Wellness Wednesday: The Beginners Guide To Meal Prepping by Carolina Edson

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Meal Prepping can be the easiest thing you do…. or the most difficult. It really all depends on how you approach it. I enjoy meal prepping because it saves me time during the week, not to mention the savings in money and unnecessary calories. But – I will admit it was definitely intimidating at first. I was trying to follow what an already-fit person was doing, who’s life revolved around meal prepping and working out.

Photo by Tina Dawson on Unsplash

I’d love for that to be my reality but it’s not. I work a 9-5 job that I come home exhausted from. My puppies keep me busy, not to mention I’m a soon-to-be mom. But those are the qualities that make meal prepping also a necessity. One time block a week of prep work, and then I can have my food ready for me to heat up and enjoy Parks and Rec for the 20th time!

What is Meal Prepping?

Meal prepping is the idea of having meals cooked and ready to go! Think of it like take-out….but probably fresher and healthier. You can really approach it however you want. You can cook for an entire week, 3 days, breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. It’s all about what’s easiest and realistic for you and your goals (be they health or budget related- or both).

How to get started with Meal Prepping

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Start small. Really take the time to think about what you will realistically eat for the week. Chicken and broccoli everyday can work for some, but us average-Joe’s also aren’t competing to be in the Olympics. We can enjoy the foods we love and still reach our goals. We just have to plan for it.

A few things that helps me get organized and makes everything easier:

A few items that will help making cooking easier:

  • A crockpot: is a HUGE time saver
  • An Air fryer: is also a time saver, and a calorie saver
  • Baking sheets : make it easy to bake multiple items at once, not to mention the reduced clean-up needs

Tips for Success in Meal Prepping

Pick 1-2 daily meals to cook on a Sunday afternoon (or whatever day of the week your “Sunday” may be) that you know you’ll enjoy for the upcoming week. This works best if you’re a creature of habit like me, and can happily have the same breakfast and lunch everyday. You decide the meals for that week, get to cooking, and then prepare portioned out and microwave-ready meals at grab-and-go convenience.

Or you can batch prep- where you cook a ton of protein, bake a bunch of veggies, and prep alllllll the carbs. It’s like putting together your own buffet for the week, and you pick and choose from what you’ve cooked based on what you’re feeling each day. Just don’t forget to use the food scale each day to ensure you’re using the right portions!

Common Questions

meal prepping
Photo by Katie Smith on Unsplash

What Food is Good for Meal prepping?

I like sticking to the basics. Chicken, rice, potatoes, ground turkey, beef, broccoli, fajitas are just to name a few. Stay away from vegetables that hold a lot of water. They stay okay in the fridge for a day or two,  but I wouldn’t cook a week’s worth.

Is Meal Prepping Good for weightloss?

Yes! Any way you decide to apply consciousness to how you consume your food can be good for weight loss. Just knowing that you have food waiting for you at home that you know you’ll enjoy will help keep you from eating-out and/or snacking as often.

Related: How to start a fitness journey for beginners

How to keep my meal prep food fresh?

A good rule of thumb is to prepare 3-5 days worth of food. If you are going to meal prep seafood, however,  I wouldn’t cook more than 2-3 days max. For veggies I cook some up Sunday and then again on Wednesday, just to ensure the freshness and quality. And always make sure the food cools down properly before storing it in the fridge.

How to not get tired of my prepped meals?

Cook exactly what you know you’ll eat and enjoy! There is nothing worse than shopping based on someone else’s version of healthy and then not eating an of it because it wasn’t exciting to you! Make it fun for yourself! Meal prepping doesn’t have to mean the same meal everyday.

meal prepping
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

The Last Thing You Need to Know about Meal Prepping!

Take it one week one meal at a time! Don’t stress and more importantly,  don’t overbuy and end up with wasted food. Evaluate where you need improvement; Maybe you are always buying snacks at work because your lunches aren’t filling enough, or find yourself stopping for drive-thru dinners on your way home because you’re not interested in what you prepped. Take note of those sorts of trends to change your plan to be fully successful with time.

For what my two-cents is worth, I hope this beginners guide to meal prepping was helpful! I’d love to hear from you if you have any tips too!

Carolina Edson

About the Author:

Carolina is a lifestyle blogger from Southern California who loves coffee and all things Pink. She shares her journey of balancing her healthy living interests with the real world of being a foster-mom-to-be, a dog mom, a Disney fanatic, and LGBTQ community member.

Do you have a Wellness Blog or Post You’d Like to Share?

If you have any #wellnesswednesday articles you’d like me to feature contact me at honeybunnytwee@gmail.com 

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Dominik
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Dominik

I’ve actually wanted to do meal prep for a while. Have your written a specific blog about meal prep on the road? Or planning too?

Lyosha Varezhkina
Guest
Lyosha Varezhkina

very nice guide. I will definitely use this meal prep (for a dummy like me). Normally my husband cooks in the family but for next month onward he has tons of work so I need to shoulder him and lift the cooking weight. Your tips are so welcome!

sjd68
Guest
sjd68

Every month I say that I need to meal prep more often and every month I don’t do it. The schedules in my house are all over the place between my wife and I working two jobs, the kids schedules and everything else that meal prepping makes so much sense! This my be just what I needed to read to push me over the top. Plus I love chicken and that’s a pretty decent food to prep in advance based on the article. Thanks for sharing this.

