Happy 2019! New Year New You and you want to change ALL the things. Let us be the first to tell you, please don't! At least not ALL of them right away...
Here at CCN we value long term consistency over short term intensity. And it's this long term consistency that will yield results. No, not in one week or even 10 days. There's no "fat flush" or "quick detox" here. Little by little your habits are what push you forward and change you so that it just becomes who you are and what you do. Eating healthy - little to no thought required.
Meal prep can be a daunting task and one might think that it means hours upon hours in the kitchen every week. And I can personally tell you this just isn't so. I spend about an hour every weekend getting myself set up for the week. It's become a part of my Sunday afternoon and I know that small amount of time spent will only set me up for success later in the week.
So what do I make in that hour? Over the course of my CCN life, I have narrowed it down to things that my family and I consistently eat. This may look different for you and I suggest you try meal prepping different things until you get down to the tried and true food items that you enjoy and will actually eat. Because there's no sense in prepping things that will just go bad in the fridge while waiting for you to eat it. Which you won't. Because you don't even like it. I'm looking at you kale salad...
Meal prep in my house includes:
1. Smoothies - smoothies are non-negotiable. It's an easy breakfast and it puts me on the right track right from my first meal. I am all too familiar with one "less than" choice at breakfast leading to a whole day of "less than" choices. So start strong!
As far as prep goes, I make all my smoothies for the week in Ziploc quart size freezer bags. Everything but the liquid goes into the bag and they all go into the freezer. I pull out one bag on my way to the gym and by the time I get home (30ish minutes later) it's defrosted on the counter (still in the bag) just enough to get it nice and smooth in my blender with no extra effort. Just dump, add my almond milk, and a scoop of collagen peptides and I'm on my way!
2. Muffins - this is a quick and easy snack I like to have on hand for weekday mornings. The plus side with muffins is I don't have to make them every weekend. It's every 2-3 weeks depending on how many people are eating them... and for the record, I don't like to share! I pop a full batch in a Ziploc bag and throw in the freezer and pull out 2 at a time to reheat in the microwave on my way out the door.
3. Breakfast Burritos - my kids LOVE breakfast burritos and I LOVE being able to make them a hot breakfast in the morning. What I don't love is making it all from scratch every single day. Very few mom's have time in the morning to be a short order cook. So I (or my husband) will assembly line style make 4-6 breakfast burritos to freeze for the week. Ours only have eggs and cheese in them (picky kids - I choose my battles) but you could add salsa, veggies, beans, etc.) Pull out of the freezer, wrap in a damp paper towel, and a few minutes on 60% power in the microwave and you've got an instant breakfast that isn't full of sugar or heavily processed carbs. So easy my 7 year old can do it... and does. Winning all around.
4. Hard boiled eggs - this is super quick to do in my Instant Pot but I don't do it every week, just when I'm in the mood for eggs. But you totally could because it's 5 minutes on manual with a manual pressure release and you've got easy peel eggs quicker than you could run to the store and buy some.
None of these things are difficult or time consuming. They are standard, basic items that are my baseline for success. I know if I only have these on hand, I'm already ahead of the game. Find your baseline and what works for you. And if you've never meal prepped before, pick 1 or 2 things and consistently make those. When those become second nature, add a few more. Meal prep should simplify your life, not add more stress. Don't overthink it!