OK, so you've done your meal planning. Now you have to actually make it happen! I have found that prepping is a great way to keep me motivated to stick to the plan. If the food's ready to go, it becomes the easy option.
Now, I'm not saying you should become one of those people who lines up an entire week's worth of meals with military precision...if this works for you, fantastic. But for me, not so much. I don't mind some repetition, but I do like to vary it up so I don't want 7 days of the same thing. (except Shakeology. Every day. Always.) And I don't mind devoting a little time each evening to the task - in fact, I've started to enjoy it!
On the weekends, we shop and spend some time on prep to get us on the right track for the upcoming week. One thing that always involves is cooking a lot of chicken. We cook it, chop it up and use for lunches all week - Hubs favors green salads, and lately I'm a big fan of the Creamy Chicken Salad from the Fixate cookbook so I've been making big batches of that. Also works well to have on hand as a quick protein for dinners and snacks.
Other prep tasks that I do every week:
- Make a pitcher of cold brew coffee
- Make a bottle of 21 Day Fix salad dressing
- Pull out proteins to defrost
- Wash produce
If I have time, I'll do a big batch of something like Grandma's Tomato Sauce from the Fixate cookbook that I can use in meals all week.
Every evening before bed, I pull out my meal plan for the next day and take 10-15 minutes to get my lunch and snacks ready to take to work. My containers make it easy to portion and pack.
- Chop veggies/salad
- Wash/slice fruit
- Portion out leftovers
I started out doing it in the morning but I always felt rushed and frazzled. Now all I have do is blend up my Shakeology, which only takes about 5 minutes, pop the containers in my cooler bag, and head out! Mornings went from stressful to easy breezy.
As far as dinners go, I usually prep as I go or take shortcuts at the store. I keep it easy on weekdays - often we just toss meat on the grill and a pan of veggies in the oven to roast. I also always plan at least one night of leftovers. Can't beat a nuke it night when you've had a long day.
Ultimately, the most important thing is to make sure you make sure you plan ahead and shop so you've got what you need on hand to stick to it