Weekend Meal Prep
One of the best tools I know of to keep me from gaining weight during the holidays, is a simple one. It’s not hard, if I do it right and it’s amazing how helpful it can be.
Weekend Meal Prep is no secret, actually. I think we all know that meal prep makes a huge difference in maintaining a weight loss. I find that it is especially true during one of the most challenging months – December!
This weekend I prepped three dishes: lemon chicken in the crock pot, roasted sweet potatoes fries and a protein filled quinoa salad with veggies.
During the winter I also like to make veggie soups. Having a nice big bowl of soup to start dinner is a great way to get extra liquid and vegetables into my daily meal without much work. It is a win win win: filling, good for me and easy.
The most important keys for meal prep:
Before I start to prep: Probably most important for me is to do the prepping when I am NOT hungry. Just after breakfast or lunch is the perfect time for me. It’s kinda like that other non negotiable – don’t grocery shop on an empty stomach.
Secondly, it’s really important that I need to love the food. (Which is why it’s so important for me not to try to prepare the meal prep when I’m hungry!)
Obviously before I can do meal prep, I have to have an idea of what I’d like to have waiting for you in the fridge or freezer. Making something “too” healthy or “too” hard is not a good idea for me. I usually fall back to something that I know I love. A soup or salad already made up, the kind that if I see it in the refrigerator, I want it.
Super healthy somethings, are a no-no. They just don’t do it for me. I was on a morning green smoothy kick for a while but found out it is too healthy for me too early. So when you’re deciding what to make, figure out something that keeps pretty well. I not only wasted all the ingredients by setting out all my smoothies ahead of time, I wasted my time. So when you’re choosing what to make, select something that looks good several days later, that you’ll actually want to eat.
Smoothies just don’t keep that well. They tend to separate or taste too watery to me.
It does need to be more on the healthy side however. I did meal prep before I lost the weight too. It wasn’t always the healthiest. And I didn’t pack my lunch. Back when the kids were little, I made 10 PB&J’s and put them in the freezer on Sunday night. It made it super easy to pack their lunches for day care or school so I would just add yogurt, veggie sticks and a drink into their paper bags before heading out the door in the morning.
If I didn’t meal prep back in those days, I’d be making bad choices all the way around.
For me, it is easier to make a bunch of one dish that can be frozen and/or refrigerated. Most things only last 4 days max in the refrigerator.
Containers are the other stumbling block for me. My container cupboard ends up like my sock drawer – lots of miss matched pieces. Periodically I have to do a purge and replace.
I start by pulling out all the containers ahead of time. Lids and bottoms. The type of container varies – sometimes I use glass jars, sometimes plastic with lids, depending on the meal and if it needs to be reheated or if it might leak. I spread the containers out on the counter ready to be filled helps me start with the end in mind.
Depending on what I have to do in the week ahead, I like to have them in containers that can be transported, so that I can bring them with me if I’m away from home at lunch time or dinner time. These days I’ve been traveling to my parent’s home quite a bit and its invaluable for me to have a healthy, easy and yummy choice available.
The fries and the chicken work for evening dinners, but I will use the salad (with maybe some tuna stirred in) as my lunches during this upcoming week.
What is your favorite dish for meal prep? Do you use just pre-cut the peppers, onions and celery for the week – or do you go all out and make full meals? I’d love to hear your ideas!