There are thousands of exercise regimes to choose from, millions of supplements and nutritional plans and an endless stream of diet programs. They are geared towards specific goals and trends we set for ourselves, body sculpting, toning and shaping, lengthening, softening, energy, endurance and the list goes on. The one thing we all have in common is the desire to be healthy, and the unanimous approach to health is an awareness of what we eat! For most of us, the day is full before it even begins. Mornings are rushed with children, traffic, meetings and maybe even squeezing in a quick workout before time is simply gone. There is the home, the career, the travel, the extracurriculars, the responsibilities and sometimes it just doesn’t all get 100% of our attention. Add in mindful eating and it can become overwhelming. To eat with intention is to choose foods that nourish our bodies, bring awareness to our minds and if all goes well a smile to our lips. To make a meal a mindful experience and really give our bodies that sense of satiation, we must take five or ten minutes to sit, chew and enjoy our food. Who can possibly do that when most meals are eaten on the go? A meal planner can! The most difficult part of integrating weekly meal prep into your routine is realizing it is important enough to make the time.
There are 3 key stages to proper meal prep:
- A written plan for the week including recipes and a grocery list.
- Checking your pantry and shopping for the rest of your needed foods.
- Setting aside the time to prep your meals and snacks for the week.
You don’t have to do it all in one day, although you certainly can! One evening sit and write out what meals you would like to enjoy for the week. A hearty salad can be eaten three or four times. A big bowl of pesto zoodles makes a light lunch all week long. Pre-portioning nuts, seeds, granola, veggie sticks, etc. makes for instant brain food. Think overnight oats for breakfast and whip up several different flavor combos! There is no need for an entirely different meal every day. The next morning while prepping your coffee, take stock of what’s in your kitchen and write up a list of what you’ll need to prep all your meals. Somewhere during your day carve out an hour to head to the grocery store and grab the items that are still needed. Finally, choose the lightest day you have to pop on your favorite podcast and whip up a week’s worth of intentional nutrition for you and your family! It may take a bit longer the first few times, but as you figure out how to crossover ingredients from one recipe to another and select a menu that allows you to cook large portions of, quinoa for example, to be used in three different meal options, you’ll get the process smoothed out and be meal prepping like a pro!
A Few Easy Steps to Get You Started
- Choose a few snacks and meals that are raw or don’t need to be cooked, i.e. pre-bagged smoothies, to save you on prep time.
- A big pot of something goes a long way! i.e. Soups, beans, pastas
- Don’t cook temp sensitive foods 100%. i.e. Half cook veggies as they’ll finish when you reheat them.
- Keep in mind how perishable certain foods can be and eat those first.
- Always prep something to cover your trigger moments. i.e. sweets – bliss balls, fried – baked parsnip fries, creamy – avocado pudding, crunchy – grapes or carrot sticks
- Keep it simple and efficient. Have your containers ready to portion out foods and a tote to take it with you during the day i.e. The Box
Now you will have nutrition readily available to you no matter how hectic your day becomes. No longer will you have to settle for vending machines, drive-thru or the greasy take-out menu. You can mindfully eat with a little time to spare allowing your digestive system to process your food and your body a moment to enjoy it.