We’ve all been there. We say we’re going to go on a diet, bulk up, or meal prep, but in the end, we revert to our old ways. It’s tough to change your habits, especially when it comes to food in a world where preserved foods and delivery are a foot away. You might be making a common mistake made by thousands every year and not even know it. Luckily for you, here are five easy ways to help stick to your meal prep plan without sacrificing your day-to-day life.
Plan Everything Out Ahead of Time
Plan plan plan. The more you plan it out, the easier it’ll be. There is such a thing as overplanning, but if you sit down and plan out your meals for the next month or even week, you’ll have an easier time sticking to your meal prep plan. Trying to jump into changing your diet willy-nilly is not going to work for most people.
We suggest either writing down the meals you plan to prep or even going as far as creating an excel spreadsheet of your three meals for the next four weeks. Either way, planning out your meals is a great way of understanding the path ahead and sticking to it.
Don’t Overcomplicate It
This is probably the reason the majority of people fail to follow their meal prep plan. Don’t overcomplicate things. Stick to the basics and easy recipes. If you’re trying to make Chicken Kyiv for a week with a side of garlic-roasted fingerling potatoes, you’re going to have a bad time.
There’s a reason bodybuilders stick to chicken and rice with broccoli— it’s easy. They can make it in bulk, portion it out into containers, and easily reheat it at work or home. It’ll take them an hour or two total to cook it for the week, and they won’t have to worry about dinner again.
The bottom line is: stick to easy recipes. Chicken and broccoli, pork chops and potatoes, tilapia, and rice. These are all easy meals to make that require a minimal amount of dishes and time. They’re also cheaper than most recipes you’ll find online that require multiple different ingredients.
Learn How to Make Food Taste Good
Bodybuilders eat chicken and rice daily, but that doesn’t mean it tastes great. You’re going to have to work a little if you want to avoid your chicken tasting like chalk with a side of rice so sticky that Spiderman is interested in it.
It all starts with learning basic cooking skills. Understanding when your meat has finished and taking it off the heat before it gets overcooked. Knowing how to properly season your dishes and avoid using too little or too much. If it comes down to it, you can always smother your food in sauces; just be sure to add it to your calorie tracker if you’re going down that route.
Hot sauces like tabasco and other brands are often low-calorie and easy ways to flavor your food without adding a sugar-laden sauce like ketchup or barbecue.
Another reason people fail New Year’s resolutions or habit changes, in general, is because they’re too drastic. If you drink ten cans of soda a day, it’s going to be almost impossible to cut that down to zero overnight. Likewise, if you make a promise to go to the gym every day but haven’t stepped foot in one in years, it’s going to be difficult.
The same idea applies to your diet and meal prep plan. If you’re going to start a meal prep plan, it might be best to only do it for one meal a day rather than all three. Pick the easiest meal for you to increase your chances of success even more.
We suggest meal prepping breakfast or lunch, two of the faster meals in most people’s lives. These meals are often eaten quickly and need to be portable or something taken on the go. Breakfast burritos, sandwiches prepped out, or a simple protein with rice are all great options to replace these two meals.
Once you’ve successfully replaced one meal and see how easy it can be, you can then start thinking about replacing harder meals like dinner or your entire caloric intake.
Have a Cheat Day
If you don’t fail, you’re not human. It’s as simple as that. There is no one in this world that has succeeded at everything on the first try. If it helps you follow your meal prep plan, it might not hurt to have a cheat day. A day you can look forward to during the week, but where you don’t eat everything in the fridge. It’s a cheat day, but you should still be semi-mindful about your caloric intake.
Again, we should look towards the masters of meal prep— bodybuilders and gymgoers. These people make it their job to follow meal plans, and the majority of them will still have cheat days. It’s a way to reward yourself for following your meal prep plan the whole week and lets you eat what you want. It’s the perfect day to plan date nights, cookouts, or a visit to that new restaurant in town.
Get a Meal Prep Partner
If you have a significant other in your life, roping them into your meal prep plan is an easy way to stick with it. While you shouldn’t force them to live your lifestyle, if they’re interested in meal prepping, it’s a lot easier to stick to it when you’re both on the same page.
You can also motivate each other and keep each other in check. If one person is considering ordering takeout, the other is there to remind them to stick to the plan. It also makes it easier to plan and make your meals every week. Having a partner means that you have to do half the work.
Remember, we’re all human. We all make mistakes and fall down. If you’re having trouble sticking to your meal prep plan, it’s no big deal. Just take a seat and think about what makes it hard for you to stick to your plan. Is it the time it takes to make your meals? Is it the fact that they taste bad?
Identifying the reason why you can’t stick to your plan is crucial to being successful the next time you try sticking to it. Hopefully, one of the tips on this list helps you out and can guide you in the right direction the next time you decide to meal prep.