Save Time with Meal Prepping

Meal Prepping

 

Meal prepping might seem intimidating to someone who’s never done it before. Or it may seem super time consuming. However, it’s actually pretty straightforward – and ends up saving you a TON of time – once you get started!

As someone who used to hate meal prepping, but now actually enjoys it … I want to share the best tools that will help make you a meal prep MASTER!! These tools help make prepping food easy and fast.

I mean, no one wants to spend 2-3 hours meal prepping, right?

Make meal prep fast and easy with these 7 tools

Here are 7 tools that will make your meal prep fast, easy, and almost effortless.

1. Grocery List and Meal Planner

Never underestimate the power of writing out your food plan for the week and making a grocery list – AHEAD OF TIME.

It can save you a ridiculous amount of time at the store and will help you stay on track.

For Grocery Lists, there are two tools I found really helpful:

  1. The free family app called COZI. With COZI, you can not only create and share Cozi.Shopping-list-1shopping lists with family members, but also calendars and to-do lists – keeping you all on the same page and organized! Nice, huh?
  2. The 21 Day Fix grocery list is also another super helpful tool. Click here to download it.

For Meal Planners, I also have two tools I love:

  1. Here’s one that’s super easy to use and FREE! It’s my FitGirls_Weekly Workout & Meal Planner, you can download here.
  2. Also, if you want something a little more robust, you can use this online meal planner by clicking here.

FitGirl Tip for any program: Write out your meals for the week first before writing your grocery list.

2. Slow Cooker

Meal Prep Monday Slow Cooker

Slow cookers are an easy way to make flavorful dishes, like chili, stew, soup, a roast and oatmeal, in large quantities. Slow cooker meals also usually freeze well … so you can make extra portions to freeze for another week!  With the holiday season in full swing, now would be a great time to invest in one (or request it as a gift 😉 ).

3. Sectioned Containers

Meal-Prep-Monday-Containers

Having the right containers for your food is essential for staying organized. These ChefLand containers from Amazon.com come in all different sizes, are dishwasher safe, and are awesome for re-use!

What I love doing is using my 21 Day Fix containers to actually portion out my food and then I store my meals in containers like these.

4. Mason Jars

Meal Prep Monday Mason Jar

Mason jars are super cute right?! Especially when you use them for tea, lemonade, cocktails … or even as flower vases. On top of that they are SUPER practical when it comes to food prepping! Plus, they are pretty inexpensive and can be purchased by the dozen at stores like: Target, Walmart and online on Amazon!

5. Spices

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Chicken breast and asparagus are a meal prep masters go-to, however, it can get boring quickly if you don’t add flavor to it. Use spices and salt-free seasoning mixes to add loads of flavor without adding any calories. Mrs. Dash and Flavorgod have many different flavors to choose from and I love both!

6. Insulated Cooler

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You can now easily bring your food anywhere and everywhere when you have a proper (and cute!) insulated bag. Whether your schedule is full of traveling, you’re going somewhere for the weekend, you want to replace your current old school lunchbox … or you just want to avoid temptation at events, coolers like Jaxx FitPak or 6 Pack Bags change the game for all meal preppers!

BONUS TIP!

Order your groceries from Shipt (or a similar company).

It’s a “bonus tip” because it’s actually a service and it’s my new favorite tool! This is a fairly new service in the southeast but it’s RAIDLY expanding! Think of it like a Lyft or Uber for grocery delivery. It’s $99 for the entire year and all orders over $35 have free delivery. Dang! That’s a deal.

This saves me SO MUCH TIME and my time is well worth $99!

If you want to give it a try, use my link and get $10 back when you sign up! Click here to get your $10.

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I hope these tools help you stay on your meal prepping A-game!

If this helped you out, I would LOVE to see your meal prepping photos! Comment below with your new skills or email me at vanessa@toughknockouts.com.

OR find me on Instagram! @vbaviles

 

<3 Vanessa

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I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen,” right?

I just really started understanding what that really meant just a few years ago. Wish I did sooner because it’s SO TRUE.  Doing all those crunches and then eating whatever you want sure isn’t gonna do it. Pushing yourself in your cardio class and then indulging in sweets daily, definitely won’t do it.

 

Do not workout to eat.

Eat to workout.

Because in order to get rid of that stubborn belly fat that hides behind all the hard work we do through exercise, we MUST have a clean diet. And that clean diet FUELS your workouts.

