Meal prep for weight loss doesn’t have to be difficult or cause you any stress. Most of us know the nightly drill of “search and seek.” For example, that ritual of peering into your refrigerator and eyeballing mismatched ingredients in search of anything that could constitute a meal. Can I combine ground beef with onions and ketchup? Does chicken go with that unopened jar of tomato sauce in the pantry? What about those cans of black beans and the bag of frozen corn?
I can relate.
I can attest that this dinner time, meal prep puzzle is mentally exhausting, especially when you are trying to eat healthy and lose weight. It’s tempting to just order a pizza and call it a day.
Interestingly, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development conducted a study in 2011 which revealed that Americans “cook the least and eat the fastest” when compared to people in 34 other developed countries. It’s easy to understand why. Most Americans are stretched thin, with childcare duties and work responsibilities competing for our attention, and prepackaged snack food and frozen dinners are convenient and quick.
Increase in Pizza Delivery
Lately, the pizza delivery guy hasn’t been complaining — since Covid grounded most of us at home, pizza delivery companies like Dominoes and Papa John’s have seen a 28 percent increase in sales.
However, our bodies are definitely not happy with this arrangement. This goes way beyond weight gain and love handles; the rise of cheap, quick, fast and store bought meals is literally making us sick. I am here to tell you that there is a better way. And it’s not hard.
Unfortunately, the concept of “meal prep” has gotten a bad rap in the last few years. People hear meal prep and they think time consuming and expensive. However, taking the time to set up your kitchen for meal prep will make slow and healthful eating so much easier and more convenient. And, surprisingly, meals cooked with wholesome ingredients and fresh produce are often cheaper than pizza and frozen dinners.
1. It’s All About the Ingredients
Firstly, cooking healthful and wholesome meals at home starts with going to your local grocery store and bulking up on a few staple items that you should always have in your pantry and fridge. Having a well-stocked kitchen will make planning and preparing meals a snap. This will make your weight loss efforts significantly easier.
2. Become A Recipe Curator
Secondly, create a robust recipe catalogue full of healthy, delicious and simple dishes so you can rotate your meals and you won’t get bored.
3. Plan One Week At A Time
Thirdly, armed with your recipe catalogue, sit down for a few minutes and plan out your meals for the week. After that, check for any ingredients you may need to buy to supplement your well-stocked kitchen. Keep your weekly recipes in a place for easy access — electronically on your phone or laptop or print them out and store them in a cute recipe box on your countertop.
4. Cook Once, Eat Twice!
Having leftovers for other meals or snacks can make your whole week so much easier! For example, double up your recipes and store the extras in small containers. You won’t be sorry!
Getting into the habit of meal planning and meal prepping will help keep you on track with your weight loss goals. The pizza guy definitely won’t be happy, but your body will thank you.