You guys know I love a good prep Sunday, but I don't think it needs to be an all-or-none thing. I don't think you need to go into your kitchen on Sunday and spend four hours prepping everything for the whole week. So what the heck are you supposed to do if you want to eat healthy? Basically, how to meal prep when you hate meal prep?
I think a lot of us see those photos on Instagram of all the food laid out for the week - everything is all planned and organized. I'm definitely not knocking it because if it works for you, keep doing it! But for a lot of us, I just don't think it's realistic, time- and motivation-wise. And then, I don't know about you, but I change my mind throughout the week... like, "I don't really wanna to eat that" or I'm just bored with leftovers, and they just don't taste good. Basically, there's got to be another way!
How to meal prep when you hate meal prep
I'm going to talk about some of the things that I do that work for me - and, again, it comes down to expectations. I don't think meal prep needs to be this big huge deal and take up your entire Sunday. Instead, you can prep just a few things to get yourself ready for the week and then throughout the rest of the week, cook additional items that keep you on track.
I do a meal prep Sunday of sorts, but it's small and typically takes me 20-30 minutes. At a minimum what I do is get my breakfast squared away (and I can talk about my breakfast strategy in another video), but make sure breakfast is ready to go because first thing in the morning, I just don't wanna think about it. I want it to be ready to go or something that I can throw together very, very quickly.
Tip #2 is to have some sort of protein source ready to go. Oftentimes, it's shredded chicken in the instant pot. You could also cook up some ground turkey, hard-boiled eggs, or Greek yogurt on hand. If you're vegetarian, have some beans ready to go or edamame or something like that. Even canned tuna and salmon are great sources of protein to have on hand. I also love Banza pasta, which is high-protein chickpea pasta. You're always going to want some sort of protein in your meal, so just having it in the house is huge.
Also, at a minimum, buy some frozen veggies to have in your freezer They're so easy, and you can buy organic really cheap. You can nuke them in the microwave, which takes no time at all. I like to defrost a variety of frozen veggies in the fridge, so they're even more ready to go, and it reminds me to eat them. Of course, you can roast veggies or use your air fryer, but at a minimum, have frozen veggies in the freezer ready to go!
So, that is my bare minimum Sunday meal prep: breakfast, protein sources (1-3), and frozen veggies. Of course, you can add more things, but I think that is a minimum of what you should do to get ready for the week. Even if you don't have much time, you can accomplish at least one or two of these things. It's really the basics of how to meal prep when you hate meal prep!
In addition to the small prep I do on Sunday, I'm "meal prepping" during the week as well. I pretty much always double the recipe I'm making for dinner, so we have leftovers for lunch. I'll also sometimes put them in a container and then freeze them for next week or the week after. When you just don't feel like cooking, you grab the meal out of the freezer, nuke it in the microwave, and you have something healthy to eat.
When you're cooking, think of how you can roll over what you're making into the next day's meal. Cook an extra piece of chicken or if you're just cooking a pound of ground beef make two pounds instead, so you always have some sort of protein source ready to go. Same with veggies, you can always pop them in the air fryer to revive them or just eat them the way they are. Always be thinking of how you can utilize/repurpose what you're cooking in the next meal. That way, dinner is already partly done for the next night.
You can also schedule a mini meal prep mid-week, on Wednesday or Thursday, just to get you through the weekend. One of my clients recommended this, and I was like, "wow, that's genius!" It doesn't need to be a big thing, just make another batch of shredded chicken or hardboiled eggs... basically, whatever you're out of. I think this mid-week mini meal prep is such a good way to keep you on track through the weekend, which is when a lot of us get off track with our diets! If there's a will, there's a way when it comes to how to meal prep when you hate meal prep!
And then finally my last tip is one that I heard on a podcast. It really resonated with me and has stuck with me for months now. It's a bit of tough love, but it really has worked for me. Jeremy Scott from the Jeremey Scott Fitness podcast said: "You have to give a shit," and that's 100% what it is. I mean, sure, you might not like meal prep and you don't really feel like cooking, but if you care about your health, your goals, and what you're eating, then it's worth your time and energy. You just have to put on your big girl panties and do it! I often remind myself of this because, yeah, it sucks sometimes. You just don't want to meal prep or eat healthy. I get it, but giving shit definitely helps motivate me to get it done!
I hope you found this post helpful about how to meal prep when you hate meal prep. If you're looking for more advice when it comes to EASY meal prep, check out these blog posts:
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