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4 Simple Steps to Meal Planning and Prepping

By Samantha Boden
Posted On Aug 26, 2016
4 Simple Steps to Meal Planning and Prepping

New You spoke to the founder of Whole Health Designs and Whole Foods workshop leader, Lisa Consiglio Ryan. Lisa has just released her new book, Go Clean, Sexy You ($16, amazon.com), offering over 100 delicious recipes with a holistic approach.

Lisa says, “Meal planning and prepping… these words might want to make you cringe, but when it comes to healthy living, you will need to embrace them. I used to wing it each week, struggling to decide on what to make for dinner or forgetting my lunch at work. These acts lead to lots of last-minute take-outs which was hard on my belly as well as my wallet. Once I learned to plan and prep my meals, life got easier, not just for me but for my whole family.”

Here are Lisa’s 4 simple steps to meal planning and prepping:

 Step 1: Pick your planning day. Schedule it in your phone, Google calendar, and/or in the datebook. Commit to it and do it. Adjust your plan to fit your lifestyle.  Just like scheduling a massage or dentist appointment, make this happen each week for the most part. Consistency and routine will help form the habit.

Step 2: Try planning for three days of meals; breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I find that it can get completely overwhelming if you plan for every day of the week. With planning for three days especially for dinners, it keeps things manageable, and you can use the leftovers.  I make granola for breakfast and eat a salad or leftover meal for lunch. So I just need to plan dinner which makes things easy during the hectic months (i.e. beginning of the school year, spring break, etc…).

Step 3: When it’s time to prep, have your menu planner and ingredient list handy.  Gather all your ingredients and utensils on the counter.  Foil and Ziploc bags are the basics and the easiest to use so have them ready, too.  Get out containers with the lids for easy storage. Pick your time to prep and set a timer.  Donne on a pretty apron (I adore mine from Anthropologie).  And don’t forget your favorite tunes.  MC Yogi and Jack Johnson are my go-to’s. Follow the recipes at the point where you either will have to put on the stove or add certain ingredients right before serving.  Then pack up your goods and store in fridge or freezer. If you are super organized, you can label each meal so you can just reach in the fridge and get what you need without uncovering the contents.

Step 4: Store all leftovers in airtight, leak-proof clear, airtight containers or re-sealable bags.  Divide leftovers into small, flat containers so that they cool faster. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking. And there’s no need to wait for piping-hot foods to cool down before storing them? Modern refrigerators can handle the heat.

With these first steps, you will feel in control of your life. No one likes that 5 PM craziness with kids complaining they are hungry, or your blood sugar dropping, resulting in you reaching for the phone to dial the local pizza shop. Embrace planning and prepping and your body will thank you!