Is Meal Prep for Me?

I know what you’re thinking, meal prep…. that isn’t for me. Trust me, I thought the same thing. I was like man, that’s going to take me all day. I don’t have time for that. That’s too much work. I’m not a good cook. Etc. Etc. Whatever excuse you come up with is garbage. I am telling you that you do have time, it’s not that much work and you can cook.

I started meal prepping for myself over 4 years ago when meal prep wasn’t even a thing yet. I know it can seem daunting and intimidating but don’t overthink it. I would always tell myself “keep it simple, stupid.”  We eat to survive, we do not survive to eat. Remember that. The beauty of meal prepping for yourself is that you can alter it to your individual liking and your dietary needs. Meal prepping isn’t just for the macro trackers, the keto lovers or the paleo worshipers. It’s for you and it’s for me. I had no idea what macros were when I started meal prepping. The Keto and Paleo diets didn’t exist. I meal prepped what I thought were whole and healthy meals.

Let’s talk about the benefits of meal prepping and why you should start today. Meal prepping saves you time. Pick a day, establish a system and get ‘er done. I typically meal prep Saturday nights or Sunday mornings for my 5-day work week. I make at least 15 meals and it takes me under two hours in the kitchen. So, two hours once a week verse one or two hours everyday trying to cook a meal for myself. I’m not sure about you but I don’t have the time to cook everyday between work, school and the gym. Benefit number two is accountability. You tailor your meal prep to fit your dietary needs. Track your macros? Cool, me too. Follow Keto or Paleo? That’s awesome, meal prep that ish. Don’t give a hoot about following a specific nutrition plan? That’s fine, do you. Meal prep anyways. By having your meals ready to go you are adhering to your goals and maintaining accountability. If you already have lunch prepped and packed, then you are less likely to give in to those office donuts or daily sub shop run. So, then there’s the economical benefit. Meal prepping is cost effective. First of all, the most obvious is that you won’t be eating out everyday when you have your meals prepped. Secondly, if you plan your meals ahead of time, as I do, when you hit the grocery store you don’t stray from your list.

If you are a control freak ( most of us), meal prepping will totally be your jam. When you are making your own meals and planning things out in advance you are owning the whole process like a boss. I enjoy the time I spend in the kitchen. It is a stress relief for me. I throw on some gangsta rap and get it done. If you can figure out how to  make it fun then it won’t seem like a chore. Get creative, experiment and try new things.

A few pro tips… Pick a date and time that works for you every week. Yes, I am telling you to time block your meal prep. Most of us manage to make it to the gym at the same time every week, this is no different. It is about being consistent. Never go into the grocery store without a list and/or hungry! Just don’t do it, ok?  Clean as you go. Seriously. Your welcome for that one. Most proteins once cooked are good for 5-7 days. Like I said 5 days is my sweet spot. Seafood I do not hold longer than 3 days. Bulk food containers can be found at most grocery stores these days or Amazon for really cheap. I am slowly converting to all glass these days but that is a post for another time. The best part? We belong to a huge community made up of people that we can share recipes and ideas with. I encourage anyone struggling with their meal prep to reach out in the X-Project Community Facebook page and ask questions. Tag me in a post with a question, or share your tips and tricks with other members. Not everyone has the same type of community we have, take advantage of it!

My last bit of advice is for you weekend warriors. Yeah you. Business all week then rage all weekend? Yep, been there.  Remember that 80/20 rule everyone talks about? Well that is where the weekend comes into play for me. I meal prep M-F, so what do I do on Saturday and Sunday? Typically I adhere to my plan and allow myself one freebie meal a day. NO, that is not a cheat day or a cheat meal. It is simply a meal or couple drinks that I don’t track. That may be going to brunch with the girls or going up to moms for spaghetti and meatballs. It just depends. Sometimes it means a fully loaded basic AF latte from Starbucks. It is about developing good habits and consistency but you can’t let it define you. It’s ok to be human and eat the cake sometimes. More good stuff to come!

-Dani Disney-