of meal prep was that one, it was delicious, two, I tried new things and three, I did not spend a lot of my time in the kitchen. The downfall was the cost. It is not cheap to pay for your meals. I would also like to point out that I also loved this way because the person that did all of my meal prep was my sister-in-law, who was also a nutritionist and knew my food goals. She labeled all of my meals so I did not have to think about it. Now I did still have to make meals for the family, but at least they did not have to worry about eating everything I was.
Now let’s get past the easy meal prep and look at what I did after I decided to take control of my own food. The first few times I tried planning I got a lot of different foods such as sweet potatoes, salad mixes, berries, chicken, ground turkey and so on. Then I put them all in big containers and portioned them out during the week. The times I did this I got bored of the food because I did not plan better with how to prepare the foods I made differently. It took me a bit of time to cook all of this, but was cheaper than paying someone to cook for me. So what did I learn from this is that I need to plan beyond just cooking large quantities of food just to eat healthy.
The last method I have tried is similar to cooking the large amounts of food, but not plan for a full week but maybe just a few days at a time. I have started grabbing rotisserie chicken and turning this into other dishes. I of course have jumped on the instapot bandwagon and use this to create quick meals that I love. What I love about this way of preparing is I now have food for myself and my family. It is less boring for everyone. Now I will say I love eating more veggies than my family and probably add more of this to my diet. My next venture is to try meal planning with a friend so I can share healthy recipes and gain new ideas. Meal planning is great to stay on track, and it is helps on those busy days when you want to grab for the easy crap that will not fuel your body. So write down your favorite foods and then find a few ways that you can change up that food item. Last week it was turning chicken into tacos with bell pepper and onion one day, and then a curry dish the next. Are you ready to experiment with meal planning?