Does the thought of food prep make you cringe? Do memories of stinky broccoli in the microwave at work give you nightmares? Well have no fear, we’ve got you covered! We’ve been food prepping for over 15 years and have it down to a science by now. It doesn’t have to be as overwhelming and complicated as everyone makes it out to be and it’s something that can play a huge role in the success of eating healthy. All it takes is 30-45 minutes to set yourself up with easy, grab and go meals that will save you time during the week, save you money and save you regret over making poor choices at the restaurant.
This is a subject that comes up often with clients, coworkers and friends so we’ve put together a Weekly Food Prep Guide to help you get started. We also recently hosted a Facebook Live session from our kitchen while we prepped our food for the week and shared some of our favorite tips and tricks.
WHO SAID FOOD PREP HAD TO BE HARD?
You don’t have to have a farm, a garden or trek out into the wilderness to gather food to prep. There is such a misconception out there that you have to make everything from scratch when you’re food prepping. Guess what? You absolutely do NOT! Let’s stop overcomplicating this folks.
The whole idea behind prepping your food in advance is to make your life easier and more efficient. It can be so chaotic in the morning trying to get out the door in time but if you prep your food in advance, that's one less thing to worry about. You can have everything ready to just grab and go. How wonderful does that sound?
Start small: If you’re new to this whole thing, start off small by picking one meal that you want to prep for the week. Getting anxious with the thought of this? How about picking 2-3 days a week where you’ll prep this one meal? So instead of committing to prep lunch Monday-Friday, just pick a couple of days. Ease into it.
Keep new recipes to a minimum: Until you get into a rhythm with this, try to limit how many new recipes you introduce each week. We’ve made this mistake before. You’ll end up taking way longer to prep a bunch of new recipes vs. sticking to the ones you’re familiar with.
Take 5 minutes to plan: Take 5 minutes before you go grocery shopping to map out which meals you’d like for the week. You can then take those meals and make a shopping list out of it before you hit up the store. Use our Weekly Food Prep Guide to help you with this. If you go into the store with a plan you’ll not only cut out a little of the anxiety but you’ll save time wandering around the store looking for what you might want to eat.
GET YOUR GEAR
You’ll need some tupperware to store you goodies in. You can find these anywhere; from your grocery store, to Walmart or Amazon. Something like the GLAD tupperware will work just fine but if you want to invest a little more money and get fancy with it, there are brands out there that have different sections in the tupperware so your food doesn’t get mixed. We recommend starting out with:
24 ounce containers (for each meal you portion out)
48 ounce containers (to store some of the things you cook in bulk like quinoa, rice, etc.
4 ounce containers (great for dressings, hummus, etc.)
LET’S GET TO IT
Now you’ve got a plan, you’ve got your gear, and it’s time to prep your food for the week. We promise, the more you do this, the easier it’s going to get so stick with it, ok? Here are some of our favorite tips we’ve learned along the way:
First cook the things that you can set and forget like quinoa, rice, meat, etc. Be sure to set your timers for these things so they don’t burn!
While all of that is cooking, you can cut and portion out any fruits and veggies.
For things like fruits and veggies, we’ll start with what has the least amount of flavor (like lettuce, carrots, cucumber) and work our way up to the stuff that is pungent like pepper and then onion last. This way, you can use the same cutting board and not mix flavors.
Double up on storing onions: We’ve learned the hard way on this but let me tell you, you’ll want to put your onions in a sealable baggie and then put the baggie in tupperware. If you don’t, you’re entire fridge will smell like onion for a week.
Clean while you’re prepping: If you have 30 seconds here and there, wash pots, cutting boards, knives or anything else you may dirty up while prepping. There’s no worse feeling than finishing up your food prep and then looking over in the sink where there’s a pile of dishes.
Try a crockpot recipe! You literally throw in the ingredients, and then can set it and forget it for the day. What you’ll end up with is a delicious meal that took minutes to make.
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ABOUT COACH MATT PIPPIN
Matt is a Strength and Mobility Coach with over 15 years experience in his field. He's coached over a thousand professional, collegiate and everyday athletes with the goal to help them move, feel and perform at their highest level. CLICK HERE to learn more.
NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Level 3: Fascial Stretch Specialist
Level 1: Institute of Motion Health Coach
Certified FRC Mobility Specialist (FRCms)
Level 1 Kinstretch Instructor
Weck Method Qualified