A Meal-Prep Solution for Everybody

Meal prepping can actually be accomplished in a number of ways, despite what you may have assumed. Every one has their own style in the kitchen, so why should we all meal prep the same? There is a meal solution out there for everyone, no matter what kind of cook you are (or are not!)

If you aren’t meal prepping yet, consider one of these ways to help yourself each week in the kitchen depending on how you need to optimize your time and days!

The “All-In” Prep Queen

You thrive on preparedness, and so it is essential that you have all your meals prepared in advance, even if it means buckling down over the weekend and getting everything ready to go for the week. Lunches are planned and organized for easy grabs during the week. Dinners too are well-prepared in advance to optimize your time at home during the week. It’s not a bad idea to freeze full meals in tin trays that can be easily reheated in the oven. Breakfasts are easy to plan for in advance with granola bars and fruit, but you might also enjoy blending an overnight oats for some additional nutrition and flavors, while still being something you can grab off the shelf easy.

The “Easygoing” Prep Queen

You don’t struggle finding time during the week to cook your lighter meals, but not having to cook a full dinner on your own every night is certainly a load off your shoulders. Cook a few simple meals in advance that freeze well and can be reheated in the oven, or at least marinade some meat and vegetables so they are ready to go when you’re ready to cook.

Sometimes this is me. I’ll cook full meals in advance to steam or reheat in the air-fryer for dinner. At the end of the day, especially a long one in the office, the last thing I want to do is cook dinner. By freezing something in a tin, dinner is on the table by the time I get home because I call my man on my way to just put it in the oven to reheat! Learned this trick from my mom, calling us on her way home from work to turn on the oven for her turkey or vegetable lasagna dinner! (Don’t worry, we were older by the time she entrusted us with such a task… just once we were able to walk!)

The Prep-Prepper

Your pantry is already organized fairly well, but now you take it a step further and prepare the preparations, so prep the prep! When you’re putting the groceries away, you’re doing your best to keep your recipes together so it’s all there and easy to grab during the week. You waste no time with efficiency.

The List Lady

You thrive on lists. You love nothing more than checking something off, whether it’s “pick up groceries” or “cook steak”. You are better off writing your meal plan for the week and tacking it to the refrigerator. Afterall, you have plenty of time to cook dinner since you manage the rest of yours so well with your lists and agendas!

There is nothing wrong with a good list. At the very least, a list on the fridge of all the healthy snacks and foods in the cabinets is an awesome tool to make healthier choices. Sometimes the unhealthy thing you reach for all the time is just the easiest thing, like muscle memory. Have a list in your face reminding you about the apple sauce, pretzels, fresh fruit and frozen yogurt in the kitchen is a far greater tool than any other to keep yourself focused. Better yet, move all these healthy snacks to the front of your cabinets and fridge!


True Facts About Cravings We Don’t Talk About Enough

by: Danielle Ternyila

You don’t understand though, I am craving it. It’s easy for you because you don’t like this food. Easier said than done. I don’t care, I just want it. I can start over on Monday. You don’t know how hard it is to say no. You have it easy, you can afford organic foods and have the time to go to the gym.

These are all the excuses I have heard over and over again. Let me tell 10 different people that I lost weight through changing my lifestyle and diet, and I guarantee I’ll hear one of these excuses, if not multiple. My favorite excuse has always been, “I’m Italian!” We say this with pride, as if we are born with bread and pasta in our bloodstream and it’s a sin to ever turn it down.

I grew up in a proud Italian household, so if you think it was easy for me to cut out pasta dinners, pizza, and all my other old favorite foods, you’re so wrong! It is still something I battle with mentally, so don’t tell me “It was easy for you.” I gave it all up for a healthier life and the peace of mind that my body is at its strongest for anything life throws at it. This was a choice I made, but it is a never-ending struggle.

Healthy Changes Begin At Home

Changing habits in my family was an important steppingstone in my health journey. I craved pasta and garlic bread, fried chicken, mozzarella… Once my parents (who I lived with at the time) began eating healthier too and stopped having these foods in the house, it became easier, for the same reason they tell you to throw out all the junk food in the house! Out of sight, out of mind. The hardest part now is when I go out, whether it’s a restaurant, a party, or my grandmother’s.

I know exactly what a craving is when I see one, and it feels just as challenging to overcome today as it was 5 years ago when I started this journey. The difference between my cravings and yours is that I refuse to feed that hunger. The cravings only get stronger the more you cave. When you choose the health and body you have wanted for a lifetime over the meal or snack you’ve been craving for 5-10-or-60 minutes, you are getting stronger. I won’t tell you it’s going to be easier every day, but take pride in conquering cravings. Be stronger that your cravings, and you won’t regret it. I’ve never once looked back and thought, “Man, life would be different if I had that slice of pizza at the party that one time.”

Avoid Addiction

Think of sugar for what it truly is: a drug. It’s addictive, and that’s why when you give into your craving, you are more likely to overindulge. Sugars and fats may make you feel good in the moment, but I’m sure after you eat the 2 cookies per the serving size, you aren’t stopping there. By indulging in these foods, you stimulate the “feel-good” hormones in you, which trigger you to eat more because you’re “feeling good.”

If you have a lot of changes to make to your diet, I recommend weaning things out slowly. No one quits smoking cold turkey for a reason – the same reason that you will fail at cutting out all the crap in 1 night. Slowly take out new things every day and week until you are in a healthier place.

Get Enough Sleep

Similar to the “feel-good” juices that flow through you when you treat yourself, you’re going to experience all different emotions when you don’t sleep right. Lack of sleep can affect your hormones, and those hormones lead to an increased appetite.

Choose Water

Thirst can easily be mistaken for hunger, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Make sure to drink the right amount of water every day to avoid this confusion and overeating. I also enjoy drinking hot water when I know I’m not really hungry (say, I just ate an hour ago); I mix it with lemon or just make some black tea, and it helps to quench cravings!

Don’t Let Your Excuses Win

You can use these excuses, these crutches, to support your decision to keep making unhealthy choices, but it is up to you whether you are OK telling yourself lies like these. There is no reason, no matter who you are, that you can’t become a healthier person. Whether you think you can’t because you’re too overweight, too busy, or too stressed, or maybe you just think it’s just not in the cards for you, you are making that decision yourself. If you choose to believe these excuses, believe that you can’t take care of your health (the one body you have!), that’s on you. When you turn that mindset around and tell yourself you are stronger, you’ll see that was the only missing piece.

Disassociate with the excuses of your life, and every time you hear yourself saying one of these negative mantras, remind yourself instead that you are strong and can do anything you set your mind to, even saying no to all the bad food you’re craving.

What would you choose: the snack you’ve craved for 10-20 minutes, or the body you’ve craved for a lifetime?

Your body is a reflection of how you take care of your health and your self. It is up to you to make the change. No one is going to do it for you.

Here’s the Deal With Your Junk Food CravingsCleveland Clinic Health. December 14, 2020.