Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My Top 5 Meal Prep Tips

Vegan Meal Prep Tips

Welcome Vegan Friends!! :)

I get a lot of questions regarding how I meal prep, and what my top tips are! SO, I decided to give you my top 5, in hopes that you will learn how simple it can be to implement in your life! I highly recommend meal prepping, especially if you have a full-time job, you're a busy mom, or go to school! This can seriously be such a game changer for your health, and really keep you on track with portion control, saving you money (no more going out to lunch everyday!), and REALLY saving a TON of time. When I would cook nightly, I would (on average) spend at least 45 min to an hour doing so--prep, cooking, and dishes/cleaning. Instead, I spend about 2 1/2 hours on average every Sunday, or whatever day I decide to prep!

That is saving about 7 hours per week...helloooo you can fit in your workout then, or homework, or work on your dream!! <3


So, with that, here are my Top 5 Meal Prep Tips:

1. Buy in Bulk: 

Go to Costco to save money, and get items like Quinoa, Extra Firm tofu, and bananas that you can break in half and freeze! There is a ton of produce there, but in my opinion, I would get most of it from Whole Foods. If you drink Almond/Soy Milk, you can also get it in bulk there as well. It's much cheaper and it does not expire fast!

When I shop at Whole Foods, I get a BIG container of baby spinach, and I'll take 2 gallon freezer bags and freeze them. I add a handful of spinach and 1/2 frozen banana to my superfood smoothie every single morning--you won't have spinach that goes bad, and you'll have a nutrient-dense breakfast!

21 Day Fix Portion Control


2. Get the Best Containers

I use my portion control containers to measure everything out for each food group: Veggies, Fruit, Carbs, Protein, Seeds/Dressing, & Healthy Fats. I love these containers because I don't have to count calories, I just follow my Hammer & Chisel meal plan.

I do recommend glass meal prep containers if you are concerned about the plastic melting, and for longevity. Glass containers are easier to clean, but they do get heavy. There are SO many options on amazon, especially if you are meal prepping in bulk and bring several meals to work with you. In that case, I'd recommend getting a meal prep bag that is insulated and can support all your meals--plastic will be lighter for hauling. This is something else you can get at Costco--there are both quality plastic container sets AND glass!





3. Make your List Ahead of Time

Meal prep for me takes at least 2 hours. I always have a list BEFORE going to the grocery store, because if I don't, shopping takes forever...and I always go over my budget. Having a list (and even pricing everything beforehand), can help you stay on task, get in and out fast, and not spend nearly as much as you would if you went into a store empty handed.

If you'd like some easy vegan meal prep ideas click here--they aren't the cleanest, but if you scroll down further on my blog, there are TONS!


Vegan Meal Prep Recipes


4. Change it Up! 

The most common complaint I hear about meal prep (besides it taking "too long," even though cooking every night takes WAY longer throughout the week), is that it's bland. Well, if you're eating clean and your food isn't slathered in sauce and salt, it's not going to taste like butter and crap. #sorrynotsorry

BUT, there's a way to make it better--do your research. There are many amazing brands out there that have "no salt added" spices. Some are: Mrs. Dash (available at Target or online), Flavor God (amazon), and my personal favorite: Nutritional Yeast (which is always at Whole Foods in the bulk section OR a shaker container, and now even at Safeway!). 

There is also Himalayan Rock Salt, which is much better for you than table salt. According to bodybuilding.com, "Rather than using the evaporating seawater technique, this salt is mined from the earth, making it rich in the 84 minerals you need to keep your immune system strong. People who drank water containing this salt improved their respiratory conditions, organ functions, and connective tissues, found a study conducted at the University of Graz, Austria. They also slept better, had more energy, and could concentrate better." Interesting, right?!

I personally love using cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast for my meal prep. Also, if you add a bit of paprika and nutritional yeast to your tofu scramble, it gives it an "eggier" (is that a word?) taste, so it's more like a breakfast meal! I also add 1/4 avocado to my lunch (which is usually sweet potatoes, tofu, and veggies) to give it an amazing flavor, and some hot sauce! I am a sriracha addict, but I've cut it out for now--I use Cholula instead!

Also, you don't have to JUST have tofu and veggies for meal prep! I love using Beyond Beef Crumbles, Meatless Meatballs, ZOODLES, Engine 2 Red Bell Pepper Marinara (it's oil free!), Vegan Mac N Cheeze with zucchini instead of pasta, stuffed bell peppers, tofu scrambles, and more! If you get bored, simply try a couple new recipes for the week! :)

5. Get a Meal Prep Friend!

As lame as this may sound, you don't have to be alone in this! I actually connect with my fitness buddies online! I have two girls who are on my team, and we talk nutrition, meal prep, give recipes, offer advice, and check in with our workouts every single day. So even if you don't have a supportive spouse, or your friends don't want to come over and cook with you (you can always blast music or watch a movie while you do it!), you always have someone there for you--just a click away!

If you don't have anyone to help out, I've got ya covered! You can always email me, add me to Facebook, and message me if you have questions or want someone to help guide you on your fitness journey :)

You can email me at LaurenMcHugh14@gmail.com or check out my last blog if you'd like to apply for my LOVE YOURSELF Bootcamp that begins on February 1st! Meal prep tips, nutrition, fitness, AND personal growth are all covered :)

I hope this was helpful! If so, please share it with a friend <3

Happy Prepping!! :)


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