Eating healthy isn’t exactly an easy task, but it’s something that we really need to do if we want to keep ourselves in shape. The biggest problem that I see a lot of us encounter that hinders us from eating healthy is because of meal preparation.
Back then, I wasn’t so fond of spending hours in the kitchen every day. I felt like I had more important things to do. Everything changed when I decided that I wanted to keep eating healthy and I realized that I can only achieve that if I really take the time to prepare my meals with ample variation. Since then, I decided that I have to be creative with my approach. Let’s just say that I’ve become a self-proclaimed meal connoisseur after a few months of doing this! Definitely an achievement, for me.
However, most of us would always have reasons and excuses for why we will choose not to spend a few hours in the kitchen even on a Sunday in order to prepare for a healthy week ahead. So, I want to share with you the extra push that I needed in order to get myself cooking in the kitchen. Below, I will state the problems that I encountered and how I managed to solve it.
#1 Problem: Little to no variety.
This is self-explanatory. Nobody wants to eat the same thing 5 days in a row. Not only will I not enjoy every meal that I’m eating, but it will really discourage me on this journey of staying healthy. However, nobody really has the time to individually prepare 15 different meals in one day for the week ahead. That would require me to stay in the kitchen for almost the entire day and that’s not fun at all.
Cook at least 2 breakfast options and at least 4 lunch and dinner options for the next 5 days. Consume this back to back in order to break free of repetition. Make sure that the taste varies, a savory and sweet option may be a good way to start. Take note of the bases of your meals as well, you may want to stay away from flavors that are too similar to each other for your options.
#2 Problem: It’s expensive to be cooking for just one person.
For those who are married, in a relationship or those who live with friends may find it easier to cook in batches. However, for those who live alone, it can be such a pain because you can’t really buy your ingredients in small batches.
Make sure that the ingredients that you’re going to buy can be frozen and can still be good for future use. This can even save you time for the next few weeks if you can find a way to use it for a different meal.
If you don’t like this idea, you can always find a friend or a co-worker who has the same food tastes as you. You can both agree to shop together and take turns in cooking for each other. That way, on some days that you don’t feel like prepping your meals, you can always call someone else to do it for you and vice versa.
#3 Problem: The overwhelming grocery store.
We’ve all experienced this. There was a time that I went to a grocery store, really excited, thinking that I would breeze my way through the aisle and be able to pick up healthy options for my weekly meal preparation. I had big ideas in mind, only to find out that after about 2 times of going back and forth, I only had about 5 things in my cart.
Make a list and never go to the grocery unprepared. This meal preparation 101 is all about planning beforehand and that’s what’s going to make it successful. Having a list saves you time strolling around the grocery aisles for things you need and don’t need. The best thing about pre-planning the ingredients is that you can make sure that you really have meal variations throughout the week. Two birds in one stone!
#4 Problem: My weekends are for fun and travels, not cooking!
Yes, I know. Weekends are sacred for most of us because it’s probably the only time that we get to enjoy the things that we couldn’t do during weekdays because of work-related stuff. It’s probably the only time that you get to enjoy your hobbies or anything that you enjoy doing (that includes resting too!). But the thing is, we have to get past this idea and motivate ourselves that meal preparation is really important if we want to have a healthy lifestyle.
Whenever you’re feeling up for it, double or triple your meal preps to make up for days that you know you can’t afford to go the extra mile and cook. We all have days wherein we’re feeling extra and days wherein we’re feeling like we don’t want to do anything at all. Make the most out of the good days!
#5 Problem: Leftover food or too little food.
Wasting food is like wasting your effort when you prepared the meals beforehand. Your first few weeks would be a trial and error with the portions. You can either end up with too little food or too much food and that’s normal.
Master the art of creating another meal with leftovers. Maybe you can whip up some porridge or add dry ingredients to a salad? Be creative!
Now, there’s barely any excuse left for you not to have healthy eating habits.