Ladies and gents, the secret to my success, I bestow upon you the key to a healthy life style.
The underrated, highly anticipated passport to fit living: MEAL PREP.
I know, you are more than likely aware that meal prep is a necessary evil. Like laundry. Evil, horrible laundry. Meal prep Sunday mornings feel like a chore to me. I adore cooking, I am obsessed with all things culinary. I run a food blog for fox sake. But meal prep doesn’t give me the warm and feelies like my normal recipe testing or free runs in the kitchen do. When I cook, I am in my own world, happy to stand over a boiling pot for an hour, tinkering with salt levels, a little acid here, a spoonful of fat there. It is my happy place. Meal prep on the other hand can feel as painful as doing laundry for me-I want it over with immediately.
Therefore, Jake and I eat very simply during the week. For the first installment of my meal prep series, I will discuss what I always do on Sunday mornings in my meal prep prison. The most important piece to remember about meal prep is that it is there to make your life a lot easier. I am a complete mess when I do not complete proper meal prep. Seriously, I am lost if I haven’t done at least the bare minimum of what I outline in this post.
I understand everyone has differing goals, and everything laid out in this post may not suit you. During the first year and a half of my journey, I was continuously asked what I was doing to lose weight. It didn’t matter if the person had fifty pounds to lose, or that last stubborn five. In my opinion, everyone is always interested in what one another is doing, because they feel like what they may be doing isn’t working, or working quickly enough. Stop that thought process. Everyone is different. You are beautiful, your body is special, and you will find what works, I promise. This is a process. Healthy living is a journey, and a life long commitment. Baby steps are good enough. Ease into it. I catch myself still to this day comparing myself to others. It is a wicked roundabout. Find what works best for you, and stick with it!
I am outlining what I found works well for Jake and me, and if you use it as a guide to assist in your journey, great. If you learn nothing…well that sucks for you, because you wasted your time, but thanks for reading anyways!
What I have always recommended to any one that asks me “how I did I lose/continue to lose”, I always tell them that meal prep has been my saving grace. I always bring my own lunch/snacks to work, so I am not tempted to go to the store, or order out (which isn’t difficult anyways because I am allergic to soy; which is in everything).
The first thing I do every Sunday is prepare portion sizes of fresh fruit that I put into these containers.
I always grab whatever is season, but I consistently have berries, (black, blue, or strawberry), since they are readily available in California and aren’t too pricy. They are also one of the best sources of fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C and bonus: DELICIOUS. If berries are outrageously expensive that week, or look like mushy garbage, I will grab pineapple, or watermelon and my sous chef Jake will dice those up for me. I always jack up pineapple. Seriously, every time. Each week, I grab a bag of red grapes (not a fan of green), wash them, and toss them in a big bowl for emergency snacks. Alternatively, I will freeze them for after dinner if I want to nosh, they taste like little popsicles.
You will want to wash your berries gently in water, so you do not bruise them. I have spent a lot of time on Pinterest, and I have seen the same suggestion over and over to soak your fruit in vinegar solution or lemon, then pat dry and store. I tried this a few times, and honestly, it made it worse. I am not sure if there is some magical solution to soaking them, or if it should just be a quick soak/rinse, opposed to some of the items I saw floating out there, but I have not used the tip since. I just rinse with plain water, let them air dry a bit, and portion them into containers. The only berries I suggest keeping separate are raspberries, as they are extremely delicate and spoil easier. If you grab these for the week, eat them Monday/Tuesday, as heartier berries will last longer in the week. My go to berry is the almighty blueberry. These suckers last literally all week for me. I never tire of them, and they work well with any type of fruit salad.
Stick with about one cup of fruit per serving, the containers I use fit about one cup (maybe a little more) into them nice and snug. You can portion out grapes as well in more containers, or melons, whatever is on sale and you can prep easily. Fresh cut fruit is one of the easiest snacks to have on hand, and if you do it yourself you can yield a lot more than grabbing the precut fruit at the grocery store.
I know this sounds extremely obvious, but I figured I would share, because a lot of people I speak with do not think to do this, and before they know it, the fruit that they purchased at the beginning of the week is now all mushy because they keep forgetting to do it during the week. It is one of the easiest and first steps in a healthy journey. It takes less than 10 minutes (depending on the fruit), and you have ready to go snacks all week. If you do anything, do this.
