Meal Prep 101

Becoming a #Foodie can help you meet your #HealthyWeight goals. We are getting smarter and about our food choices and there are many great resources for health-minded families. However, it can be hard to make healthy meals when we are busy. Spending a couple of hours at the beginning of the week to plan, buy, clean, prepare and portion out meals can not only reduce the temptation to mindlessly snack, but it can also help you save money since you won’t have to buy food on the go.

Meal prepping is simply preparing some, or all, of your meals ahead of time. You can prepare them yourself with your preferred tastes and with better, healthier and unprocessed ingredients. The idea is that you can have healthier options ready to eat to help you meet your nutritional goals.

Here are a few tips to support your entry into the meal prep community:

·          Don’t try to prep everything at once.

o        As a beginner, don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to prep your entire week of meals.

o        Start slow by prepping one or two recipes at a time.

·           Stick with recipes you know at first and build from there.

o        Examples might be cooking chicken or hamburger in a quantity that you can use in recipes throughout the week (tacos, salads, soups, etc.).

o        You can store in the refrigerator or the freezer until needed.

·           Choose which meals or recipes would make the biggest difference in your week.

o        Evaluate your needs. Is dinner the toughest time for you to make healthy choices? Or is it lunches at work or school? Do you forget to eat breakfast and make unhealthy choices when you are hungry by mid-morning?

o        Focus on the meals that will make the biggest difference to you in convenience and in health impact.

o        Prep meals and snacks or develop slow cooking techniques that will best meet the needs of you and your family.

·          It’s not necessary to cook everything you prep.

o        Prep isn’t always about cooking. Sometimes it is washing, cutting and packaging fruits, vegetables and meats to save you time when you are ready to use them.

·           Even a little prep goes a long way.

o        Whether your prep is several hours long for multiple types of meals, or making salads ahead of time for the week, any food prep will help you meet your #HealthyWeight goals and decrease your stress levels around meals during the week.

·          There is no wrong or right way to meal prep.

o        Options for meal prep are endless, just make the time and get it done on your terms.

o        Once you commit to meal prepping, you will evolve and become more skilled and efficient at the process.

·          Give yourself time to make it a habit.

o        Adapt, overcome and give yourself permission to learn.

o        Remember, it takes about three weeks to form a new habit.

Give yourself time to research and find resources that meet your #Foodie and #HealthyWeight needs. Resources include blogs like  Daily Burn or MyFitnessPal. Others prefer Pinterest or blogs by their favorite authors. Use the method that works best for you to help yourself stick with your #HealthyWeight goals and decrease your daily burdens around choosing foods for yourself and your family. 

 Lovelace Spirit of Women has recipes and ideas that may inspire your health journey. As always, reach out to Labor of Love for support accessing community resources before, during or after your delivery. Our goal is to provide our families with the best resources our community has to offer. LovelaceLaborOfLove@lovelace.com / 505.727.7677

Submitted by Kym Halliday Clear, RN / Manager Outpatient Programs, Lovelace Women’s Hospital. 

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