Meal prep, short for meal preparation has been around for decades. Most would think of someone just preparing food to eat right away but I’m speaking of preparing meals to eat for days. Just like the frozen meals you buy in the grocery store but healthier. The fitness industry uses meal prep as tool all the time, especially those competing in bodybuilding or fitness competitions but are usually more strict about it. They usually count calories and weigh food but with my approach you’re not going to do that.
In this article, I’m going to tell you how to meal prep mindfully in a simple way for weight loss. So no more counting calories, weighing your food, and stressing yourself out over everything you eat just to lose weight. Now, I’m not saying this won’t require any work but the work you’ll being doing may become fun and/or second nature, making meal prepping way easier. Remember, it’s about forming a habit to sustain a healthy lifestyle. To meal prep mindfully for weight loss, the goal is to be aware and conscious of every step of the preparation of your meals. Let’s go through some simple steps to meal prep mindfully for weight loss.
Know Your Budget
Calculate how much money you have available to spend on groceries. Depending on how often you buy groceries, you can set a weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly budget. Once that’s figured out, start visiting the grocery store’s websites, check out their weekly sales paper and visit local farmer’s markets to see their prices. You don’t want to go to the store or fill your cart up online to be shocked at how much it cost. Eating healthy can be costly depending on where you shop. I say this so you don’t get discouraged in your weight loss journey. You can also cut your cost by growing some of your own food. Keep it simple initially, get some seeds, a self-watering planter or garden, soil, and start growing.
Know Which Foods are Good for Weight Loss?
You hear one food is good one day by one expert and another day it’s bad according another expert. Despite the disagreements among them, there are some general agreements among experts. For starters we all can agree we need carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals to keep our body healthy. Secondly, pretty much all the diets have a common denominator, which is to eat whole foods and avoid processed foods. Essentially, eat real food, it’s a great way to knock off some pounds.
Think of What You like to Eat and create Meal Ideas
Think about all the dishes and cuisines you like to eat. You want to create meals that are tasty and that you enjoy. Grab a pen and a piece of paper to jot down ideas, skim through a cookbook or use whatever technology you’re on to start saving ideas. Pinterest is an awesome place to do this, be sure to follow my board, thanks. Starting out, I often tell many of my clients to think of their favorite food they order out for and to swap out some of the ingredients for healthier options to make at home. Think about having one of your favorite meals twice a week for less money that also helps you to lose weight. It’s a win-win. One more thing, take into consideration is how long it takes to make meals, time and energy is precious when it comes to scheduling.
Cookbooks for Clean Eating Recipes:
- The 30 Minute Clean Eating Cookbook: 115 Easy, Whole Food Recipes
- The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100
- The Well Plated Cookbook: Fast, Healthy Recipes You’ll Want to Eat
Find & Know the Source of Your Food
This will be broken down into two parts. One, see what grocery stores and farmers markets you have around your home making it convenient for you to get your food. Explore their websites and weekly sales paper to see what’s available. Two, research the company or farmer that produces the food about their practices. See if they use chemicals on their crops, what their livestock are feed, and how they’re handled. Like the ole saying says “you are what you eat”. You don’t want to eat hormone-filled food that will aid in keeping weight on you or consume toxins that can throw off your body affecting your weight loss. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and visit their website.
Mark on a calendar when groceries will be bought, then pick 2 days a week for yourself to meal prep. I suggest spacing these days out by 3-4 days (Food Storage Chart). You don’t want your food sitting in the fridge too long spoiling. Find the days and times that work best for you. You could make this a family or couples activity if you’d like to make it more enjoyable and to have support. Scheduling will help you create a system for meal prepping
Cook, Portion & Store
Cook your food in batches and portion is out using your hands or portions size containers. Portion size would be as the following using your hand: Palm = 1 Serving of Protein, Fist = 1 Serving of Carbohydrate and Thumb = 1 Serving of Fat. An example would be steak or beans (vegan option) for a protein, spinach for carbohydrates, coconut oil as fat used to cook and add flavor with some herbs and/or spices. Afterward, store it in your fridge in some containers. Eat like this for a week or two and see what progress you made and adjust as needed. You may decide to do 2 servings of protein, 1 serving of carbohydrates, and ½ serving of fat instead. Experiment with portion sizes and see what your body responds to.
Tools that can help:
There you have it, simple steps to meal prep mindfully for weight loss. The only thing it will cost you is a little time and of course money because you have to buy the food. Being mindful of what it takes for your food to be prepared can really make a difference. You only get one body to live in, so why not be mindful of what you put in it.
Now, perhaps this still may be too much for you. Good thing there are meal prep companies out there that can do it for your or at least take some of the work off your hands like the following:
Be Healthy, Be Balanced, Be You