How to Meal Prep: for Beginners

Ever since John and I decided to kick our butts into gear about our health and fitness, we’ve been really cracking down on nutrition. We used to have it set in our minds that “if we workout, it doesn’t matter what we eat”. After continuing to see no results from all the “hard” work we thought we were doing, we realized that it’s going to take more of a conscious effort than we thought.

Eating healthy seems like it SHOULD be a really easy thing to do. And it truly IS, but you really have to find what works best for you and stick with it. We used to go to the grocery store close to every night to get something to make for that evening. This always ended up to be bad because we would end up picking things that were quicker to eat because it was already later in the evening and we didn’t want to be eating dinner at 9 pm. Another bad part about it was that we would always buy something random and useless just because we were making a trip to the store. Basically, we were always wasting money just because we didn’t grocery shop “correctly”.

I’d always seen a lot of people that are into fitness that would post their weekly “meal prep”. I would think to myself “that’s crazy, there is no way I could do that!” Until one day, John and I decided to try. We’ve been doing it for a couple weeks now, so of course that doesn’t make us experts by any means, but I thought I would share some of the tips that I find useful when it comes to meal prepping.

First of all, I should probably clarify what meal prepping is. Basically, you make all or at least most of the meals that you are going to be eating for the week on Sunday. That way, you already have items portioned and ready to eat when each day rolls around and you don’t have to worry about choosing an unhealthy option because you have plenty of healthy options that you made for yourself!

Here are my tips:

  1. Make a meal plan: Generally on Friday or Saturday, I like to come up with meals that I want to eat for the week and write them down in my notebook. I try to stick with “simpler” or “easier” meals so I’m not trying to make a 7 course meal come Sunday. Some easy things are overnight oats for breakfast, hardboiled eggs or chopped up fruits and veggies for snacks, salads for lunches, and a protein and veggies for for dinner.
  2. Gather recipes + make a grocery list: First things first, I like to print off any new recipes that I will be using for the week. Typically the servings for those recipes need to be doubled because John and I will both be eating that meal a couple times that week. So I like to make sure that I account for that when I compile my grocery list.
  3. Get your groceries: Depending on our schedules, I usually like to get my groceries on Friday night or Saturday so that we can start right away on Sunday. The grocery list might seem long, and it might add up, but believe it or not, John and I have noticed that we’ve been saving a lot of money on our groceries!
  4. Prioritize your recipes: Once Sunday comes along, I like to prioritize my meals by finding the ones that will take the longest and starting those first. For an example, this Sunday one of our meals was spaghetti squash with turkey marinara. We started to bake the spaghetti squash first because it takes over and hour to be prepared. We also started baking the chicken (for another recipe) at the same time to get that out of the way. Once you have some of the main things baking, we generally starting making the rest of the recipes.
  5. Put everything together: Once everything is cooked, grab your tupperware and portion everything out! Based on the serving sizes of the recipes, I put all the ingredients into one container and label it for the day that I plan on eating it.
  6. Clean up: The first couple times you do meal prep, it might take quite a while and it will definitely use a lot of dishes and utensils but just think, you won’t be doing all those dishes during the week!

Those are usually the steps that I go through when I meal prep each week. For those that are interested, I will be posting a sample meal plan and grocery list for people to use for their meal prep next Sunday. I hope these were helpful! Feel free to comment any questions below and I will answer them in my next post!

How To-

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What I Made Wednesday: Tuna Cakes

Welcome to my new series “What I Made Wednesday”! I’m always searching for new recipes and tweaking my own that I thought I would start to share some on my blog. So each Wednesday I will share a different recipe that I’ve tried during the week. Most recipes will be pretty quick and painless and of course, tasty! For the first post I’m sharing the recipe for these healthy tuna cakes I made this weekend for lunch! They are so simple to make and I actually had all the ingredients in my house already!

Tuna Cakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 tuna cakes – Serving size: 2 each

Ingredients:
2  5-ounce cans of tuna
2 TSPs of Dijon mustard
1/2 CUP of white bread (torn into small pieces)
1 TSP lemon zest
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP of water (or liquid from the cans of tuna)
2 TBSP on Italian seasoning
Salt & Pepper to desired taste
A couple drops of hot sauce
1 raw egg
2 TBSP of olive oil
1/2 TSP of butter

Instructions:
1. Drain the liquid from the tuna cans. If you are using tuna packed in water, save a tablespoon of the tuna water, and add a teaspoon of olive oil to the tuna + water.

2. Mix together the tuna, water, olive oil, mustard, torn white bread, lemon zest, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, and hot sauce. Sprinkle on salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste the mixture before adding the egg to see if it needs more seasoning to your taste. Mix in the egg.

3. Divide the mixture into 4 parts. With each part, form into a ball and then flatten into a patty.

4. Heat the butter (for taste) in a non-skillet on medium high. Gently place the patties in the pan, and cook until nicely browned, 3-4 minutes on each side.

5. Serve with a lemon wedge. Add the patties to a bed of spinach, or on a whole wheat bun with a side of vegetables.

 

TUNA CAKES

Let’s talk life

I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it.. Life is busy and it goes by so fast! I had no intentions of leaving my blog hanging but, sadly, that’s what happened. I can’t quite explain what happen but I sort of just lost my blogging mojo! I kind of fell into a rut of coming up with blog post ideas and then I got it stuck in my head that I had nothing to write about and just let it go. But you know what, I DO have plenty of things to write about! So, rather than focusing on the fact that I haven’t written ANYTHING in the past 2 months, I am moving forward and starting now. I have plenty of long winter days ahead of me that will be filled with me jotting down my thoughts and I couldn’t be happier. Writing really does make me happy. I’ve found myself to have a bit of anxiety lately and I believe that it’s because I haven’t been using any of my creative outlets that I very much enjoy using. So out with the old and in with the new.

To catch you up on the past couple of months I will let you know a little bit about what we’ve been up to. I have been waitressing about 4 times a week so that usually keeps me pretty busy during the nights, but I really do love the job. It’s funny because I’ve had many people ask me when I’m going to get a “real” job with my degree, but I see nothing “fake” about waitressing. I love the people I work for and work with and it is something that just fits perfectly in our schedule right now.

The weather has been amazing from September until now (it still isn’t even bad!) but it has been an unusually warm fall for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan! That being said, we have been getting outside A LOT! We had no idea how long the weather would last before the snow fell so we tried to take advantage of every day off by spending part of it outside. Including hiking, the park, and just playing in the yard.

John and I decided to kick our butts into gear before the New Year and started working out together every morning and watching what we eat. It’s a 60 day program and we are 15 days in! I am loving it so far, it is definitely a lifestyle change. I’ve already dropped around 6 pounds and I’m at a weight that I haven’t seen since before I had Lincoln. We spend our Sundays grocery shopping and prepping some food for the week. I’ve tried to lose the baby weight + post baby weight for over a year now but I never really had my mind set on in the right place. I kept thinking if that I was working out all the time it wouldn’t matter what I ate. I would “sort of” watch what I was eating but not to a point that it would make a difference. I’m so glad I decided to make this change and that my mind is in the right place.

Well, before I go on and on, I’ll save some more writing for other posts. Thanks for bearing with me through the last couple of months and I hope you stick around for the future!

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