How I grocery shop and meal prep for a successful, stress-free week.
Jamie Staley, NASM-CPT, Pn1
When I say things like “grocery shopping” and “meal prepping” do you get giddy with excitement or feel a sense of dread?
It’s ok to feel either one. Feel your feelings. However, if these areas of your life could use a little help, pull up a chair and let’s see what we can do about it.
Let me first start with a few disclaimers:
- You do not need to spend all day Sunday preparing for the week ahead. Four hours in the kitchen is not my idea of a good time. If you like it, go for it, but that is not what this article is about.
- I am going to share my method with you in the hopes that some things that I do may be helpful or applicable to your life. Your life is not my life, so if you prefer a different method, you go girl.
- If changing too much seems overwhelming, do one small thing and see if it works!
- You do not have to grocery shop and/or meal prep on Sundays. If you have a day in the middle of the week that is less busy or more ideal, do it!
Prep and Grocery Shopping
Here’s the deal, guys. I do not always love grocery shopping. I think it’s a pain and I would rather take a nap on the couch. To make your trip to the grocery store successful, put in the proper thought ahead of time.
- Plan out your week. If you are going to be rushing home at 6:00 PM and have 20 minutes or less to get dinner on the table, do not choose recipes that take three hours to make. Start with breakfast. What do you (and/or your family) enjoy? Grab and go options are fine here. Then plan lunches. And, finally, dinners. Take your calendar into account and be realistic.
- Use Pinterest for meal and snack ideas. Are you sick of making the same stuff over and over again? Consult Pinterest. Bonus: if you have picky eaters in the house, create a shared board where they can add their own ideas as well.
- Put all needed ingredients on your shopping list. As you identify what you want to eat for the week ahead, put all ingredients on your shopping list. (I make my list by department (non-food, pantry, frozen, dairy, meat, and produce/deli.) Write your meals on another sheet of paper or at the top of your shopping list and then all needed items below. Save your meal list to post on the fridge or to refer back to during the week to stick to your plan.
- Check your pantry, freezer, and fridge to help you make your meal list. Is there anything about to expire? Are there items you forgot about and could use? Do you have all the items on hand for a meal that you didn’t already realize? Reduce waste and use what you already have before adding more items to your list.
- Save time by using the same ingredients in multiple meals. If you are using chicken for a soup, make extra and put it in a wrap or on top of a salad. Roast enough veggies to have as a side for two nights instead of one. This saves a lot of time, mess, and reduces food waste.
- Eat before you go. I know this is simple, but seriously do not go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. We all know how that goes. Stick to your list.
Now that you have everything you need at home, let’s dive into what meal prep can look like for you!
- Choose your option. Some people do a full meal prep, meaning they prepare and store every meal and snack for the next four to five days. Some people only prepare dinners. Others choose to prep by doing little tasks like cutting veggies, making sauces, etc. and then assembling the meals on the day they eat them. All of these options are right. Find what works best for you. If a total meal prep is too much right now, pick the meal that is the most hectic and start there. If you have picky eaters in your house, start with lunches because those can be individualized easier than dinners.
- Make a list of all the tasks you need to do. Go through your meal list and decide what you are going to do for each one.
- Set aside a chunk of time and make it enjoyable. Listen to a podcast or music, catch up on your favorite TV show, involve your spouse or kids for some family time, etc. Make it fun, regardless of how much time you are spending on prep.
- Make sure everything is labeled and stored appropriately. This helps you find things easier when it comes time to eat and ensures that everyone else in the house knows what’s up for grabs and what is for meals. Labeling snacks clearly also means kids can go and help themselves without having to ask you first!
How Can I Help?
If tackling your nutrition on your own feels too intimidating and confusing, I can help! I am a Level 1 Certified Nutrition Coach through Precision Nutrition, one of the most reputable nutrition companies in the world.
I will coach you through individualized action steps to meet your goals and help you formulate a plan for change that fits your life, instead of trying to make your life fit a plan. I’ll give you the accountability, real information, and guidance to make lasting nutritional change.
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat about your goals!