When it comes to food prep, there are a couple of things that I often hear, 

“That’s too hard,” 

“I don’t have that kind of time,” 

“It’s too expensive,” 

“I can’t/hate to cook.”

The reality of food prep is it can be accomplished without too much difficulty. It just takes some planning and a few hours a week from start to finish.

The benefits you gain by getting into a weekly routine will be seen immediately because you will always have food ready. There will be no more running out of things to eat or ordering last-minute take out, or breaking the budget due to poor planning. 

When your meals are ready to go, it’s as simple as grab-and-go for lunches and dinners. Think of all the time you save getting food on the table in just 10 to 15 minutes?   

Yes, it’s true! 

If you actually calculate the time it takes you to make each meal and/or order and pick-up takeout, or eat out during a week, you will easily surpass the time it takes for meal prep. 

Plus, meal prep saves you money. That means more bang for your buck. I recommend shopping at bulk stores, which are carrying more and more organic and whole food options. An average lunch out costs around $13 and dinner around $20-plus. Eating out may seem convenient, but it quickly adds up.

Besides, food prep is much more convenient. Everything is already done and ready to go. So even if you are extremely busy, you can just take it with you or eat it right then.

Food prep also keeps you on track. Often when we are pushed for time or “hangry”, it’s easy to give in and grab something unhealthy. By having everything prepared, you will stay on a healthy path knowing exactly what goes into your body. Your savings account will grow too!

Some tips for your food prepping routine

  • Set aside one day to food prep. 
  • Sit down and come up with a menu. A menu lets you know what you have available for each meal of the week and allows you to build in nights out.
  • Once you have your menu, you can write down a shopping list. I love the app Wunderlist, a simple to-do list and task manager.  You can add, sort and categorize everything you need. Shop. Head home. Start cooking!  

Make efficient use of your kitchen

  • Cut and marinate your proteins, set aside.  
  • Cut and chop all your vegetables and roast in the oven using coconut or olive oil cooking spray.
  • While vegetables roast, you can pan grill, saute, or sear your proteins until cooked through. 
  • Portion out your meals and put uncovered into fridge to cool properly. 
  • If you’re tight on space … not able to store 20+  individual containers, simply keep the same foods in one container and assembled as needed into portions.

Keep it interesting

  • Use different sauces and marinades on proteins to add variety to your meals. There are healthy premade options available to help save time and bored taste buds. I enjoy Coconut Secret brand marinades, Green Mountain Gringo salsas and locally made  marinara and jams. Variation will keep you on track and keep things simple. 

Commit to four weeks (that’s just 4 days total) to meal prep. Your body, wallet and peace of mind will thank you. 

Follow along @alternativechefnc and @mtjfoundation for more inspiration, ideas and recipes to help you stay successful.