Weekly Food Prep for Beginners

As the Christmas chaos came to an end and the New Year approached, I was consumed with the feeling of needing to make some changes. But everyone experiences that this time of year, right? Gym memberships are up, fruits and vegetables are flying off the shelves, we’re all watching Tasty videos for inspiration, and everyone is pinning healthy recipes.

 

There’s just one problem – this feeling usually fades away as I get further into the New Year and I slowly slump back into old habits. Losing weight and staying healthy is hard work! REALLY HARD WORK.  In past years, I’ve dove into all of the changes I want to make at once. It’s overwhelming and demanding of my time and I’ve only been successful temporarily. This year is going to be different. I am changing my perspective.

 

Each day is a new day. Each week is a new week. Each year is a new year. Every day we wake up with an opportunity to do things differently. It’s not just the New Year that has the power to ignite change within us – a new day and a new week does, too.

 

What makes this year different, you ask? How am I going to hold true to my claims of losing weight and keeping it off by changing my perspective? I follow Super Healthy Kids on Facebook and they had a game changing post that said, ‘The secret to your success is meal prep.’

 

Huh?

 

I thought that’s what I was already doing?

 

For years I’ve planned my meals, then made a grocery list for those meals. It saves me time and money! But, wait, that’s not meal prep?! Then what exactly have I been doing and what am I missing?

 

Menu Planning > Planning meals and grocery shopping accordingly. This means you know what you’re shopping for and what you’re going to make, but haven’t done anything other than writing down what you are going to have for meals and having the ingredients stocked for the coming week.

 

Meal Prepping > Getting everything you need for your meals ready for the coming week and dividing into individual containers. This includes all prep work, such as cleaning and cutting fruit/vegetables, portioning out food, and having everything ready for every single day in the coming week so all you have to do is grab your prepped food for the day. For me, this currently pertains to breakfast and lunch.

 

I’ve cleaned and cut fruit and had it in a bowl in the refrigerator, but never actually divided it between 5 separate containers for the work week. That sounded like a lot of work. I mulled it over for a little while and came to the conclusion it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.

 

It turns out meal prepping appeals to my freakishly organized self and I love it!

 

This what my thought process for my first week:

 

  • Decided on what I was going to have for breakfast and lunch. Because this was my first time meal prepping, I decided to have the same breakfast and lunch every day this week. If I got bored of the same thing, I would come up with a different plan for the next week. Turns out, I am not bored with the same thing every day this week, so I am just going to do something different each week. That will give me a variety while staying efficient.

 

  • I decided to have oatmeal, fruit, and fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast all week.

 

  • And a vegetarian chicken salad with fruit for lunch all week.

 

 

Easy. I can do this!

 

 

  • I cut up all my fruit and divided it between 8 containers for breakfast (it’s a holiday week this week, so I only worked four days). The day I eat it, I cut up a banana and add it to the fruit I’ve already cut up for a full and tasty fruit salad!

 

  • I cut up all my veggies for my salad and divided it between 4 bags.

 

  • I squeezed enough orange juice to have a cup of it each morning.

 

  • And, I just grab a MorningStar Farms Original Chik Patty and chop it up right before I put it on my salad.

 

 

Here is a Weekly Food Prep Menu for Beginners:

 

Breakfast

1 packet of Quaker Instant Oatmeal

1 container of fresh fruit

1 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice

 

 

Lunch

Fresh fruit

Vegetarian chicken salad

 

 

 

Food Prep

Step 1: Clean and cut enough fresh fruit to fill 10 containers (5 for breakfast; 5 for lunch) of the size of your choice, keep in the refrigerator.

 

Step 2: Squeeze 5 cups of orange juice. Pour into portable containers. Keep in the refrigerator. Stir before drinking because the pulp settles.

 

Step 3: Clean and cut enough fresh vegetables to fill 5 small bags.

 

Step 4: Portion out enough lettuce for 5 huge salads.

 

Step 5: Make Homemade Easy Vegan Ranch Dressing

 

Step 6: Place Morningstar Chick Patties into 5 bags. You can cut as part of your prep or cut just before you eat your salad.

 

Step 7: Neatly organize your containers and bags in the refrigerator so they are easy to grab each morning.

 

 

 

 

I was right. It sounded time consuming, and it was. But when I think about how amazing I feel this week, the FOOD PREP WAS WORTH THE TIME!

 

Think about it like this:

 

  • I casually approached the refrigerator every single morning this week and grabbed each days food and packed it. Done. I didn’t feel anxious because I didn’t know what I was going to grab for the day. I didn’t get discouraged because I couldn’t find something to grab in the limited time I had. I didn’t tell myself I’ll skip breakfast and just grab something for lunch.

 

 

I MADE HEALTHY CHOICES THIS WEEK BECAUSE I TOOK THE TIME TO PREP MY MEALS!

 

 

 

  • I didn’t overeat this week. Previously, I would just grab a bagel for breakfast. Bagels are not filling. I would be very hungry at lunch. And, if I had been lazy and just taken the whole container of leftovers instead of dividing it between two days, I would eat the entire container because I was so hungry.

 

 

I MADE HEALTHY CHOICES THIS WEEK BECAUSE I TOOK THE TIME TO PREP MY MEALS!

 

 

  • Sure it was time consuming prepping my meals, but I got all of that time back throughout the week because everything was already done! I saved time by doing it all at once instead of wasting time trying to figure out what to pack every day. I saved money because I didn’t use grabbing something for lunch as a back-up plan. There were some days I wouldn’t eat breakfast or lunch because I didn’t pack anything and I was too lazy to run out and get something. So when I got home I was starving and binged all night!

 

 

I MADE HEALTHY CHOICES THIS WEEK BECAUSE I TOOK THE TIME TO PREP MY MEALS!

 

 

I can’t tell you how amazing I feel this week. It’s just not something I can articulate and put into words. All I can do is encourage you to try it for yourself. If you feel inspired to meal prep for this coming week, my best advice is to not overthink it. Don’t plan for super complicated and/or restrictive meals. Keep it simple and keep it easy. And, think efficiently.

 

I took before pictures this week because I am going to report my previous month’s weight loss to you at the beginning of each month. I do not feel like the way I look in the pictures in this post. I feel great, I don’t feel overweight and unhealthy. It’s mind-blowing that by just making a few changes and planning ahead makes me feel soooo good.

 

In addition to prepping my meals for this week, I’ve added 35 minutes of exercise to each day. The combination of planning ahead AND exercising has helped me drop 3.5 lbs in 4 days, just this week!

 

Here are my before pictures:

 

 

 

 

You don’t have to do exactly as I did with your food prep, you can use any kind of fruit and vegetables that you want! The idea is to make healthier choices, like eating more fruit and vegetables, by preparing your food for the week.

 

A good friend of mine is a dietitian. She said, “Weight loss is 80% in the kitchen and 20% exercise.” That is great news! We don’t have to become gym rats to lose weight! You can start losing weight by prepping your meals!

 

You’ve got this!