You’d be wondering what brought about the concept of meal prep ideas for weight loss? It all started when I took the decision to lose weight and adopt a healthier ketogenic diet lifestyle. I almost got discouraged by the amount of time I was spending preparing meals daily. I started wondering how my eating right was going to be sustainable? Of course, I googled it! What else do you do when confronted with the unknown in the year 2018?
Pinterest had so many ideas on meal prepping, I had to open up a board just to pin them all. You can take a look at my weight loss meal prep board on Pinterest here. I am continually adding pins to it, so follow me to keep having more meal prep ideas.
What is Meal Prepping?
Meal prepping just as the name implies is simply preparing your meals ahead of time.
You can compare it to walking into a fast food restaurant and getting your meals almost immediately. The instant nature is what makes fast food so attractive.
There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
Meals available on demand is what meal prepping all about. You can set up your very own fast food right there in your home by preparing your meals ahead of time thereby making it available at that moment you need to eat.
So why do we need to prepare our meals ahead of time?
Why Meal Prepping?
There are quite a number of reason to take up meal prepping as part of your success strategy towards weight loss.
1. Prepares You for Success
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
– Benjamin Franklin.
To lose weight successfully you must be prepared. Weight loss is a function of calorie input being less than the calorie output. In essence, using stored fat as a source of energy.
I really don’t know about you but for me, the deal breaker was always that the moment I’m hungry it is whatever that is available that just goes into my mouth to kill the hunger pangs, however, with meal prepping the idea is that when you are ready to eat, healthy alternatives are readily available.
Meals that would not make you add weight and this works incredibly well.
Meal prepping prevents binge eating and ensures accountability while on a diet that way, weight loss becomes a science.
2. Less Stress
We all are familiar with the constant stress of what to eat for breakfast lunch and dinner to meet up with our daily calorie allocation to keep losing weight. Meal prepping helps you avoid this stress by setting aside time weekly to actually research and come up with the right meals and appropriate quantity for you.
3. Saves Money
Buying food in bulk is always cheaper. You are more likely to gain from bargains such as buy two get one free and other specials the grocery stores might have up for grabs. Food is also not wasted as you will be measuring out exact quantities in preparation for meal times.
4. Saves Time
This reason is enough to get any SAHM or Career woman excited. We are always on the lookout for time-saving tips. Here is one for you. You are welcome! Go grocery shopping and cook for the whole week all in one day, maybe a Saturday or Sunday. Now you have the rest of the week available for all the other interesting things we love to do.
How to Meal Prep
There are several things to consider when taking up meal prep. Start slowly, maybe prepare a days’ worth of meals and store it. Then move on to 2,3 …..and eventually a weeks’ worth of meals. You’ll need a meal plan, find the right recipes and storage containers.
Create a Meal Plan
Difference between a meal plan and meal prep
A meal plan decides the ‘plan you have for each meal’ essentially answers the question, what is for breakfast, lunch or dinner? The recipes involved, the nutrient value and probably the quantities required. Whereas the meal prep is actually preparing the meals ahead of time.
In creating a meal plan, you’d have to conduct some research and provide answers to questions such as
- How many calories do I need to eat in a day?
- If on a Ketogenic diet, what are my daily macro requirements?
- What meals or recipes do I enjoy?
- Are there any medical restrictions on my diet?
- What is my budget like?
Find the Recipes
There are several places to get the recipes you need to plan your meals.
First off are your beloved everyday recipes, the once you cook often and seriously enjoy. If you are like me, there are certain recipes you don’t mind having every-single-day!
Pinterest is another awesome place for recipes. There are thousands if not millions of recipes there. You’d find pins linked to blog posts with not just recipes but step by step detailed explanations on how to cook these meals. You can check out some of my favorite recipes here.
Of course, you can get some recipe books and if you are interested here is one for you.
Containers can make or break your efforts at meal prepping. I honestly can’t stress just how important this is. Good storage containers are the foundation for a successfully stored meal.
