I have written more “meal prep” posts over the years than I care to remember. They all say the same thing, with new containers. So why repeat it again and again? Because it’s the simplest way to get a handle on your diet. Period.
Meal planning sounds like such a drudge, but it doesn’t have to be. The image above is our refrigerator for the week, with a few additional things we pull from the pantry or fridge like premade oatmeal/banana/protein powder pancakes, ONE Bars, raisins, fruit, eggs, and maybe Dave’s Killer Bread (the bread du jour…we’re not married to anything). It’s unfortunate that the basics aren’t sexy. There’s no B.S. Instagram tag for it, there’s no Facebook ad for it, and no one can make money off of it, because there’s no gimmick.
Just whole foods. Sure, I mentioned ONE Bars and a type of bread, but that’s not every week and it’s not the majority of what we eat.
No, I didn’t cook the pork, chicken (bought that premade at Costco), or Italian Beef today. Once a month I bulk cook proteins in less than two hours and fill the freezer so each week all we do is pull fresh/frozen meats out and thaw for the week. Usually, bulk cooking day is as much as I can fit in the oven (I like baking ground beef), on the stovetop, and in the pressure cooker. I can cook about 16 pounds of meat in a few hours. Cook, split into freezer bags, label, and store.
We cook one to two kinds: rice and potatoes, varying the types of each, and then we have oatmeal and bread as well.
Again we cook two kinds, and pair them with a big salad (two this week).
A bunch of brightly colored whole foods fill our fridge for grab and go’s for breakfast and lunch. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we eat dinner at the box, so we still have high quality, very yummy eats for that. Tuesday and Thursday we eat dinner at home so that’s where the fish comes in, and sometimes something more creative. It’s not that hard…but it’s the secret to success. We tend to eat out once a weekend and do whatever we want.
Fail to plan -> plan to fail. Most of the complaints I hear regarding food are a last-minute “I went through a drive-through because I didn’t have food”, or “I had to eat out”. The “I had to eat out” is generally bull-puckey in my mind because I can find good options at almost any restaurant. And if it has to be a fast-food joint, then go to Publix to the deli counter…there are always better choices. It may seem like a hassle now, but if it eliminates excuses, then it’s a solution, not a hassle.
“But I’m retired, I don’t need to meal prep because I’m home more”. Well, then do it! The problem is: that’s not what I hear. I hear “I didn’t have anything to eat at home so I just went out”. Eliminate the excuses, guys. Have a plan.
The plan works if you use it every day. Monday: work lunch out – the plan is to know the menu or be a fast reader. There are always good options…be brave and make confident choices. Being a “joiner” doesn’t help you reach your goals. Over-plan = over-achieve.
You are what you eat is an understatement.
Food is fuel, but it’s so much more.
The dinner table is where some of the greatest ideas have come to light.
The kitchen where meals are made is a fun, loud social environment where everyone can have a chore.
Ed cuts the potatoes and chops vegetables. (Oh, and pulls the heavy trays out of the hot oven 😉).
It is what you make it.
Maybe it’s time for a change?