I'm telling you the truth about meal prep and how I am able to do it every week. It might not be what you think.
5 Untold Truths About Meal Prep and a Meal Planning Method That Makes Sense.
These are the 5 untold truths about meal prep that make me actually able to get it done every week.
What I’m about to share in this meal prep post is 5 things that make it possible for me to keep up with my weekly meal prep routine. I also have an episode on IGTV if you prefer to watch & listen instead of read.
Granted I have been doing this meal prep thing for almost 10 years now. I started in high school. Buying food and cooking it was part of my routine and this was when Instagram wasn’t around so I wasn’t documenting my process or showing the world how to do it.
To be honest, I didn’t even start using Instagram for realz until May of 2017, should have gotten on that sooner!
Anywho, I digress.
I wanted to jump on and write this post to talk about the untold truths about meal prep because I think what we see doesn’t tell the whole story . Even this post doesn’t tell every detail, I hope this post does help a few people out there who feel meal prep is unattainable because it looks and sounds complicated.
So here we go! The 5 Untold Truths About Meal Prep!
1. I cook a lot of the same foods
But isn’t variety the spice of life? Hell yea it is! But I still cook a lot of the same foods and I keep the recipes simple. Cook plain, add flavor later. I not only cook a lot of the same foods, but I cook the same way each time. I roast, I boil, I crock pot, and microwave.
Here are the foods I cook that are basically the same thing every week:
Here are the ways I cook that food that is basically the same every week:
Roast in the oven at 425: sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts and any other veggie I may have like cauliflower or mushrooms or carrots.
Stove top: to cook rice or steel cut oats if I’m going that for breakfast. I’ll cook quinoa this way too but I rarely ever cook more than 2 grains a week like this.
Crockpot or Boil: this is how my chicken gets cooked. Flavorful? Not really, quick and easy and thoughtless? You bet!
Microwave: Frozen veggies get put in a bowl and popped in the microwave.
I keep a running list of my kitchen inventory and meal plan from there. Actually, you should download my free Meal Prep Blueprint so you can see exactly how I meal prep with success every week!
2. I rely on processed food
Oooooh yeah buddy! Bring on the processed foods! Oh wait aren’t processed foods bad?
No. Are baby carrots bad? Is yogurt bad? Is chicken bad? Are nuts bad?
The whole processed foods are bad for you thing was a tactic by other food companies so you would buy their processed foods, in my opinion. Why do I think this? Because the same food elitists who think their diets are holier than thou are now coming out with food products….isn't that interesting.
So yeah, I rely on processed foods like the ones I listed above:
Pre cut lettuce in a bag
Nuts that have been roasted and salted
Boneless skinless chicken breast
Tuna & Smoked Oysters
So you may be thinking that those foods aren’t processed, but they are.
“Food processing is the transformation of cooked ingredients, by physical or chemical means into food, or of food into other forms. Food processing combines raw food ingredients to produce marketable food products that can be easily prepared and served by the consumer.”
So maybe that's not what everyone thinks the definition for processed foods is, but it is. Some think that processed foods only means the snackable food items that are made with a flour base (almond, gluten free, cassava, wheat, etc.) and have added salt and sweetness (honey, monk fruit saccharin, stevia, corn syrup etc.).
Well, I include those too. Protein bars, rice cakes, granola... I just don’t let those make up the bulk of my meals.
3. I don’t have kiddos
Can’t take this one for granted. I do not have bambinos of my own. And while I can’t wait to have a mini Monica someday, I’m going to enjoy my time now just feeding myself. The day will come where I have to listen to her sass me up about what foods she refuses to eat that week, or that day, or maybe even that specific hour, lol.
Moms and dads out there who are reading this, you are doing are great job! I hope the above 2 tips - repeat foods and include processed foods help make family dinner time a bit easier.
4. I’m not on a diet but I follow meal plans and macros
I don’t think meal plans = dieting. I also don't think counting macros is a diet. Macros are a way of just finding what your nutrition needs actually are and eating foods that you enjoy to meet them.
I think dieting is the act of restricting yourself on purpose to achieve a specific outcome (likely weight loss). Some of the most common things I hear from clients when they followed a diet in the past was that they couldn’t meal prep because...
It was too hard to keep up with the ‘Yes Foods’ vs ‘No Foods’ list
There were not enough foods to feed the family / everyone wants something different
They just gave up completely because trying to diet and cook a bunch of “allowed” foods was exhausting.
So because I am not on a diet this means I am free to eat whatever I am interested in eating. I eat for enjoyment, for fuel, for pleasure and sometimes to pass time :). But I do arm myself with a meal plan that I make for myself. I’m a dietitian so that’s some of what I do.
I have a few meal plans you can sign up for if you want to try for free! I also pick a budget and try to stick to it when I grocery shop. You can read about my Trader Joe’s budget hereand my Sprout’s budget here.
5. I don’t try to keep up with the Jones's
Or these days, the Instagrams's. If I tried to replicate every beautiful #mealprepsunday or #mealprepmonday post I came across on the ‘gram I would probably be too overwhelmed. Of course I let it inspire me, and that’s what I hope to do as well. I hope to inspire or at the very least normalize some of the foods I eat that diet culture says you shouldn’t like whole grains for example.
Food is not nutritious unless it’s eaten, plain and simple.
Meal prep is a technique that can help make eating healthy easier and why I like to share meal prep posts regularly on my blog and my Instagram feed. Meal prep can also look a variety of ways:
Packing your Bento Box the night before = meal prep.
Boiling a bunch of eggs in an instant pot for the week.
Placing portions of foods in meal prep containers.
Roasting 5 potatoes on a roasting pan or cookie sheet.
Chopping up fresh veggies and putting in a salad bowl.
And so many more!
How do you meal prep?! Let me know in the comments below!
And download my freebie meal prep guide!