So how do you eat clean? This doesn’t mean that you NEVER, EVER, EVER have a slice of pizza, have a piece of cake, or enjoy a glass of wine. It means eating wholesome, natural foods, 80-90% of the time and “fun (cheat) food” 10-20%” of the time.

And a good way to start eating clean is with a clean grocery list, but before I list my grocery list, here are some helpful tips.

Healthy Grocery List & Tips for grocery shopping

TIPS FOR GROCERY SHOPPING:
  • Get rid of the junk food – now! Time to go through your fridge and pantry and remove any temptations.
  • Do NOT go hungry! Because otherwise you’ll stray away from you healthy food list and start buying junk, or just over-buying.
  • If you’re on a budget, stick to the minimum requirements and look for coupons and deals at local stores.
    • This is a cool site: http://www.organicdeals.com/ (I also follow them on Facebook)
    • I also use the following free smartphone apps: Zipongo, coupons, fooducate.
  • Just because something is labeled “low-fat” “a good source of…” or “healthy” DOES NOT mean it is healthy!
  • Reduce alcohol consumption. It shuts down your metabolism, promotes fat storage (especially in women) and breaks down muscle tissue (makes you rethink your weekends, right?!) If you can’t go a few weeks without a drink, then … there may be other, bigger issues to resolve other than weight.
  • The following foods generally should be avoided or just set aside for your one or two cheat meals: soda (includes diet soda), fruit juice, sports drinks, cookies, chips, crackers, candy, ice cream, pudding, flavored yogurt, deli meats, processed meats, white breads and pastas, sugary cereals, and any packaged processed foods that are full of sugar and processed, chemical crap! Did you know that sugar spikes insulin and promotes fat storage? So avoid it as much as possible if you want to lose weight,  get leaner and just be healthy!

GROCERY LIST
(asterisks indicate my highly recommended foods):

Protein:

  • Protein powder (Vegan options available)*
  • Eggs & Eggwhites*
  • Boneless/skinless chicken breast*
  • Canned Tuna (in water)*
  • Tilapia*
  • Wild Salmon*
  • Lean Ground Turkey or Turkey Breast
  • Tofu (Vegan friendly)
  • Plain Nonfat Cottage Cheese
  • Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt (Fage is my favorite brand)
  • Nonfat cheese sticks (great as a snack)

Fibrous Veggies:

  • Kale*
  • Asparagus*
  • Spinach*
  • Broccoli*
  • Green beans*
  • Bell Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Artichoke

Don’t be afraid to experiment and try other veggies (including those that are not as fibrous). There are so many others out there besides what I’ve listed, so explore and have fun!
Complex/Starchy Carbohydrates:

  • Old-fashioned Oatmeal*
  • Low-carb/Low-sugar cereal
  • Brown Rice*
  • Quinoa*
  • Sweet potatos*
  • Yams
  • Whole Grain Bread (I personally LOVE Ezekiel bread, from the brand Food For Life, and they are also gluten free)

Healthy Fat Options (pick at least 2):

  • Olive oil*
  • Natural peanut butter or almond butter (please note that the only ingredient should be: peanuts or almonds. There should be oil on top, low/no sodium).
    • And I LOVE PB2, which is powdered peanut powder that’s half the fat of regular peanut butter, easier to add to shakes and you can add water to make it into the peanut butter consistency that we’re used to.
  • Coconut Oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios

Fruit

  • Blueberries*
  • Raspberries*
  • Strawberries*
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Banana (women should limit to 1/2 of a banana and make sure it’s on the greener side and not so ripe)
  • Lemons (for water & fish)

Beverages

  • Water* – MUST HAVE and make sure you’re drinking frequently
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk* (can be flavored, I like vanilla)
  • Sugar Free Coconut Milk
  • Green tea bags*
  • Coffee* (watch for those creamers, they are REALLY fattening)

Condiments & Spices

  • Balsamic Vinegar*
  • Honey
  • Salsa
  • Chili powder
  • Mrs. Dash*
  • Mustard
  • Cinnamon*
  • Unsweetened Baking Cocoa
  • Stevia or Truvia

Vitamins

  • Fish Oil*
  • Multi-vitamin* (or Shakeologycan also be your daily multi-vitamin … and then some!)

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Hope this was helpful and let me know if you need any help.

If this helped you do some of your grocery shopping, please leave a comment below!

 

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