When it comes to healthy weight loss, there’s no better motto than “be prepared” — especially when it comes to food. Not only will the habit of preparing food ahead of time make mealtimes more efficient, you’ll never have to worry about a hunger emergency when the key ingredients to your favourite meal or snack are readily available. While it definitely requires planning and organization, healthy meal prep for weight loss is a lot easier and more accessible than you might think.
Decide Which Foods You’d Like to Prep
Prepping food for weight loss is that much easier when you can narrow down the types of food or meals you’d like to prepare ahead of time. For example, if you find yourself skipping out on the first meal of the day due to lack of time in the mornings, consider focusing your prepping efforts on nutrient-dense breakfast foods. If you’re always scrambling to assemble a healthy dinner at the end of the day, keep food prep centred around simple and nutritious dinner ingredients.
Schedule Time for Food Prep
Whether you plan on filling the fridge with single ingredients that can be combined with others to make healthy meals, or you plan on making a selection of easy prepared meals for your weight loss journey, you’ll need time to get everything ready for storage. Make the experience a pleasurable one by listening to music or a podcast while you work, or by enlisting the help of family members.
Create a Grocery List — And Stick to It!
Once you have an idea about the kinds of food you’d like to prepare, it’s time to make a grocery list. When all the ingredients are written out, rearrange them so that each item is ordered by its location in the supermarket (or by store, if you’ll be shopping at multiple locations.) Before heading to the store, take stock of your own inventory and make note of what’s available, you might find you already have some of the ingredients on your list.
Keep Prepped Food Fresh
To make sure food stays fresh, get in the habit of labelling and dating all prepped ingredients for storage. Rotate newly prepared food to the back of the fridge and pull older items to the front. Not only will this keep food from spoiling, this organizational tactic will help you determine how much of any prepared ingredient you’ll actually use over the course of several days, leaving you with less food waste at the end of the week.
Easy Food Prep Ideas for Weight Loss
By keeping the fridge stocked with a selection of nutritious choices, you’ll never be more than 5 minutes away from a satisfying snack or meal. For maximum satiety, aim to combine high fibre ingredients with lean protein and healthy fats.
- Cut-up fruit or veggies (store in an airtight container with a layer of paper towel to absorb extra moisture)
- Cooked grains (can also be frozen in individual portions)
- Cooked beans or chickpeas
- DIY refrigerator pickles
- Salad dressing and dips
- Cooked chicken breast (or other lean protein)
- Fresh herbs (store delicate herbs such as basil or oregano in a glass or vase in the fridge)
- Salad greens (wash and store in rolled-up paper towel)
- A selection of store bought and homemade sauces (such as tomato, romesco, barbecue, peanut-ginger, and zesty herb)
- Soft- or hard-boiled eggs
- Baked oatmeal (customize with your favourite fruit)