When discussing nutrition, clients inevitably lead me down this road: “I would like to make more of my meals, but I just don’t have the time and energy to do a weekly food prep”. They seem to think they just aren’t motivated or they’re lazy, but in reality, they’re right. It’s a whole event. Also, it takes up a lot of tupperware.
Even though food prep is a great thing, what you can do to move in the right direction depends on where you are. Food prep is probably the last step in a progression of healthy steps, not the first thing everyone should try to do to get healthy. So here is a somewhat-customized list of ideas to start where you are right now.
Who this is for: If you find yourself stopping for fast food because you just don’t have time to cook or shop, this would be a step in the right direction.
Your Food Prep Tip: Google and Swap. Look up some healthier fast food options or ways to save calories. A Grilled chicken sandwich is better than a burger. Take the cheese or mayo off. Get smaller fries or a diet soda instead of regular. These little things add up!
Who this is for: If you find yourself stopping for fast food because you just don’t have time to cook or make a sandwich in the morning, but you DO have time to go to the store once per week.
Your Food Prep Tip: Fake food prep. Buy already prepared food that you can throw in a bag or lunchbox on your way out the door. Here are some ideas:
- Pre-portioned bags of almonds (in the lunchbox section)
- Those fancy adult lunchables made by Hillshire Farms
- Those cute little sabra pretzel and hummus cups
- Those platters of shrimp with cocktail sauce
- Grocery store california rolls
- Pre- chopped apples
- Baby Carrots in individual bags
- A whole rotisserie chicken. For this one, you will have to tear off pieces and put them in containers. Or eat an ENTIRE rotisserie chicken on your way to work.
Who this is for: If you have time to cook once or twice per week, but not package, plan, and prep entire meals.
Your Food Prep Tip: Keep it vague.
- Bake a whole bunch of unflavored chicken. Once a week, put some chicken in a dish, cover it in foil, and bake a few pounds at a time. All week, season it as you go. Throw it on salad, in wraps, put it in a little plastic ziplock and eat it with your hands. Whatev. Protein is good.
- Wash all the vegetables and fruit and cut them up. Throw it on salad, in wraps, put it in a little plastic ziplock and eat it with your hands. Whatev. Produce is good.
- Hard boil a whole carton of eggs. Throw it on salad, in wraps, put it in a little plastic ziplock and eat it with your hands. Whatev. Eggs are good.
If someone likes the event-planning aspect of food, I say more power to them. It’s awesome to have meals planned, ready, and portioned. For you Gods of Organization who execute this undertaking every week, I commend you. For the rest of us, let’s figure out where we are starting before deciding where we “should” go. A step in the right direction can be any size.