Strategies for a Successful Meal Prep
Depriving ourselves of foods that genuinely excite us is arguably the biggest mistake we make when planning a diet change. We’ll plan for a day of healthy eating, but by mid-afternoon or night our willpower diminishes. Giving into one “little splurge” turns into an unhealthy binge, or even worse, defining ourselves by failiure. I’m serious! The psychological pain that we inflict upon ourselves when we feel out of control with something so seemingly within our control, such as eating, can be absolutely crippling. Let’s take a step back from obsessing over macros and calories, and instead focus on how we approach healthy eating to make meal prep work for us.
Here's 5 Strategies to help you successfully stay on track with your meal prep plan:
1.Start Your Day With The Most Nutrient Dense Meal
Most of us probably won’t have a salad for our first meal of the day, but we can extend the nutritional value packed within a healthy bowl of greens into a breakfast smoothie! Start with a base of fresh greens like spinach or kale, add a bit of fruit, some nut milk or coconut water, then top up on superfoods like spirulina, chlorella, maca root, chia seeds, flaxseeds, goji berries, or cacao powder. Not only does starting your day off strong set the tone for the rest of the day, but it also gives you some cushion if you happen to slip up later in the day.
2. Ditch The Bland Foods
Preparing meals that you literally cannot WAIT to dive into is a sure-fire way to stick with your meal plan. Abandon the barely seasoned chicken, broccoli, and rice and incorporate more nutritionally dense foods that are full of vibrant colors and spicy flavors to truly satisfy you. Some blandness-eliminating tips include:
Blanching your green veggies so they maintain nutrients and bright color
Coat veggies in spices like turmeric, cumin, and paprika and roast them
Make your own sauces & dressings from scratch and pack them with healthy fats & herbs
3. Recruit Your Tempters To Join You
You know that coworker who always tempts you into ditching your prepped lunch for midday splurge? Or the boyfriend who insists on dinner at your favorite Italian restaurant after you’ve denounced bread? Challenge that sly tempter to join you for a week of home-prepped lunches. Having someone to share in your health goals with helps you not only stay accountable, but also stay excited and encouraged about this lifestyle!
Furthermore, many of us inherit our eating habits from our family or community surroundings. Depending on that environment, these habits have been either health promoting or have contributed to the continuous cycle of poor health, predominately seen in low socioeconomic classes and communities of color. By reigning in a friend, coworker, family member, or neighbor into a plan to commit to healthy meal prep, we can positively impact the health outcomes of these communities!
4. Plan For Your Sweet Tooth Cravings
As I said at the beginning of this post, nothing kills a diet plan and willpower like depriving ourselves of foods that spark joy. I’m absolutely not saying add a hostess cupcake in your lunch box, but definitely bring back that child-like mentality of rewarding yourself with an exciting treat for adhering to your meal prep plan! With millions of recipes easily accessible via Pinterest, we have so many options for healthy desserts to add into our meal prep plan, such as a sweet chia seed pudding topped with fruit. If you have a salt-tooth like me, add a handful of lightly salted macadamia nuts into your meal prep to beat the urge to indulge in salty potato chips. A treat can be as simple as a square of dark chocolate at the end of the day, but definitely have something rewarding to look forward to!
5. Make It More Plant Based
Plant based foods contain more overall nutrients to make sure that you meet recommended daily intake of essential vitamins and minerals. They also contain significantly more fiber and inulin than animal-based foods, helping you stay full longer and keeping your gut happy and healthy!
If you want to get inspiration for increasing plant based foods in your meal prep while still keeping animal products in your diet, check out FitMenCook.com for some delicious looking combinations. Whatever your diet preference or level of cooking ability, implement these 5 strategies into your next meal prep day to be seriously successful with following your plan!