During my weight loss journey, that started 3 years ago, I have come to appreciate the benefits of advanced meal preparation (meal prepping). And I also realized quickly, I needed a meal prepping the lazy way solution. If you would like to learn more about, how I started said journey, check out this post on mykindofsuccess.net
Being semi active on the WW (aka Weight Watchers) platform, Connect, I have come across many folks, that could call themselves professional “meal prepper”. Because they spend the majority of their weekends preparing meals for the entire week. But often times end up having the same dish for breakfast and lunch on all week days. Not exactly my cup of tea, to be honest. I like being prepared, but I also like some variety.
And that is not a conflict at all, as I came to realize. And since the pandemic started, I actually started to enjoy the process of meal prepping on the weekend. It’s a routine that keeps me occupied and also sane in the current craziness. One of the perks of routines, really. Even when it’s done as meal prepping the lazy way. Just needs to be done the right way.
When I started meal prepping, it was mainly to have healthy food and snacks handy, so that I would not grab something else. Very important! When I first joined WW, I learned a lot about myself. Mainly all the things I really had no clue about OR had totally wrong. Want me to share some? Sure.
I did not know, how high calorie or fat or a combination of both some “healthy” foods were.WW works with a points system. You have a certain amount of points available, based on your weight, size, gender etc. A regular size Wendy’s salad i.e. had more points, than I would have had for an entire day. Mainly because of the sugar and the fat in the dressing but also because of some of the ingredients (bacon, candied fruit etc.). Don’t get me started on Pizza.
I also really had no clue, what the right portion size for me was. I was trained as a child to “finish” my plate which usually included second servings. My brain had no idea, how much my body actually needed until I started WW. Anyways, I digress.
Preparing some food and having it handy has helped get me started and it continues to help me today. But again, I am not a fan of cooking for hours and having the same meal over and over again. Here’s what I am doing instead:
- Cooking larger portions for meals I am making (Thursday), Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 2-3 times the portions that I would need for one dinner or lunch. That way I have leftovers for the following week. But not the same dish, leftovers from 2-3 different dishes.
- Preparing some parts of the meals like the protein separately. That way I have extra for the upcoming week for a quick and easy meal with different ingredients.
- If I have to cut veggies, I cut some more, so that I can use them in different meals and variations.
- Baking, baking, baking. I love to prepare my own dinner rolls (large rolls, that can serve as a meal and small, that can be a side). And I am also making pretzel bites in bulk, so I can have a quick and easy ballpark style lunch https://mykindofhappiness.blog/pretzel-bites/ . I am also making muffins for the sweet tooth. I am freezing all of these so that they are fresh to serve and I can just pull them out of the freezer in the morning.
- Prepare cookies for 2 weeks ahead so that Henning has some to go with his Espresso each night.
And here some hacks that make my life easier, when meal prepping:
- I buy pre-cut, pre-washed and pre-packaged salad. I do not like cleaning salad and cutting it, so I don’t.
- Buy pre-sliced pineapple and other fruit, so that I only have to cut them in portion sizes, but don’t have to do the whole cleaning part.
- I am using store-bought dressing. I found low calorie versions, that are tasty. It saves me a lot of time, not having to prepare any as we are eating salad at least 2-3 times per week.
- Have A LOT of bananas at home. Some of my baking recipes require bananas and our breakfast does to, so I am making sure its ready at all times. They are a perfect snack, if I do not have treats ready.
- Have frozen food ready for those days where I do not have any prepped food ready or we are craving something different like french fries. That way I still do not have to get the deep fried fast food version.
But why am I doing this? Just for keeping my weight in check? That’s definitely one part. If we are ordering food delivery like pizza, it’s because we are really craving it and not, because we did not have an alternative at home. However the second and maybe even more important part of this is, it’s one less thing to worry and stress about. Work is usually busy and has the potential to turn crazy and stressful in a blink of an eye. Having most of our meals ready to go, gives me peace of mind.
It also goes great with travel and vacations. Especially when you have to go on long road trips. Most of the things in our fridge are perfect for a trip to the beach, a picnic etc. You get the idea.
I am even meal prepping for Sam, our adorable and very, very hungry Labrador Retriever. He gets kibble as his main food. However if we would feed him the amounts he would want to eat, he would explode and still keep eating. So I have to do something about it. And yes, we are also spoiling him “a little bit”. So I am regularly cooking him a huge batch of sweet potatoes and 1 lb of ground turkey and keep it in the fridge for all his meals. That way I can bulk his food (including English cucumber to go with it all) and do not have to stress about that, either.
This is one of my routines, that I have come to appreciate. My meal prepping the lazy way routine. What’s your life-hack that makes your life easier and less stressful in our already stressful times? Share in the comments, please!
I will share some of my meal prep recipes in the food court in the next couple of weeks. Check them out. Even though they are lighter, you can always make a “regular” version if you are not looking after your weight.