The next step I take is something I recently started doing. It is so stupid you guys. I have been doing this for a year, and I just recently, last month, changed up my system and it literally saves me 10 minutes a day during the week. Literally 50 minutes. 10 minutes on Sunday, saved me 50 MINUTES during my week.
Every night Jake and I do a meal replacement smoothie, sometimes it is the morning depending on how heavy our work out is that day. My smoothie recipe tastes like a frosty and one of the ingredients is a frozen banana. Well, since you cannot prep protein smoothies in advance, it is something I must do after we are done walking the dog. The smoothie itself takes 30 seconds, but I was waiting for the banana to slightly thaw so I could cut the peel off the banana. I was doing this for almost a YEAR.
How much time was I wasting?
Oh, you bet I did the math. Let’s say I was doing this roughly 215 days (5 days per week since January) right? 215 days, at 10 minutes a day (sometimes longer for the stubborn banana), that is 2150 minutes. 35.83 hours. I repeat 35.83 HOURS. I was waiting for bananas to thaw enough to cut of their peels for literally 35 hours of my life.
Do you understand how ludicrous that is? What a fantastic waste of time.
I am ashamed to admit it took me that long to realize peeling the bananas BEFORE I threw them in the freezer was an incredible solution to all my banana issues at night. Now, I peel a crap load of bananas, throw them in a Ziploc and throwing together the smoothie at night takes literally less than a minute.
I adore our protein powder, Orgain Organic Protein Powder. we go through it like crazy. It is completely plant based, one of the few powders that doesn’t contain soy, and tastes like dessert. I haven’t personally had any of the other flavors, the chocolate fudge is the one we tried first, and Jake says it is the best protein powder he has ever tried (and he has tried a lot). If you do not eat a lot of meat, are vegan/vegetarian, or are just looking to ramp up your protein powder, I highly recommend trying the Orgain!
Since I do so much for meal prep, I wanted to do these posts in series. I know that it may seem simple, but I find that this is one of the most common questions I receive regarding my weight loss. The most crucial piece of advice I can give is: make sure you have plenty of snacks on hand! Snacks keep the day interesting, and keep cravings at bay.
Quick selection of some of my other favorite easy snacks:
- Cut carrots/cucumbers with my Tahini-Free Hummus
- Dried apricots (rich in potassium, fiber, iron, and antioxidants)
- Greek yogurt with almond or peanut butter mixed in
- Jake’s favorite snack: wheat pretzels with mustard
- Serving size of nuts with dark chocolate (rich in iron and calcium)
- Homemade sweet potato “chips” and crushed avocado (rich in potassium)
- Cleaned and trimmed fresh green beans (I know, not a lot of people don’t eat them raw, but they are the perfect crunchy, easy snack)
- Pomegranate seeds
I try to mix up meal prep snacks as often as I can because eating is supposed to be exciting, especially when you are trying to stay healthy. Healthy food is incredible. I guarantee you can enjoy nutrient rich snacks and not spend all day making them. I eat chocolate, I eat nut butters, I have “chips”. The difference? My food works for ME. Everything I eat has a purpose, and is unbelievably delicious.
You do not need to eat dry quinoa and kale to stay in shape, or achieve your weight loss goals. You just need balance.
I mean, if you like dry quinoa and kale, you are a superhero. Because dry quinoa and kale is pretty gross.
For my protein smoothie:
Allie's Favorite Protein Smoothie
One of my favorite meal replacement smoothies. With the addition of the frozen bananas, this smoothie feels rich and decadent, but it is anything from a dessert. Clocking in at 13 grams of protein per serving, and packed full of potassium, this is a perfect meal to retain energy and rebuild your muscles after a workout!
Total time: 5 minutes
Calories per serving: 225
Fat per serving: 6 grams
- 2 scoops Orgain Organic Protein Powder in Chocolate Fudge
- 24 ounces Unsweetened almond milk
- 2 frozen bananas
- Place frozen bananas, ice cubes, and protein powder in blender.
- Add almond milk.
- Blend on your blenders high setting, I use "liquify" on my Kitchenaid blender for about 15 to 20 seconds until it is smooth and thick. Add a touch more almond milk if the consistancy is too thick.
- Pour in a glass, and enjoy your healthy frosty copy cat!