Hyper-regimented Meal Prep: Some of Us Just Can’t. (And That’s Okay)
If the thought of spending your hard-earned weekend cooking for the week and doing meal prep makes you cringe, I got you!
Let’s just face it, cooking whole and fresh takes time. Meal prep is a fantastic way to save money, eat well, and save time for you and the family, especially if you have a busy life. And there are hundreds of blogs out there that can guide you through the process. But some of us are not wired that way. (That would be me) There are a few reasons why weekly meal prep might not be realistic for some of us:
- We like to freestyle. With meal prep, we cook up all that wonderful food and then on the weeknights we don’t want it. Because we’d rather play Chopped instead.
- We get food bored. We prep the food and don’t want it on the weeknights because we made stir fry but we’re in the mood for chili. So we go out or order in while all that prepped food rots in the fridge.
- Our weekends are more important than daily on-the-spot cooking.
- We’re such freshie-freshington foodies that we always like our food freshly cooked, not stored and re-heated.
- We don’t have that huge amount of storage space in the refrigerator or freezer for a million little containers of food.
I have all of the above problems myself.
It takes creativity to make meal prepping work, despite the fact that most of the information you’ll find out there about food prep seems pretty strict and regimented.
Eeew. Now, the most important part of designing a Nutrilicious Lifestyle for diabetes prevention and weight loss is fine customization, so you can keep up your healthy eating habits long term (forever and ever!)
If you’re freestyle cook, you must keep your pantry stocked with a few more items than the average person would. These extras vary greatly because different people have different tastes. For example, I always like to have orzo, couscous, fresh ginger, moonshine jelly, shelled pistachios, Greek yogurt, blood orange juice and coconut milk on hand for my home Chopped episodes.
To get an idea of your pantry extras pick out at least 5 sauces/bases/flavor profile combinations you like, not just when you cook, but when you go out to eat. This would be things like lemon-garlic-herb; sweet & spicy; chili lime, or, if it’s easier, you can think of them in terms of regions: Mediterranean, Caribbean, West African, South Asian, etc. Then consider textural elements, that you would use, which would be things like nuts, creamy things, oils, fresh and dried fruits.
If you tend to get food bored or like your stuff fresh all the time, you can still do food prep. Most dishes use a base of some of the following: onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and peppers. You could do a few days of chopping at a time and store in the fridge. Some people like to freeze the combinations in plastic zipper bags. I hate it, not fresh enough. That way, you can decide what to cook and have some items already prepped no matter what you choose.
Another food prep trick that doesn’t compromise freshness is to cut up and put your meats in your marinade in the fridge, or in some cases you can freeze them without any consequences.
There are unlimited strategies to use when eating fresh and whole to keep them both interesting and convenient. The only sure-fire way to make a plan that works is to experiment, experiment, experiment.
LifeBliss Lisa helps women who are done with repeated weight loss journeys break free and balance healthy eating and their love of food so they can lose weight and prevent chronic lifestyle diseases without going on restrictive diets. Find out more.