As you can see in the above picture, I’ve gotten a little obsessed with meal prepping…from my calculation, I practically don’t have to cook a single meal for the next month or so. The best part is that I have approximately 10 different meals and snacks prepared in my freezer, ready for me to take to work or heat up once I get home. It’s like having prepackaged TV dinners in my freezer, but it’s all healthy and delicious food catered to my diet.
You may wonder how I have the time to cook all that food – and it’s actually a relatively simple answer: I don’t. I most often reserve 2-3 days out of the month to cook at least 3-6 meals (cooking all day), but it helps me in the long run: by reserving a weekend (or a long weekend) to shop and cook, it frees me up to do other fun, productive things the rest of the month. I practically don’t have to think about it most of the time.
Surprisingly, cooking all that food is relatively cheap – in a month, I only spend about $200 in groceries. For a WHOLE MONTH. In NYC/Jersey standards, that’s insanely cheap, especially when you’re on a budget.
The keys to being successful in any diet or lifestyle change are consistency, strategy and efficiency. There were a few reasons as to why I did this:
1) to be healthier
2) to be more consistent with my macro-nutrient diet
3) to save money
4) to save time
You may think that’s a lot of time to shop and cook meals for a month, but let’s look at it this way – how many times do you shop for food in a month? Once a week? Twice a month? And typically these are done on weekends…so if you consolidate all the time you spent grocery shopping from 4 times a week to once a month (by buying all your ingredients in less than one day), aren’t you technically using up precious weekend hours shopping every week when you can do a month’s worth in one day?
When I start planning meals, I typically think of what I’ve been craving to eat and then research recipes on how to make them. Then, I start playing around with the ingredient amounts on my trusty DotFit app (that tracks calories and macro-nutrients). If I’ve already created the recipe, I’ll look at other recipes that use similar ingredients so that I can buy multiple containers of each item, in order to simplify my grocery list.
For example, if I was craving 8-layer burritos (which I always do, since they’re so delicious…and I will be posting that recipe soon, I promise!), I know that two of the ingredients in my burritos are ground turkey and nonfat plain greek yogurt, which are common ingredients in many of my recipes. Therefore, I look through my list of existing recipes and choose another dish that contains both ground turkey and nonfat plain greek yogurt (like my Turkey Stroganoff or Moussaka recipes).
You may have also noticed that I’m able to calculate the number of servings and nutritional information of every recipe on this blog – with a food scale (which is essential in any diet – seriously!), my DotFit app, and some arithmetic skills, I’m able to ensure that every serving is specifically in my macros and calculating my daily caloric intake is a breeze.
Sounds complicated? It actually isn’t, once you get the hang of it. It took a lot of playing around with my DotFit app, figuring out what would fit best with my diet, months of research and now it seems like something I could easily do in my sleep.
Eating right isn’t rocket science – but once you get the right formula, you’ll be racing rocket fast to the weight loss finish line. 🙂