You probably spend 45 minutes making a meal to spend only 15 minutes eating it.
This is an aggravating realization, right? Cooking takes up a large portion of our days so most of us become lazy. Laziness leads to poor nutrition choices or skipping meals.
Avoid reaching laziness and burnout by meal prepping. Even though you'll need a larger chunk of time at the beginning of your week, you'll be thanking yourself by the end. Meal prepping is also a great way to get in shaper faster!
Meet your time management and health goals by avoiding the below 8 meal prep mistakes. Believe it or not, there are wrong ways to prepare food in bulk.
1. Deciding What to Eat at the Grocery Store
We've all had moments of rushing to the grocery store without a list. You knew you needed food, but you didn't know what to get. Avoid this scenario when meal prepping.
Improve your meal prep strategy by creating a daily meal plan. This may include meal prep for just lunch or prepping for all major meals of the day.
Once you know what you'd like to eat each day, take a look through your fridge and cabinets to see what ingredients you already have. Make a note of the ingredients you still need.
Creating a list before heading to the store prohibits you from overbuying or grabbing something unhealthy in a last-minute panic.
2. Practicing Restriction
Forming healthy habits takes a lot of discipline, but it's important to not restrict yourself from your favorite less-than-healthy foods. Restriction causes burnout and disordered eating patterns.
Allow yourself a treat or 2 during the week. If you know you'll be exhausted after working overtime on Friday evening, don't worry about eating your grilled chicken and veggies. Grab your favorite burger.
Create healthier balances by pairing small portions of junk food with nutrition-packed, organic food. For example, if you're craving pizza for dinner, eat 1 slice with a low-fat side salad.
3. Getting Too Relaxed
On the other end of the spectrum, it's important not to become too relaxed when meal prepping. Don't forfeit your fruits and vegetables for a cookie every day.
Take time to enjoy your occasional indulgence, and practice discipline to create an overall healthy and balanced week. Meal prepping helps with discipline because you're deciding on your food options ahead of time.
If you notice yourself becoming too relaxed, don't dive into a rabbit hole of shame. Make note of where you took a wrong turn and get back on track!
4. Not Understanding Yourself
Develop a meal prep strategy that works for YOU. Don't automatically follow the strategy you see in a random health magazine.
Some people enjoy eating the same thing for lunch every day. It doesn't bother them. Other people would rather have a tooth pulled than eat the exact same meal every day.
Find your meal prep groove with trial and error. Try eating the same lunch for 5 days of the week. Then try eating a meal for 3 days and a different meal for 2 days.
If you're okay with repeat meals, go that route to make it easy. Switch it up every few days if you're prone to burnout.
5. Allowing Yourself to Be Swallowed by Stress
Maintaining healthy and balanced living feels impossible when you're constantly drowning in stress. Many people react to large amounts of stress by either eating too much or not eating at all.
Find ways to manage your stress throughout the week. Invest time into calming hobbies such as painting or yoga. Chat with a licensed therapist once a week.
Do you have too much on your plate? Sometimes it's best to let go of responsibilities when you're at the beginning of your health transformation. Let go of your Sunday evening book club meetings to dedicate more time to meal prepping.
6. Making Too Much Food
It's terrifying to realize how much food we let go to waste every week.
Avoid waste by not making too much food. Use a scale and measuring cups if you're unsure of the proper portions to eat. Don't jump to dumping a bunch of random stuff on an oven tray.
Planning your grocery list ahead of time will also keep you from wasting food. You'll know exactly what and how much to buy of something at the store after taking the time to meal plan.
7. Not Finding Accountability
Even though you know there are plenty of benefits of meal prepping, you'll have a harder time sticking to your routine if you don't have anyone to support you. Find a source of accountability.
Ask friends and family members to join you in a meal prep journey. Download a meal prep tracker app on your phone. Get coworkers involved with meal prepping work lunches.
If you aren't able to find anyone to keep you accountable, hire a nutrition coach that checks in on you each week.
8. Forgetting Snacks
There's nothing wrong with extra fuel throughout the day. Don't just prepare your meals. Prepare your snacks too.
Having pre-packed snacks helps you stick to your health goals, especially if you're active or starting a new fitness regimen.
Pack snacks such as greek yogurt and fruit, vegetables and hummus, or nuts and dried berries. Avoid grazing through your kitchen pantry because you might end up grabbing the potato chips each time.
Building Healthy Habits: Avoid These Meal Prep Mistakes
Meal prepping is a great way to better stick with your health goals. However, there are a few meal prep mistakes you'll need to avoid.
Don't forget to plan your meals before heading to the grocery stores to prevent panic buys. Pack yourself a few healthy snacks too for the week, and check in with your accountability partner.
If you're in Southwest Florida and need fresh produce to add to your meal prep routine, check out Buckingham Farms. Our site offers plenty of information on our restaurant and who we are. Order online, or contact us today to plan your next big event.