I Love Food! I'm sure you do, too. However, I don’t like to snack during the day. I like to wait until I get really hungry and eat a huge amount of food for a meal. Like, I could order $20 worth of food at McDonald’s and finish them all the food in one sitting (I certainly have done it!). I used to love being able to eat so much food for meals, but this eating habit actually became a big problem for me. I also put on so much weight in the past couple of years because of it.
Earlier this year, I finally realized that this habit is not good for me, and I need to do something to fix it. That's why I start meal prepping. I would like to say, I'm definitely not a clean or healthy eater. I do meal prep solely to help me change my eating habit by controlling my portion. I have been meal prepping for months now and really love it. If you are someone who works 40 hours/five days a week, and you want to meal prep but think you don’t have time for it, maybe my experience could help you!
So here is my key to meal prep for a week: keep the recipes simple but have variety.
Let's start with the first meal of the day. For my breakfast during work days, since I love to sleep in, I don't have too much time in the morning to actually make food before I leave for work. Luckily, most days when I don’t have meetings in the morning, I can make something quick at work. My favorite breakfast to have in the office are bagel with cream cheese or toast with peanut butter. I love to toast them until they are golden brown and become very crispy. In the morning that I’m busy for just feeling lazy, I would just have a bowl of cereal or even a breakfast bar to make sure my stomach isn’t empty until lunchtime (and so it would growl during the meetings, too).
I get to have more varieties for my breakfast on the weekend because I actually get time to make it. I switch my menu among a BEC burrito/sandwich, a tuna omelet, or the oriental pancake with an fried egg. On the lazier weekend morning, if I want to sleep in and don’t feel like cooking, I would simply heat up some frozen hash brown patties in the oven and scramble two eggs in the microwave. These are all so easy to make!
Lunch and dinner
Lunch and dinner are the bigger problems for me. After coming home from an eight-hour workday, I usually don't feel like cooking (shoutout to the people who cook after work!). This is another reason why meal prep is a perfect solution for me! I set the days for when I will actually be cooking, which are Wednesdays and Sundays. So really, I would only cook on one work day. During the Wednesdays and Sundays, I would make enough food for six meals, which covers lunch and dinner for three days. And in order to add in more varieties, I would make two different dishes for lunch and dinner, so I wouldn't be eating the same thing for six meals straight.
The main ingredient for my meal prep is rice for my carb. I usually switch among chicken, fish (tilapia), tofu, and shrimp with different vegetables for my protein and greens. Different combination can make my food taste really different, especially if I pair them with different sauce or spices. For example, if I pan fried some tofu with soy sauce this week, I would make tofu with kimchi the next time. This way, even though I'm using the same ingredients, my meals would still have varieties. If I want to change things up a bit, I would also make chicken curry or bologna pasta.
On the days that I really don’t feel like cooking, I would just get the rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. I can easily make a chicken salad with it or just quickly roast some vegetables in the oven to eat it with. The rotisserie chicken is super tasty and can last me for so many meals!
Another thing that helps me with my meal prep is the app, My Fitness Pal. It helps me track how much food I put into my body, which helps controls my portion. In addition to that, I can also plan my meals ahead by entering ingredients I plan on cooking the next time. This saves me a ton of time on grocery shopping because I know exactly what I need to get. I can also create my own meal or recipe, so when I’m making the same dish again, I just have to select my saved meal/recipe and not have to enter everything again.
I love this way of meal prepping, and my eating habit had changed so much since I started. I no longer need to order a burger, 10-piece chicken nuggets, and a large fries every time. I still get full with the amount of food I eat now, and I actually feel better because I don't get too full. Still, my love for food does not change. Learning to have everything in moderation is what I learned the most from this experience. And I now realize that I don’t need to overeat to prove my love for it.