It is not enough to toss your food into any plastic container. There are certain factors that you have to put into consideration.
So what makes a good storage container for precooked meals?
The container has to be
BPA – Free:
BPA stands for bisphenol A which is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins.
Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA. Exposure to BPA is a concern because of possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.
Additional research suggests a possible link between BPA and increased blood pressure. Read more about BPA on this article.
However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods.
The goal is for you to find plastics labeled BPA-FREE which means that it is safe and microwaveable.
This feature will save you the trouble of opening almost all the containers just to find what you are looking for.
An airtight container helps preserve the freshness of the meal.
Where you can get containers with divisions, that is awesome. Now your sauces, salad dressing, soups, and stew can be separated which prevents your meals from becoming soggy.
Square or rectangular:
Circular containers take up unnecessary space in the freezer. Whereas the square or rectangular ones fit tightly close together thereby allowing more into the fridge or freezer.
Portion control and measurements are taken care of, you don’t have to keep weighing out and measuring before each meal.
Meal Prep Ideas for Weight Loss
My friends over at Tasteaholics recently created a series of ecookbooks, in which each and every recipe can be made using only 5 ingredients. If that’s not already useful, all the recipes are 5 grams of net carbs or fewer! Talk about a no-brainer.
You can choose 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner from their Keto in Five cookbooks and know you’re under your daily carb limit for the day.
Each book contains 30 recipes all using just 5 ingredients. Every recipe is 5 grams of net carbs or fewer making them perfect for keto. Whether you’re just starting your low carb journey or have been happily losing weight for a while, I’m sure you’ll love these easy recipes!
Here’s a sneak peek of what’s in the books:
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Keep your carbs low and your taste buds happy with Breakfast in Five. Enjoy pancakes, waffles, shakes, cereals, and even hot pockets without breaking your carb limit!
Let’s face it; lunch on keto can get boring. Lunch in Five will serve up 30 packable recipes that will blow you away every time, like savory French crepes, creamy chowders, and mouthwatering casseroles.
After a long day of work, cooking a delicious, healthy meal for your family can be a daunting task. With Dinner in Five, you’ll enjoy steaks, wings, lasagna, burgers, and sides without breaking your carb limit!
I particularly like chicken especially for meal prepping. Here are some tips for prepping with chicken.
There are very few people that have never tasted chicken. The reason being that chicken is one of the protein sources that are affordable, tasty, versatile and widely available. But you have to properly cook and store this healthy protein source to prevent contamination and potential illnesses. The health authorities have suggested that we keep “cold food cold and hot food hot” which is a good general guideline to follow. You can follow this simple rules to know poorly stored or cooked chicken.
Chicken needs to be properly stored to stay safe for consumption. A freshly cooked chicken will have a brown or white color to the meat, and, over time, as it spoils, it will turn green-gray or gray.
Other signs of spoiled cooked chicken are a bad, offensive smell, a slimy or slippery texture and mold growing on the chicken. In these cases, or whenever in doubt, throw away the chicken rather than risk potential contamination.
Properly cooked chicken can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
Store uncooked chicken no longer than 3-12 months in the freezer. But in all sincerity, the freshness cannot be compared to newly bought chicken. I wouldn’t advise you to buy chicken in large quantities. It is best to grocery shop weekly and at most monthly.
In conclusion, using your recipes, work out the quantity of food required for a period of time, let’s say a week. Cook your meals, dish into your containers and store in the freezer. Then all you’ll need to do is warm up your meals and eat.
So basically, you are cooking once a week and having ready-made meals for a week! That, my dear, is the beauty of meal-prepping.
Are you already using meal prepping as a means to sustain your weight loss journey? Do share with us some of your ideas. If you have benefited from this article, please do share with your friends.
I would love to invite you to join our Facebook support group of about 4000 women – The Weight Loss Mamas, for more tips and tricks on how to achieve weight loss.
To your success!