Yesterday Annie and Kate of Power Up Nutrition visited Empower to talk to us about meal prep and planning.  Feedback is this was their best talk to date.  Here’s the blog by Annie to go with it:

First off, before I go and repeat myself, we have a few great blogs up on our site already to help you find your groove and plan your meals.

You can check them out here:

  1. Where to start and what to eat?
  2. Take it a step further and start finding your own way.
  3. How coach Kate makes it happen in her household.

Now that I have that covered, what I see as the real key to successful meal prep, is being able to meet yourself where you are at right now.

What do we mean by this?

  1. First off can you cook?
  2. Secondly, do you enjoy cooking?
  3. Lastly, how much time do you have to dedicate to your weekly meals?

Can you cook?

If you lack basic cooking skills it can be daunting to start making your own meals and prepping your food. You understand the need, given cooking and preparing your meals is the best way to truly manage your nutrition, but how do you start if you can’t cook and are intimidated by the whole thing?

You are in luck as it really is easier now more than ever to learn new skills.  In the modern day of the internet, you can literally learn anything on YouTube. Seriously, google anything to do with cooking and you will find a tutorial. You can also learn a lot by reading cookbooks of by spending time in the kitchen with a great chef in your life, like your mother or a good friend who seems to have a knack for it.  Offer to be their sous-chef and ask a bunch of questions. The ability to cook for yourself is a life skill you will be happy to have.

I also used to buy cooking magazines all the time, I really liked “Cooking Light” which sadly no longer exists, but early on in my marriage I would buy it every month and flip through the page and pick recipes to try.

We learn by doing, so simply pick a recipe and start experimenting.

Do you enjoy cooking?

If the answer is no, I get it.  I happen to love cooking, and eating all the good food that comes with it, but it’s not for everyone.  But since we all have to eat and we know eating at home can have a huge impact on our health and body weight, we have to search for that happy medium.

No one is asking you to make it complicated and to become an Iron chef! I myself love to cook, but purposefully pick super simple recipes without a ton of steps and not requiring a ton of ingredients.

First, keep it very simple.  Second, consider batch cooking so that you can cook once and eat for days. And third, consider a meal prep service like “Fresh prep” (these may be more costly and harder to cater to your nutritional needs but certainly an option).

How much time do you have?

This kind of goes with the enjoyment question because often people say they don’t enjoy cooking, but if you dig further you find that it has more to do with their lives being so busy that cooking just feels like another chore to do.

If you come home tired and hungry and decide to make a fancy meal you will hate your life! Your menu should match your schedule. Meaning if I am super busy I rely on simple meals or leftovers.  Don’t plan long recipes on days you know you work late and the kids have activities!  Many meals will freeze well and make a perfect solution for days like this.  If Monday is always a gong-show in your house, then Monday can be breakfast for dinner every week or leftover night.  Or you could double dinner every Thursday and freeze a meal for Monday?

Don’t know breakfast for dinner!  It is always a crowd favourite in my house.  Load your eggs with veggies and have a side of waffles and kids and grownups will both be happy.

And if you want to try something fancier for the fam, pick a Sunday when you have more time and have fun in the kitchen.

Remember, start where you are at, keep it simple and go from there. If you cook one meal this week it is better than none. ❤️Think of meal prep on a continuum. If you are currently eating out every meal, think of making one meal at home this week. If you already make 3 meals at home, how could you increase it to 4? This is how lasting change happens, one small step at a time.

Annie 🙂