How to Meal Prep as an Unhealthy Person
Meal prepping has always intrigued me. How do people do it?
I’ve never exactly been someone to eat healthy, cook, or plan my meals in advance. I typically follow my cravings if I have the money, and if I don’t, I raid my pantry and settle for whatever I can find. I know it's not the healthiest lifestyle, and I've been wanting to change for a while. With that in mind, I decided to try the daunting task of meal prepping.
Here are a few takeaways for anyone considering meal prep:
Make the Time
I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t have time to meal prep.” I felt the same way. But I would argue that you do. I noticed that when I only scrolled through social media 16 times a day instead of 47, I suddenly had much more time on my hands. Find a time waster and cut back. That’s a good life habit anyway.
Pick a day of the week where you have some free time, and designate it for meal prepping. If you can’t find one day with enough time, split it up between two or three. Spread it out even if that means running to the grocery store between meetings or looking up recipes in that class you already don’t pay attention in.
Early on, it’s all too easy to forget about meal prepping. Whether it’s forgetting to actually prepare the food or remembering there’s a meal waiting for you in the fridge when you’re about to order Chick-Fil-A, it happens. Which brings me to my next point ...
Don’t be Too Hard on Yourself.
Like with a lot of things in life, you’re probably going to mess up. You might burn the food, forget you’re even meal prepping in the first place, or go on a crazy binge-eating spell because you’re so fed up with eating healthy. It’s okay. Take a deep breath, and get back to it.
Just because you’re trying to be healthier doesn’t mean you have to torture your taste buds. You’re in charge here. Make foods that you enjoy eating. You don’t have to eat like a rabbit. Also, while portions should be controlled, don’t starve yourself. The point isn’t to eat a fourth of the normal amount per day; meal prepping should instead help you not eat the entire box. Your meal should be filling. It’s okay to adjust your portions if you start out too big or too small.
Try it with Someone
See if a friend wants to join you. For those of us unskilled in the culinary arts, friends who enjoy cooking are especially helpful. They make the process easier (and more fun) while offering you accountability.
Start with Small Goals
I hate to break it to you, but if on your first attempt you think that you’ll prepare every meal the week before and eat nothing but those meals, you’re going to fail. Miserably. It’s inevitable. So start with a realistic goal such as one meal for five days of the week or two meals for four days. Don’t overload your schedule and eating routine too fast.
Warning: it’s going to be hard. I’m not going to sugarcoat it (kind of like your food, which unfortunately won’t be sugarcoated, either). At times (maybe even the whole time), you’re going to hate the process. But it’s worth a try. You might just blossom into a more organized (and healthier) you.
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Julia B.