It’s Monday night. You’re tired from a long day of work. The last thing you feel like doing is cooking a meal, much less preparing your lunch for the next day. Eventually you decide to make a sandwich or heat up a microwave dinner for the night and just grab some fast food for lunch tomorrow. Sound familiar? This was me for months when I began working. All of the fast food and microwave meals showed on the scale and my bank account. Something had to change.
Then I started meal prepping. Every Saturday, I plan out all of my meals for the week. I’m talking breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. This gives me the opportunity to see how many calories I’ll be eating each day and where those calories were coming from (fat, protein, carbohydrates) then make adjustments as needed. I feel enabled to make smarter, healthier choices. Fitness win!
Whenever I begin to plan I always start by going through my refrigerator and cabinets and inventorying what I already have. This helps me to use foods up before they expire and frequently prevents me from buying things I already have. After planning the meals I look for coupons and make a grocery list. Financial win!
Sunday morning, I take my list and hit the gym at about 6:00 a.m. If you like an empty, quiet gym this is an awesome time to go. Immediately after finishing up at the gym I go to Kroger. Thankfully, the two are practically next door for me. If you hate the bustle of the grocery store, Sunday mornings before church are also the perfect time for grocery shopping. There’s always only about ten other customers in the store and I can quickly find everything on my list. I adore doing my grocery shopping this way because I’m still on my post-workout high and much more likely to stick to my grocery list. I tend to make better food choices and do less impulse buying if I’m still feeling great from a good workout. Financial win!
Then after church, I cook for the week. I make all my meals and then plate them into tupperware containers. I live alone so this is relatively easy for me. What may be one meal for one night for a family of five will last me most of the week. This allows me to spend relatively little on groceries. I generally average $20-$30 a week on groceries. However, this requires me to commit to eating the same meal for most of the week. If you suffer from food boredom you may want to fewer servings and mix it up. Another strategy I employ is to make a big batch of soup at the beginning of the month. I freeze it and then whenever I’m tired of my meal of the week I sub in some soup. This give me variety but doesn’t require cooking when I truly do not want to cook.
- Prep meals you can freeze and cook later
- Look for coupons to help you stick to a budget
- Search for foods that reheat well
- Dollar Tree, Big Lots, and other discount stores are the place to go for storage container
- Check for deals like the little big meal at Fresh Market A loves!
Do you have any meal prep suggestions or stories? Share in the comments below!