Luna S
Guest
Luna S

Meal prepping can be so helpful! It is always nice not to have to worry about cooking everyday when you get home because you know that food is already done.

Robert Johnston
Guest
Robert Johnston

Thabks for this. I have always wanted our family to do this. Now we will

Sharon Wu
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Sharon Wu

i have never been much of a meal prepper because i get bored of eating the same food over and over, and like to be able to decide randomly when i want to eat something. but i can see how meal prepping can save a lot of time for people who are busy and work 9-5 jobs! when i move and settle into my new home later this month, i will give meal prepping a second try 🙂

Pool Operator Talk
Guest
Pool Operator Talk

It seems like a pain in the butt to prep all your meals ahead of time, but if you can get past that initial “I don’t wanna” you will be soooooo glad you did!

Sophie
Guest
Sophie

Meal prep is so helpful for a busy mom like mom, your post gives some detailed insights.

everdaylivinghacks
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everdaylivinghacks

What a life saver! Great way to easy meal prep!

Trish
Guest
Trish

Meal prepping looks like such a great way to save time when you’re busy. Great tips.

tcleland88
Guest
tcleland88

I love meal prepping on the weekend. I’ll usually cook a roast for Sunday dinner and use the leftovers to prep other meals such as beef and noodles or vegetable beef soup. I also love to make extras of our favorite meals and freeze one for later. It’s easy to make two meatloaves at once and freeze one.

Neil Alvin Nicerio
Guest
Neil Alvin Nicerio

I think I have to go with that diet as well as I got fat recently.

Vanessa Cast (@MomInBusiness_)
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Vanessa Cast (@MomInBusiness_)

I’ve always wanted to do this, but in the end we never do it, we cook on the go. Your post is inspiring, maybe I’ll star actually doing it 🙂 Thank you!

Lindsay Rae
Guest
Lindsay Rae

What a great post! I have a very hectic schedule and meal prepping sounds like a great way to ensure my family and I are eating healthy despite our busy lives. I am definitely going to take your tips and ideas and try out meal prepping! Thanks for sharing!

PS: I love Parks and Recreation too! Best show ever!!

arrows+attitude
Guest
arrows+attitude

Girl, you’ve convinced me! I need to start this next week!

jessmaca
Guest
jessmaca

I have begun the meal prepping journey and it is just that- a journey. I definitely agree that you should begin one step at a time, one week at a time. I meal prep twice a week. Once on Sunday, and again on Wednesday. That seems to keep things fresh, my family happy, and my schedule not so crazy. Great advice!

Snehal
Guest
Snehal

Meal prepping is something that I am learning at the moment. And thanks for your tips. I will try to follow most of them. 🙂

Livelearnbetter (@livelearnbetter)
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Livelearnbetter (@livelearnbetter)

I have been doing meal prep for almost a year and it works! We do it on Sundays and it makes the week go smooth and less stressful about what to eat. Also it helps with weight management.

You, Me and Benny
Guest
You, Me and Benny

I love meal prepping!! It’s soooo easy

Devyani Ray
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Devyani Ray

I love this guide. I meal prep too and youradvice is on point!

The Prepping Wife
Guest
The Prepping Wife

I’ve always wanted to try meal prepping like this, and this is the perfect guide to getting started! I focus the most on making small meals that don’t take long to prepare each night when my husband is at work. It is when he is home that I’ll take the time for elaborate meals. Do you ever do freezer meal prepping? Like where you put an entire meal in a Ziplock bag and freeze it so all you do is pull it out and throw it in the slow cooker, or something similar? I’ve been looking into that kind of… Read more »

Sanjota Purohit
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Sanjota Purohit

I usually make patties and store them frozen. This prepping post is a complete guide.

Samantha Flores
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Samantha Flores

Meal prepping is definitely the way to go! I used to meal prep prior to having my son. Then with all the sleepless nights and trying to get into a new normal after having a baby, I lost touch with it. Hoping to get back into it!
*Samantha- https://herjournal.blog

Marjie Mare
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Marjie Mare

Each time I say I am going to start with meal prep and I gave up. You make it sounds easy so I should try back.

Debra Roberts (Run Wyld)
Guest
Debra Roberts (Run Wyld)

I love meal prepping and often use mason jars…they make great layered salads and are perfect for portioning soups and stews!

itsasweetsweetworld
Guest
itsasweetsweetworld

I follow a Sunday-Wednesday meal prepping schedule. It’s good to have healthy food and not eat out all the time.

cheszdylan
Guest
cheszdylan

Nice tips. Many mons are strugglig with meal preparations.

TheKitchenDoc
Guest
TheKitchenDoc

As a working mom, meal planning makes my life so easy!

onehoppymomma
Guest
onehoppymomma

I love that you answered so many of my questions already. I’m going to start with one day and see how that goes.

Sophie
Guest
Sophie

Love this meal prep guide. Thank you for sharing

Hoang Vi Fessenden
Guest
Hoang Vi Fessenden

I used to meal prep all the time when on the paleo diet