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It’s no coincidence that tons of women who’ve lost weight will tell you that meal prepping with meal-prep tips is essential for dropping pounds without going hungry.

And nutritionists agree that plotting your healthy meals ahead of time can keep you from reaching for something easy, like takeaway or that frozen pizza in the back of your freezer.

“I recommend prepping ingredients, such as cut veggies and fruit for snacking, as well as meals that can easily be heated or defrosted,” says Amy Gorin, R.D.N, owner of Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City. “If you see these options when you open the fridge or freezer, you may be more likely to choose them over more caloric choices”

But, as it turns out, there’s a hell of a lot more to prepping a fridge full of yummy weight-loss fuel than putting some fruits and veggies in a jar.

To find out some real meal-prepping secrets, WH asked women who successfully lost weight by planning ahead. Check out their meal-prep tips.

MEAL-PREP TIPS

1. “I GOT A MEAL PREP BUDDY.”

“My number one meal-prep tip, particularly for those starting to make meal prep a habit, is to get a meal prep buddy!

“Earlier this year, my friend Michelle and I teamed up for a few meal prep hangouts. We cooked meals and packed them for the week.

“Also, Michelle is a great cook, but me — not so much. Having her as my buddy kept me accountable with eating according to our plan.”

Queing Jones, lost 60 pounds

2. “I SWITCH UP MY MEALS.”

“I always have a plan so that I don’t eat outside of what I made and end up at the vending machine at work, but I switch up my meals weekly.

“Doing that keeps me from getting bored while still eating healthy.”

Ashley Wisowaty, lost 50 pounds 

3. “I DO MOST OF MY SHOPPING IN THE PRODUCE SECTION.”

“Before I head to the grocery store, I plan my meals, outline my recipes, and make a list of all my ingredients.

“Then, when I get to the store, I do most of my shopping in the produce section. I eat 80% fruits and vegetables and 20% everything else.”

Yenory Pouncil, lost 20 pounds

4. “I USE THE SAME FOODS FOR DIFFERENT KINDS OF MEALS.”

“My trick is to make things that can be used in multiple meals—like meatballs and sauce.

“It’s very old-school Italian, but I make Paleo, almond-flour meatballs and use them in soups, over quinoa, and sometimes eat them for breakfast.”

Victoria Reitano lost 15 pounds

5. “I WEIGH MY PROTEIN.”

“I bought a food scale for my Sunday meal prep so I could ensure that I was getting a full four ounces of lean chicken or turkey per meal.

“Proper measurement helped my weight continuously fall.”

Anastasiya Kachur, lost 10 pounds

6. “I MAKE SINGLE-POT MEALS.”

“Meal prepping can help you lose weight, but it can also be super time-consuming. To make things go faster, I make dishes that can be cooked in a single pot.

“For example, one of my favorite meals to cook is a healthy Indian dish called kichri. It consists of rice, veggies, and spices. All you have to do is throw the rice and veggies in a pot, pour in some water, and boil for about 30 minutes (or until the veggies are soft).

“The spices can be added in about 10 minutes into cooking. The dish will be complete and ready to eat once the water has been absorbed by the veggies and rice.”

Natasha Bhalla, lost five pounds

Trying to lead a healthy lifestyle? Read about why it’s necessary to be mindful of the new recommended calorie intake guideline and what wondering how many calories you eat can do to your fat loss goals.

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