In this video training, I riff on this week’s topic about meal planning and advance prep of ingredients and meals for a quicker, easier, and more enjoyable way to eat healthfully. It’s a new year and hopefully you’re thinking about your how to get healthier.
This week's theme for the video is in line with the theme for the whole week, which is what I'm doing this year in 2018. Every week, I’ll have a new theme, a new topic about health and wellness to help you have a healthy, active lifestyle.
Last week, the first week of 2018, we focused on goal setting and goal getting. I thought that was the perfect topic for the first week of the new year. If you missed any of that, check it out on social media and on my website, adamdudley.me. We also do a deeper dive on that on Facebook, so if you want to go a little bit deeper on the week's topic, come and join us in Healthy Habit Heroes.
Let’s dive into this week's topic: meal planning. We’re talking about prepping your ingredients and possibly even your meals in advance. This is, personally, for me this year, an intention and a goal. I want to tap into the power of this efficient practice that you can use to make sure you eat healthy and to make cooking for yourself quicker and easier, and less painful and stressful. So it's this week's topic, which I'll be talking about this all week on social media, email, and videos, including some live videos in Healthy Habit Heroes.
Let's talk about why you might want to consider meal planning and ingredient prep as part of your healthy active lifestyle plan.
First of all, I did this myself just the other day with a big bunch of kale I got at the farmer’s market. It was awesome to reach into the fridge and pull out a fresh chopped serving of this beautiful kale and just toss it in a bowl. It was such a great feeling, like, Oh I don't have to wash this or cut it up or anything like that. It was during the week when I'm a little busier, and it's just easy and gratifying to reach in the fridge and have those ingredients ready to go. When you go in the fridge and pull out your prepared ingredients, you feel like you’re on one of those cooking shows where the cook shows up and all the ingredients are just laid out for them, or they go to the roaster and the dish has already been baked.
If you go to an office for work, you can just go in the fridge, and your meals are already packed or your ingredients are ready and you can toss them together. You know it's a beautiful thing, and it gives you confidence: “I had this healthy meal with me, maybe even some snacks too, and I'm not going to be tempted by crappy office food, or going out to eat at a bad restaurant with my coworkers.” Meal prep gives you a sense of ease and relaxation around cooking and preparing food, and that's a really healthy transition to make if, unfortunately, you currently feel that cooking is a pain, a chore, or an obstacle.
This practice can be really efficient and actually give you a more positive association with cooking and preparing meals for yourself, which is very desirable if you want to eat healthy and be healthy. You can also turn this into a bonding exercise for you and your significant other, or, if you have kids around the house, you can make this a fun activity that the family can do together once a week to get everybody’s meals together, and get all the ingredients prepped for a healthy week of eating.
So these are some of the reasons why you might want to consider meal prep. Now let's talk about the how. For any practice like this, you’ve got to have a system — perhaps a cheat sheet, and hopefully a check list.
I love check lists because it makes things dirt simple. I don't have to think about it. So when I have a practice I'm doing, I just pull out a check list, check one, check two, check three, and do the things as I do it.
I posted an article on the new Healthy Active Lifestyle blog about a dietician in Montreal. She had a great blog post on prepping veggies in advance, which could easily be translated to any other ingredient. It could even translate to meal planning. Having a system, a cheat sheet, and a check list reduces the need to think about it, and that's what you want to do, especially if cooking or preparing food for yourself is not something you enjoy.
You want to make eating well as easy and convenient as possible, and having a check list or cheat sheet can really help. (By the way, that article I just mentioned does include a cheat sheet, which I really liked.) You’ll want a check list that you can post on your fridge and use every week. This helps you because you know what you're going to prepare and when you're going to prepare it, and it makes it as easy as checking off boxes on a sheet, which is great.
Now what you're going to do is create a meal plan for the week. So let's say on Sunday you decide what you're going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if that's how you eat, or your six meals a day, or your two meals a day, or whatever it is you do. You decide in advance what you're going to eat at those meals throughout the week.
And then you're going to create a prep list, a list of all the vegetable ingredients that you have to wash and chop, and if you're a meat eater, then include the preparation of the meat and whatnot beforehand too. You're going to make that list in advance in alignment with the meal plan you've created for the week.
And then finally, you're actually going to block the time in your schedule, perhaps on Saturday or Sunday, to actually do all that prep and get all those meals ready for the week. If you want me to develop a sample meal plan, a prep list, and a little time blocking routine, let me know in the comments on this post, or on social media, or message me through my Facebook page, but honestly there's great examples all over the web.
Just do a little Google search and you're going to find some great examples of meal plans, and prep lists, and you might find one that suits you really well. So check that out, but if you don't find anything you like, drop me a line and I can create an example meal plan, prep list, and a time blocking routine. But I hope you find this useful, and here's to a healthy, active lifestyle in 2018 and beyond.
I’m a Certified Health Coach and Behavior Change I’m a Certified Health Coach and Behavior Change Specialist with a degree in Exercise and Sport Sciences and a fitness and wellness specialization from the College of Health and Human Performance at the University of Florida.