Are you new to the idea of planning your meals? Are you regularly in need of some inspiration? Either way, one of the best ways to help your nutrition stay on point is to plan your meals and snacks. Your meal prep could be done at the start of the week, or even at the start of each day!
Just like you sit down to map out a work day, you can do the same with your food. This isn’t about creating anything super strict; it is simply to create a guide and put some structure in place, rather than flying, unplanned, by the seat of your pants. If you’re new to the idea, it may seem daunting at first, but it’s a lot simpler than it seems. Today, I’m giving you my step-by-step tips to meal prep.
STEP 1: Get inspired
Let’s be honest. None of us wants to get stuck eating the same thing every day. BORING! A great way to help you plan and stay motivated is to use inspiration to make small little tweaks to keep things interesting.
For meal inspiration, Instagram and Pinterest (follow me!) are great places to start. You can also dig out your favourite cookbook and have a flick through there, or talk to your friends to find out what they’re cooking. Maybe even start a WhatsApp group for some healthy competition (ahem, inspiration).
Any of these ideas will help keep your food interesting week-to-week, and even inspire you to enjoy cooking a little more. A great tip is to save the recipes you find online to an album in your camera roll. Then you’ll have a large variety of recipes to choose from when planning your meals.
STEP 2: Be flexible in you plan your meals
Given the current climate, you may plan your meals, write a grocery list and then find that the ingredients you’re looking for are out of stock. Rather than throwing in the towel, take a second to breathe. Most ingredients have alternatives you can swap out for.
For example, if there’s no chicken available, try some tofu or pork instead. Or if you’re unable to find frozen or canned veggies, why not grab some fresh ones this week?
Being flexible also allows you to change up your meals depending on what you feel like eating. You could try to plan enough meals at the start of the week, but allow for flexibility to change what you eat on which days. You may also want to add different ingredients to leftovers if you don’t want to eat the same thing twice in a row.
One thing I really like to do is prep part of a meal. For example, I’ll prepare the protein and veggies, but then decide what else I want to add to it on the day. You might want to add a grain like quinoa, some roasted sweet potatoes or even a wholegrain wrap. Having structure with space for flexibility can be really important in keeping your appetite and taste buds satisfied!
STEP 3: Don’t forget the snacks!
When we think about planning our meals, we may think about breakfast, lunch and dinner. But for many of us, snacks also play an important role in our eating routine. That’s why it’s important to include a few healthy snacks throughout the day when doing your meal planning.
Remember, just because you’ve planned a snack, doesn’t mean you need to eat it. If it gets to snack time and you find you aren’t hungry, you can always save it for the next day. Snacks help you to set yourself up for the day and keep you productive so you can continue to smash your goals!
If you’re looking for more inspiration, take a look at my list of the best work-from-home snacks, or why not read more about intermittent fasting and how it should and shouldn’t be included in your meal prep.