Continuing our Summer School Series of posts, we have an absolute must today: meal prep!
I have two issues and a crime when it comes to meal prep. Even though I love entertaining and cooking for others, my major issue is that when it comes to cooking for myself I get so lazy (both about process and clean up) that I end up pretty much eating a napkin for dinner. I could not care less about making myself a tasty, healthy, nourishing meal; it’s more like ok this will make me not starve in my sleep. So, that’s not great. Some days I add ketchup and I’m like damn, next level.
Second issue is that it feels like it takes so much planning ahead. It’s not a just open the fridge and figure it out kinda system. It takes menu planning and buying groceries accordingly and even planning ahead to assume you’ll want this meal in the upcoming days. I don’t know what I want for dinner later how am I supposed to know what I’ll want next Tuesday? The commitment is real. It gives me the same kind of anxiety than people that say they plan their outfits ahead for the whole week. WHAT. How do you even know what mood you’ll be in thoughhhh. But that’s for another time.
And so then comes the crime: out of laziness, lack of planning, and lack of commitment I end up racking restaurant bills for eating out on the daily. Not good, especially if you remember our last post regarding budgeting. That shit’s out of control.
So I asked my dear friend Humna, a spectacular blogger and avid meal planner, to share her method with us to hopefully inspire you (and me!) to get on top of this whole magical world of meal prep.
Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do nowadays?
Hi, friends! Super pumped to be guest-blogging for my dear friend, Ana. My name is Humna and I blog as @thirdcultureliving_ on Instagram and on thirdcultureliving.com :) I was born in Karachi, Pakistan and grew up in Dubai, U.A.E before moving to Ottawa, Canada for university some 4ish years ago.
When I’m not writing about being a third culture kid and trying to answer questions like “soo, where are you really from?” I work my day job in Canadian politics on Parliament Hill.
How did you become interested in meal prep? Why is this something you do?
Meal prep for me really started when I started living on my own and decided to eat a bit healthier. It always seemed like such an intimidating concept to me that I would almost start, and then stop. I would say I really committed to it when I signed up for a gym membership, started going regularly and realized how important proper nutrition is to stay fit and healthy.
That being said, fitness or fitness “progress” isn’t linear. There are weeks when I don’t meal prep and that’s okay. It’s all about holding yourself accountable and making healthier choices with your food!
What are the top recommendations you have for people interested in learning how to meal prep?
1. It doesn’t have to be perfect
Meal prep on Pinterest looks nothing like meal prep IRL, I’m gonna tell you right now. And that’s okay! Have fun with the food you are preparing. It can be quite time consuming so don’t spend most of your energy trying to perfect it for the ‘gram. As long as it tastes good enough for you to reach for it on day 4, you’re golden.
2. Set aside a “meal prep” day
For me, and lots of other folks, this day is Sunday. Sunday “Meal prep day” is a cool concept because you essentially prep your food for the upcoming week. I usually prep for the next four days since most food is only good in the fridge for that long.
I would recommend not doing your groceries the same day because doing the grocery shopping, preparing the veggies and protein, cooking and prepping the containers can all be quite overwhelming. If this works for you, great. I just prefer to do my groceries earlier in the week.
3. Track what you eat
This isn’t super necessary but I found it helpful when I first started trying to eat healthy. I started with just keeping a food diary of sorts, aka clumsily jotting down what I was eating through the day. Once I had an idea of what my diet was like, I switched to MyFitnessPal to track my macros. The app has been great to keep track of what I’m eating and the kinds of macros and calories I’m consuming! If you’re not concerned about those deets, you absolutely do not need a food tracking app :)
4. Don’t be discouraged if you miss a week
I’m gonna say it again: progress isn’t linear! You don’t have to be an insta fitgirl or body builder to meal prep. Meal prep isn’t some buzzword or unattainable fitspo concept that the every day gal (or whomever) can’t achieve. Start small and don’t be discouraged.
Don’t try to prep too many meals at once (I just do lunches for the week and sometimes dinners in the crockpot). If you burn yourself out right at the beginning, meal prep will feel like a chore which it shouldn't be! Also, don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t get to meal prep for a week or two. Life happens, take it easy.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
My favourite source for meal prep inspiration and recipes is Pinterest. Just type in your keywords and you’re flooded with simple recipes you can make at home. My favourites are those that involve sheet pans because it’s so much less cleanup! Feel free to check out my meal prep board on Pinterest to get you started.
Also - my absolute favourite meal prep QUEEN is The Girl on Bloor. She has some of the best recipes that are quick, easy and deeelish. I’ve actually used her Korean Chicken Meal Prep Bowl recipe in the instastories for this post! I just used my own veggies instead of the coleslaw she recommended. The beauty of meal prep is that it’s super flexible because you can always customize your recipes.
Humna thank you so much for participating and sharing some wisdom with my readers! Where can we find you?
Hope you enjoyed this lil guest post because I know I loved sharing my meal prep experience with you! Feel free to follow me on my socials for more (occasional) meal prep inspo, cat videos and life as a third culture kid turned blogger: