We all know cooking at home supports healthy weight loss because you’re able to control the ingredients of your meals, but are you eating real, nutritious whole foods as much as you’d like? Maybe you’re a CSA subscriber or a farmers market shopper, but are you really getting the most benefit from your fresh foods or are you letting them go uneaten, destined for the compost bin?
I’ve discovered the best possible way to have healthy and delicious meals all week long is simply by meal prepping once for the entire week. Think of it like this: cook once, eat twice.
Making a commitment to cooking at home was the most important contributor to my 40 pound weight loss. Just a few simple steps saved me time, money, and stress, all the while allowing me to stay on track with eating healthy and maintaining an ideal weight.
Let’s take a look at my simple method for meal prep to support healthy weight loss.
STEP 1: PLAN & SHOP
I begin meal planning by making a list of recipes and meals for the upcoming week. I create a list based on what I will have for breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners. I use a weekly shopping list as my guide and then I’m off to the market!
If this step alone overwhelms you, this is where my meal plans come in! I have done all the work for you! They are broken down into the recipes, shopping lists, and even meal prep ideas for each week, based on the servings you need!
STEP 2: PREPARE THE FOOD
When I get home from the store or the market I keep out the items I plan to use for my meal prep. I get out my meal plans and get to washing and cooking! Throughout the week, I typically have a protein shake for breakfast, but I find that many of my breakfast recipes are great for mid-morning snacks, and/or if I am in need of a breakfast on-the-go.
I generally prepare big batches of veggies. I start with washing the greens, then set aside to dry and move onto slicing, dicing, and dividing veggies into containers for use in cooking and salads. When a recipe calls for sautéed chicken or lean protein, I cook it in big batches in my biggest pan or crock pot. That way, I am only prepping chicken and/or lean meat once for all the recipes. I store the extra chicken in the freezer for use later.
STEP 3: PUT EVERYTHING TOGETHER TO MAKE THE RECIPES
To keep it simple, I make a large salad in advance and then add the extras when I’m ready to eat it. If I’m taking it to go, I divide it into containers or use as leftovers. For dinners, I typically make two favorite main dishes, which allows me to prepare and freeze in advance making it easy for during the week.
STEP 4: PUT IT ALL AWAY!
After all the food is prepped and the recipes are made, I put everything in containers and place it in the fridge! That way, I have delicious, fresh, whole foods for all meals during the week in minutes.
If you are still scratching your head, don’t let this discourage you! It can take time to learn and get in the swing of things. A great place to get a jumpstart is with my Weight Loss Starter Kit, which provides weekly shopping lists and quick & easy recipes, along with simple steps to prep and store for the week.