Common Meal Prep Mistakes

I could spend hours touting the benefits of having a weekly meal prep session, but I'll keep it brief:

Prepping at least some food to eat throughout the week keeps you healthier, saner, and tends to seriously cut down on food waste. (Ever opened your vegetable drawer and found those weird neglected foods getting slimy in the bottom of it? Yeah.)

The issue that I hear over and over from clients is that they just don't enjoy food prep. I get it. It seems like a great idea when you're looking at pictures of someone's ultra-organized Instagram refrigerator, filled to the brim with little uniform containers of healthy, pre-portioned meals. It is so much more un-sexy when you're diving in to do it yourself.

But before you completely abandon your goals of having a kitchen stocked with lots of healthy goodness, you've got to ensure you're you're not making any of these common meal prep mistakes that could be completely de-railing your food prep attempts. If you can make this a positive experience, you're more likely to do it regularly. And your life become so much easier if you do.

You do your grocery shopping and food prep on the same day.

Now, this will vary largely based on your schedule and how you prefer to do your meal prep. For me, I almost always split my meal prep into two phases which take place on different days:

Phase one: meal planning, list making, grocery shopping, and refrigerator clean-out.
Phase two: actual meal prep.

I'll usually cook just dinner on the day I do the grocery shopping and then I'll leave the rest of the meal prep for the next day. That works best for me (and keeps me feeling sane). If I try and do too much on the same day, I end up feeling burnt-out and I rarely get as much done as I would if I split it up.

You cook dinner on your meal prep day.

Guys, maybe I am just not as motivated as other people, but I'm rarely going to do a big meal prep session and then cook dinner. If our evening meal happens to consist of some of the foods I've already prepped, maaaybe we'll eat something I'm currently cooking. But when it comes to meal prep, I like to make life as easy on myself as possible. That night, we're more likely to fend for ourselves and eat whatever is around the house, or it becomes more of splurge meal and we'll order in. I figure if I'm setting myself up for success for the week, I can certainly have pizza delivered once without the world ending.

You're over-complicating it.

Is your menu too complex? Are you trying a lot of new recipes at once? Are you prepping foods in a way that doesn't work for your lifestyle? (For example, packaging a bunch of meals into small containers versus just making a big pot of soup, or attempting a full day of freezer cooking versus just whipping up one more freezable casserole when you're already cooking)

While you might have the best intentions, trying to do too much often results in frustration and overwhelm. Don't be afraid to scale back.

You're making it boring.

Yep, being trapped in your kitchen for hours might not be at the top of your list of fun activities for the week. Keep your goal in mind (setting aside time now so your life is easier later) and do what you can to make the experience enjoyable. I like to use that time to catch up on Periscope videos, watch Chopped re-runs, or listen to podcasts (I'm currently addicted to The Black Tapes).

You're making excuses.

I say this with love:

I know you're busy. I know you're tired. I know you're overwhelmed. I know you have a lot going on. I know you want to binge-watch House of Cards instead of being stuck in the kitchen.

I also know you can do this if you commit to it. Don't get in your own way.

Want more on meal prep? Learn how to meal prep like you freestyle, how to do a one hour mini meal prep session, how to get healthier by making fewer decisions, and how to refuel after pole class.

Then be sure to tag #PoleBodyPrep on social media next time you're in the kitchen making magic (and/or messes).