Friday, September 16, 2016

5 Huge Mistakes To Make If You Meal Prep

For the last five months, I have been meal prepping.  For the half of the world that may not know what this is, meal prepping is basically planning ahead and cooking ahead for a few days, a week, or a month, depending on how crazy you are about planning and organization and how much freezer/refrigerator space you have.

I have also learned the hard way that there are some things you do NOT do in the process.  Gentle reader, I would like to spare you the mess and the clean up and the "A-HA!" moments that were little unwelcome surprises for me, much like when you show up to an event "dressy casual" and it's actually pretty close to "evening formal." So here are the mistakes I made and how you can avoid being cut-off shorts in a sequin world.

1.) Mistake:  Buy 1 package of containers.
If you are prepping for a week, you will need a plastic or glass container for every meal you prep and then smaller ones for snacks PER PERSON and then larger ones for prep-day cooking leftovers that you want to freeze.  So having 4 sandwich -size containers is not going to cut it.
LOTS of containers

2.)  Mistake:  Go to the store to figure out what to make this week.
If you are doing this to be more organized and have more time and save money, you are literally shooting yourself in your proverbial foot if you do not plan your meals and snacks before you leave the house.
My fitness encourager/coach told me to PICK TWO.  This means you pick two meals to have for breakfast, two meals for lunch, two for dinner.  Alternate them during the week, she says, but I am just boring enough that I don't mind eating the same thing a few days in a row.
Make a chart with days of the week on the top and meals.snacks on the side.  If you're feeling adventurous, get input from your kids or husband or roommate.
BONUS TIP:  Check and see what's on sale at your grocery store and plan your meals around that.  Like you do not want to have an avocado-heavy week when they are two for $3.00.  That is no bueno.  Wait until they are ten for $10.00.

3.)  Mistake:  Try out new recipes that look good.
Okay, this may not seem like a mistake.  Sometimes it is not a mistake.  But I can tell you now if you make a lunch or a dinner that is GROSS, you have just wasted your effort and money.  And you have gross lunches for three days.
If you want to try a new recipe, make, like, a half recipe on a day when you have time to cook.  Let your food-prepping constituents try it out.  You really need 100% agreement on this.  Take my word.

4.)  Mistake: Lose your commitment to meal-prepping halfway through the week.
If you are meal-prepping, what is your WHY?  What is the motivating factor that makes you WANNA?  You are going to need to hang on to this when you have co-workers go out to lunch on a whim, when you are tempted to spend money going out, etc.  If your motivation is saving money, then physically put money you would have spent in a jar.  Watch how much money you are saving.  (And, of course, actually save this money.)  If your motivation is your health, have a favorite meme or saying or motivational quote to help you push through wanting a Hardee's Extra Lardburger.  If you are going to do this meal-prepping thing, do it already and don't wimp out.

5.)  Mistake:  Leave containers in the car.
Oh, thank you Jesus that I have bought plastic containers I can throw away.  More than once I have left a container in the trunk or elsewhere whose temperature reaches HOT and the resulting stench and mess is more than a person needs.

Live long and prosper.  And meal prep.