After taking all that time to plan out your meals for the week, I want to caution you about a few meal prep mistakes I’ve seen others make.
You need to commit to this meal prepping thing. If you buy food but then when the time comes you don’t follow through and cook it, the food will spoil and you’ll end up just throwing it away and wasting food and money. And then you’ll have to buy something else to eat, which wastes even more money. And it is likely that in the moment, you’ll order take out or make something that’s not as healthy as you would have otherwise.
Trying to be too fancy
One of the ways to avoid wasting food is by NOT getting too fancy with the recipes. Roast leg of lamb with an apricot reduction and a side of zuppa toscana sounds a-maz-ing. But it’s not really practical for an every day dish. Keep your weekday meals simple and quick and you will be far more likely to stick to your plan. See the end of this article for three recipes you can download that are quick and easy to add to your meal rotations.
Not knowing “thine self”
In our household, when we prep our lunches for the week, it’s the exact. same. meal. And it’s the exact same meal for months at a time. In colder months we have steel cut oats with ground turkey. In warmer months it’s salad with grilled chicken. That’s it. Keeping it simple lowers the barrier to preparing those lunches ahead of time. And that works for us. However! If you can’t handle eating the same thing for lunch for months on end, DON’T. Don’t prepare a week’s worth of salads, and then on Wednesday decide you’re sick of them and make a run up to Chipotle instead. If you need some variety, try making extra food when you make your dinners so you can have enough left over for lunches during the week.
Keep a backup meal handy
Even the best laid plan only lasts until the first arrow leaves the bow. Maybe despite the planning, you forgot a critical ingredient. Or perhaps due to traffic you are running late and don’t have time to cook the meal you had previously planned on. Or you’re just having a horrible day and spending time cooking is NOT what you want to do. This is when having a backup meal is really handy. A backup meal should be something that you can cook up quickly, but also lasts a decent amount of time should you not need it right away. On days we are “not feeling it”, we turn to chicken sausage that we heat up on our Foreman Grill. Just grill them up for a bit, and eat with ketchup. Not the healthiest meal in terms of micronutrients, but because it is chicken, it’s lower in fat than bratwurst, and much lower in calories. Still super delicious and satisfying though!
Hopefully these tips can help you stick to your meal plan. Don’t forget to download your free recipes!
For more tips on avoiding meal prep mistakes, check out my Ultimate Guide to Meal Prep.