For some reason meal prepping took me a long time to get into. If you resonate, or haven't tried it's okay I totally get it! Seeing all the perfectly done up lunches on Instagram, separated by food group just seemed way too overwhelming to me, even as a nutritionist. The idea of having to cut and prep it all ahead of time, wasn't something that felt right for me. I honestly am a pretty lazy eater. I like things I can whip up fast! So, if you are curious about meal prepping and looking to get started, these are my tips to make it less daunting! The secret? BATCH COOKING!

Here's how to do it!

1) Pick a meal prep day! This will keep you on track. Sundays normally work great since for most people Monday is the start of their work week.

2) Instead of thinking about meal planning for 5 workdays, start with 3 or 4. This will be less daunting in the beginning and will leave room for a day or two of dinner leftovers or to buy your lunch.

3) Batch cook! This IS the biggest tip. Think of meals that you can make a large amount of. Think stir-fry, chili, salad, pasta, lasagna, soup, casserole or stew. Picking one meal that you can make a lot of is key for meal prep, well it basically is the meal prep!

4) Have 5 or 6 of these recipes on rotation to keep things easy. So, start with week one, pick a meal, batch cook it for the week and divide it into containers. Write it down and continue to do this for a month of two. Then you will have a wonderful repertoire of meals that you’ve tested out, like to eat and can continue to prepare.

5) Eventually it will just become part of your routine. You will know that Sunday is meal prep day, you’ll have a history of batched meals you like, and you’ll start to get creative with it!

6) If you are someone who gets bored of eating the same thing, you can think of foods that you can eat in multiple ways. Let’s say you want to prep chili, get some wraps so that for 1 or 2 days you can eat it in a wrap with veggies, or with some seed crackers, think of ways to switch it up.

That’s it! If meal prepping is new to you, start with one week. Try it out and meal prep in a way that works for you, turn up the music, drink some wine, have some fun! :)

It doesn’t have to look perfect and it doesn’t have to be in expensive containers or separated into different food groups. Think of it as just ONE BIG MEAL.

Looking for batch cooking ideas? I’ve put together 5 meals with free recipes that you can batch cook for lunches. They are all vegan and gluten free, feel free to add whatever you’d like to make them your own. Quinoa Burrito Bowl, Tahini Lentil Salad and Creamy Pasta to name a few! Use code "FreeRecipes" on checkout! :) Happy meal prepping!

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Emily Manuel, B.A, RHN, CYT

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