If you are like me, then you feel like you are going non-stop from the minute you wake up in the morning until you go to bed at night. As a full-time working mom, I have a pretty full plate. I am up and “Thriving” by 5:15am, and that starts my day of rushing from dawn to dusk. I get about 15 minutes to myself to peruse facebook or Pinterest before I get my daughter up to spend about 30 minutes with her before it’s off to work and school. It seems that it is always a rush to get out the door because I never have anything prepared. I do manage to get my daughter’s lunch made the night before, but I still have to pack all her things and try to throw some random fruits and canned food in a Walmart bag before running out the door to make sure we get to where we need to be on time. I am usually completed flustered by the time we get going, and then I’m stressed out about having to rush on the roads. None of these things add up to a pleasant morning for me or my daughter. Then when I get to work I eat whatever food I’ve managed to pull together, and it’s never enough or it’s something that makes me feel like I’ve blown all my good choices for the day. I munch all day long to try to satisfy cravings or because I’m bored, and then because I’ve spent the whole day eating at my desk, the last thing I want to do when I get home is take the time to cook, let alone eat a big meal. It’s usually late by the time we get home, and then it’s homework, showers, and throwing some kind of meal together before it’s time for books and bed. I always feel like I’m one step behind, and I never get to truly enjoy dinner time with my family.
After finding myself snacking once again at 3:00 in the afternoon, I decided it was time to make a change. I felt like I was starving, and the only thing I had on hand was a bag of my daughter’s Elf Grahams and a spoonful of peanut butter. It didn’t satisfy my cravings, but it added on about 200 calories to my day that I wasn’t happy about. I decided then and there it was time to start taking a serious look at food prepping. After I picked my daughter up from school we went straight to the grocery store.
I’ve done some reading on food prep, and although it takes time, it is worth the extra effort to make sure you are eating and feeding your family healthy meals. You will feel so much better when you can grab a container of mixed veggies instead of a bag of cookies or a cereal bar you have thrown in the bottom of your purse.
Don’t Try To Do It All At Once
If you are like me and just starting your food prep journey, then I highly recommend starting slow. I know that I have a very hard time making good food choices during the work day. It’s too easy for me to grab a cookie or cupcake from the lounge or go spend too much money on a ready made meal from the store or fast food restaurant. I wanted to food prep not just for the health benefit, but also to help save some money. So I started out prepping my breakfast, lunch and snacks. I bought vegetables, fruit and proteins that I could take with me and when I was hungry or bored I could grab those containers and munch on healthy options. Once you get used to your own style of meal prepping, you might want to prep for a whole week on a Sunday afternoon, but when starting out I recommend prepping a few meals at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. I prepped for about 3 days worth of breakfast, lunch and snacks, and I did it in one evening. It took me about 30 minutes.
Invest In Food Prep Containers
I recommend purchasing some good, BPA free containers that you will use strictly for your food prep. You can find food prep containers at almost any retail store like Target or Walmart or on Amazon. I put all my food in these containers and then I can just grab them out of the fridge in the morning and throw them in my bag. I really like these ones I found on Amazon.com:
Meal Prep Containers 3 Compartment Lunch Boxes, Set of 5 Food Storage Containers with Lids, BPA Free Plastic Bento Box, Portion Control Divided Cover, Reusable, Microwave Dishwasher Freezer Safe
Plan Plan Plan
Before you head off to the grocery store, make a list of the types of meals you want to eat. I count my calories daily, so I wrote out my breakfast, lunch and snack menus before I went to the store so I knew exactly what I needed. That way you won’t be wandering through the grocery store trying to make a mental menu in your head. Make the list and check the foods off as you go.
Finding ideas for food prep was the biggest challenge I faced. For the first few weeks I felt like I was eating the same things every day. After a while I was able to be more adventurous and try new ideas. Start with basic foods that are easy for you to prep and as you get more comfortable you will be able to prep all kinds of different meals and snacks to keep you happy and on track!