If you are wondering how to jumpstart or support your healthy living style when it comes to meals and recipes, you have come to the right place. In this beginner’s guide, I am going to share all of my tips and secrets. You’ll learn everything from how to meal prep your weekly meals to which recipes are best to put together ahead of time. Let’s get to it!
In the past, I have talked and written about how to meal prep all of your food for the week in one afternoon. I offered lots of tips, pictures, and gave a step by step on what my food prep day looks like. I received lots of positive feedback on this post.
But, I’ve also gotten comments filled with statements like this:
“That looks amazing, I wish I could do that”
“Wow, you are so organized, can you come to my house and do that for me?”
“I would love to meal prep but don’t know where to start”
“I tried to prep my food and got so overwhelmed I quit”
These comments, and others like them, made me think. I want you (my reader) to read the posts I write and think to yourself “I can do this!”.
I Want To Help You Reach Your Eating Goals
BELIEVE ME. I do not want you to feel overwhelmed or that it’s too out of reach.
If you knew me in “real life”, you would say “Dang, if Tammy can do it, then I can definitely do this”. Not kidding! Some of my closest friends wonder how I even tie my own shoelaces some days.
But, one of my favorite quotes is “It never gets easier, you only get better” and I think this is so true. The more I work at something, the “easier” it gets. Not because the task itself got easier but because I got better.
The person I am today with meal prep is not the person I was 10 years ago just starting out.
How To Meal Prep: Tips For Every Newbie Out There
If I were to give weekly meal prep guidelines to the “just starting out” Tammy, this is what they would be…
Don’t Try To Prep It All!
First and foremost, when starting out, don’t try and prep your entire weekly menu plan. This will completely overwhelm you – it still overwhelms me!
So, I highly recommend starting out slow.
During that first week, meal prep one or two recipes ahead of time and as you get comfortable with the process, you can prep more.
Don’t Try New Recipes
When you are just starting out and learning how to meal prep, it’s best to stick with recipes you already know. This way you are confident in the outcome of the recipe and the only thing you need to focus on is preparing it ahead of time.
I was able to focus on what worked, what didn’t, and most importantly, it allowed me to experience the benefits of having food ready. I know taco bowls and spaghetti sauces are easy to make but I still found having these meals made ahead of time to be extremely beneficial.
Choose Which Recipe(s) Would Make The Biggest Difference In Your Week
This is huge! If you are short on time or don’t have the energy to prepare a lot of food, then prioritize your meals.
Which recipe, if made ahead of time, is going to make your week easier?
Dinnertime stressing you out? Put together some meal starters like this slow cooker buffalo chicken or prep ingredients for a couple of slow cooker recipes.
If you are always running to the vending machine at 3:00 pm then put together some veggie packs or bags of almonds.
What is going to make it easier for you to eat healthier during the week?
When I was working out of the house having lunch prepared was huge. If I didn’t I was going to the vending machines or cafeteria for sure.
It Is Not Necessary To Cook All The Food You Prep
Meal prep can be anything. You don’t necessarily need to cook all your meals completely.
It can mean:
- Chopping up onions, peppers, or other vegetables ahead of time for recipes.
- Washing fruits and vegetables so they are ready for snacks.
- Portioning out nuts, crackers, or other food items for snacks.
- Cutting up chicken or beef to be recipe ready.
Learning how to meal prep means learning what’s going to work for you. If you are looking for a couple of meal prep dinner ideas with minimal to no cooking time, take a look at this post!
Even The Littlest Bit Of Food Prep Makes A Difference
I used to think if I did not have hours to set aside for weekly meal prep then why bother. Obviously, that is not the right approach to take. There are always going to be weeks my time is limited. If I wait for the right time or more time, then I won’t do anything.
It is important to make the most of the time you have and do what you can. I have since learned that any meal prep is better than none.
So, some weeks I might not get any dinners prepped ahead of time but if my mason jar salads are done, then at least I don’t need to worry about lunch.
You just need to look at your calendar, take a look at what your week is going to be like, and decide what is a priority.
There Is No Right Or Wrong Way To Food Prep
The options are endless when it comes to prepping food ahead of time so there really is no right or wrong way with learning to meal prep. Basically, it comes down to just making time and getting it done.
However, just like any weight-loss strategy, to be sustainable, it needs to fit into your lifestyle. Basically this means doing what works for you.
Don’t get bogged down in thinking it has to be done a certain way.
Also, it is very important to remember that I have been doing this since 2010. I have lots of practice and made my fair share of mistakes. What works for me might not work for you. I share the strategies and tips I have learned along the way in hopes that you will take and adapt them to fit into your lifestyle.
Give Yourself Time To Reap The Rewards And Make It A Habit
I think with any weight loss strategy, it is really important to keep at it long enough to experience the benefits, see the results, and form new habits. Remember, it takes about 3 weeks to form a habit. Weekly food prep is no different.
Don’t throw in the towel if it doesn’t work out the first time. Just keep trying!
Adapt And Overcome
Expect to make some adjustments at some point along the way. Meal prep is about making your life easier.
Sure, it takes a little effort and time upfront but it is worth it. It is so rewarding to open up the refrigerator door and see healthy delicious meals and snacks ready to eat.
It was a game-changer for me and I am confident it will be for you too.
Easy Recipes To Help You Start Your Meal Prep Journey
Like I mentioned before, I suggest starting out with quick and easy recipes so you don’t get overwhelmed with meal prepping your meals.
Here are some of my favorite go-to recipes I highly recommend trying for every type of meal!
- Overnight Breakfast Casserole With Sausage (I also have a vegetarian version!)
- Breakfast Smoothie Recipes
- Banana Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal Cups
Here are 42 more meal prep breakfast recipes you can also make.
Here are 10 more healthy lunch meal prep recipes that are NOT a salad 😉
- Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas (I have a chicken version too!)
- The Best Healthy Burger Recipe (or turkey burgers if you prefer)
- Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
If you want something where you don’t have to fully meal prep your meals, take a look at this post on how to make quick and easy sheet pan dinners!
- Greek Snack Boxes
- Cheese & Fruit Snack Box
- Almond Butter and Banana Snack Wraps
Take a look at how to meal prep high protein snacks.
Want to read more on how to meal prep? Check out these favorites:
- Quick Meal Prep Ideas for A Busy Week
- Healthy Meal Prep Recipes That Won’t Even Feel Like a Diet
- The Best Glass Meal Prep Containers