Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Beginner’s Guide to Once a Week Food Prep + A ton of Starter Recipes and Meal Prep and Snack Ideas

Food Prep can seem so Overwhelming..... at first!! But just like the first time you tried to ride a bike, it takes practice!! Over time you will become a food prep master, and trust me, it doesn't take long!!

A Beginner’s Guide to Once a Week Food Prep

I want you (my reader) to read the posts I write and think to yourself “I can do this”. I do not want you to feel overwhelmed or that it’s too out of reach. BELIEVE ME if you knew me in “real life” you would say “Dang, if Sara can do it then I can definitely do this”. Not kidding! 
Some of my closest friends wonder how I even make it out the door on time some days. But one of my favorite quotes is “It never gets easier, you only get better”. This is so true. 
The more I work at something the “easier” it gets. 
Not because the task itself got easier but because I got better. I evolved. The person I am today with food prep is not the person I was 5 years ago just starting out.

Don’t try to prep it all!

First and foremost, when starting out, don’t try and make ahead your entire weekly menu plan. This will completely overwhelm you – it can still overwhelm me. Start slow. The first week prep 1 or 2 recipes ahead of time and as you get comfortable with the process you can prep more.

Don’t try new recipes

When starting out with food prep it is best to stick with recipes you already know. This way you are confident in the outcome of the recipe and the only thing you need to focus on is preparing it ahead of time. This is the way I started with my food prep. I took recipes that I made often, like turkey meatballs, taco meat, Steak Fajitas and baked chicken breast, and prepared them ahead of time and then stored in the refrigerator and sometimes freezer. I was able to focus on what worked, what didn’t, and most importantly it allowed me to experience the benefits of having food ready. I know taco meat and baked Chicken breast is easy to make but I still found having these meals made ahead of time to be extremely beneficial.

Choose which recipe(s), if made ahead of time, would make the biggest difference in your week!

This is huge! If you are short on time or don’t have the energy to prepare a lot of food then prioritize your meals. Which recipe, if made ahead of time, is going to make your week easier? If you are rushing around every morning and always running out of time for a healthy breakfast then maybe focus on preparing egg white muffins  or Shakeology at $4 a meal is the easiest blend/shake grab and go, or shakeology breakfast bars!  If dinnertime brings you the most stress then put together some meal starters or prep ingredients for a couple slow cooker recipes. If you are always running to the vending machine at 3:00pm then put together some veggie packs or bags of almonds. 
What is going to make it easier for you to eat healthier during the week?
When I was working out of the house having a shake for breakfast and lunch prepared was huge. Or I would prepare egg white muffins and shake for lunch!! If I didn’t I was going to the vending machines or ordering out for sure. You can view all my mason jar salad recipes here.

It is not necessary to cook all the food you prep

Food prep can be anything. You don’t necessarily need to cook all your meals completely. It can mean chopping up onions, peppers, or other vegetables ahead of time for recipes. Washing fruits and vegetables so they are ready for snacks. Portioning out nuts, crackers, or other food items for snacks. Cutting up chicken or beef to be recipe ready. Whatever is going to work.

Even the littlest bit of food prep makes a difference

I used to think if I did not have hours to set aside for prepping my food then why bother. Obviously, that is not the right approach to take. There are always going to be weeks my time is limited. If I wait for the right time or more time then I would never do anything. It is important to make the most of the time you have and do what you can. I have since learned that any food prep is better than no food prep at all. Some weeks I might not get any dinners prepped ahead of time but if my eggs are boiled I know I have fast food or even my eat clean egg salad can be done, then at least I don’t need to worry about lunch. Breakfast is covered with shakeology.


There is no right or wrong way to food prep.

The options are endless when it comes to prepping food ahead of time so there really is no right or wrong way to do it. Basically, it comes down to just making time and getting it done. However, just like any weight loss strategy, to be sustainable it needs to fit into your lifestyle. Basically this means do what works for you. If the only thing you want to prep each week are hard boiled eggs then that’s fine. Or maybe you find it helpful to make mason jar salads, quinoa, or rice , and a couple slow cooker stuffed peppers. Whatever will meets YOUR needs. Don’t get bogged down in thinking it has to be done a certain way. Also, it is very important to remember that I have been doing this for 5 years. I have lots of practice and made my fair share of mistakes. What works for me might not work for you. I share the strategies and tips I have learned along the way in hopes that you will take and adapt them to fit into your lifestyle.

Meal Prep and Snack Ideas

Give yourself time to reap the rewards and make it a habit

I think with any Healthy eating or weight loss strategy it is really important to keep at it long enough to experience the benefits, see the results, and form new habits. Remember it takes about 3 weeks to form a habit. Weekly food prep is no different. Don’t throw in the towel if it doesn’t work out the first time. Or the first few times. Adapt and overcome. Expect to make adjustments along the way. Food prep is about making your life easier. Sure it takes a little effort and time upfront but it is worth it. It is so rewarding to open up the refrigerator door and see healthy delicious meals and snacks ready to eat. It was a game changer for me and I am confident it will be for you too.

Here are a ton of easy recipes and meal/snack ideas for your first weekly food prep day. 
Sara's Recipe Book - Clean eating Recipes Click Here 
21 Day Fix Recipes - Portioned controlled color coded meals Click Here
Whole30 Recipes - 30 days of focused eating and eliminating and adding back in foods after. Click Here


50 healthy SNACK Ideas: Click Here 

Remember don’t do them all. 
Pick 1 or 2. Then the next week add on another one and so on. Do what you can. 
Always keep in mind even a little food prep is better than nothing. ~ Sara 



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