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5 Tips for Better Meal Prep

by Sara on April 5, 2017

Does the idea of “meal prep” conjure up images of endless Tupperware containers filled with chicken and rice and broccoli?  If so let me be the first to say, I’m sorry.  And second, it doesn’t have to be that way.  Meal prep is not just reserved for those trying to loose weight.  Meal prep does not have to be boring.  Meal prep does not have to take forever!

#1 – Get creative.  Try a new fruit or veggie or a different dish you would normally make.
“How can you eat the same thing every single night and not get bored?” – Almost anyone I know when I tell them I only cook once or sometimes twice a week.  Foodie friends, it’s like this.  Have you ever made something so delicious you were dreaming about the next time you could eat it again the moment you swiped the last bite off your plate? {If you’re answer is no I’m going to have to ask you go get more creative in the kitchen meal prep or not, food is amazing make more delicious things!!}  

This is part of the reason why I decided to sign up for Hungry Harvest back in January.  Half of the work is already done for you.  Produce shows up and the next part is to figure out what to do with it.  Some really tasty dishes have come as a result of figuring out how to use my weekly produce haul.

Meal prep, picking my recipes

I have experimented with eggplant, lentils, cabbage and even rainbow chard.  I’ve made coconut curried veggies, kiwi mango salsa, Mediterranean quinoa bowls, and more mason jar salads than I ever through possible.

#2 – Make a plan
This is the part I both loath and love.  I loath fighting through that phase of “ugh, what do I want to eat this week” but LOVE when I start perusing some foodie blogs and find something utterly mouth watering.  The excitement builds, I start scribbling notes down on my notebook and in a matter of minutes I cannot wait to get to grocery store.  {That’s a lie.  I never want to go to the grocery store.}

Meal Prep, making a plan

Have a plan for the ENTIRE week to make sure you aren’t prepping food that will go to waste.  Do you need enough food for dinners every week or will you be eating out once or twice? Will you cook everything all at once or just cook one small meal and prepare other ingredients for the second or third later int he week.  Will you prepare lunches ahead of time or make the day of?  Gather up all of your recipes, figure out what ingredients you already have and what you need and compile a shopping list.  I have never moved so fast through the store than when I know my list contains EXACTLY what I need.  Versus that overwhelming feeling when you go to the store to “see what’s good” and then hem and haw over what you actually want to make.

Each week I pick one {sometimes two} main dish for dinner, and one lunch for me.  Sometimes I’ll make one lunch for Ralph + me but he usually does his own thing for lunch.

#3 – Mis En Place
I learned this term recently, although it turns out I have been doing it for years.  Mis-en-place is french for ” to put in place”, think of it as the prep before the prep.  {If you’re thinking this sounds like a lot of work, stay with me}.  You’ve planned, you’ve shopped, now it’s time to cook something fabulous.  Take the time to get out all your ingredients.  Chop all your veggies at once.   One thing people ask is how long my whole process takes.  Or they say that must take forever who has that kind of time.  It’s really not that big of a deal to chop 1 pepper or 3 so I figure might as well do it all at once.  Then I only have to do the dishes once.  {That’s not true either, Ralph does the dishes}

meal prep, mis-en-place

#4 – Have the right containers
Nothing sucks more than preparing a large meal only to realize you have nothing to store it in.  Plan a head and get a vartiey of containers.  I like small pyrex containers or mason jars for lunches and large pyrex containers for dinner meals.  Containers that have sturdy lids and are relatively the same size so I can stack them up in the fridge its a huge plus.

meal prep, containers

#5 – Find a way to break up the week
Well if you ARE the type of person who gets bored no matter how amazing a cook you are, I would suggest breaking up the week with a night out or take out or prepping multiple meals.  Many weeks I make one large casserole or one pot/pant type meals.  However there is nothing wrong with making ahead a few smaller meals, or doing most of the prep work for something you will cook later in the week.  I also like our standing tradition of weekly date nights, not just to give us a break from food but as something to look forward to in our work lives as well.

So there ya go.  If you were previously afraid of or didn’t understand meal prep and why it’s so great I hope this helped.

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What are your tips or meal prep tricks?

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I have had my eyes on Megaformer fitness studios for a while now.  Although the massive piece of equipment with all it’s springs and handles might look a little intimidating, it’s supposed to be an insanely effective workout.  Also known as the Lagree Method {after Sebastian Lagree who invented this fantasical piece of equipment} think of a pilates reformer on steroids that uses resistance to give you a total body workout.  As luck would have it, the week I decided to sign up for Classpass is also the same week that MEGAfit joined Classpass.  It was basically meant to be.

Megaformer fitness comes to baltimore at MEGAfit studio

Location:
MEGAfit is not a new studio, but they are new to Baltimore.  Located in the fells point neighboorhood it was a very short drive for me, but it took some time to find parking.  So if you’re close enough to walk, do it.  If you’re driving in, just give yourself enough time to find a place to park.  Because if you’re anything like me, parking in the city brings out major road rage and un-patient-ness.  Not a great way to start the day.

The one room studio is on the 2nd floor, above The Handlebar Cafe, and shares space with Barre Studio.  It was a little confusing to navigate at first if you come up the stairs like I did vs the elevator.  The one room studio with room for 7 machines might at first appear small but the size was perfect, and honestly less intimidating for this newbie.

Price: $$$
Because I signed up with Classpass I’ll be honest here I didn’t take a look at prices until the next day when I was thinking about going back.  This type of class is not cheap.  However, after one class I can already understand the addiction.  I guess there can be worse vices in life than expensive fitness classes right?

Take advantage of their new client prices which are $22 a class or 5 classes for $99.  Otherwise you’re looking at $32 for one single class {um, wow} If you have any intention of doing this class on a regular basis I’m going to say get yourself the largest package.  20 classes for $460 which is good for 4 months.

It’s IS worth noting that while this may seem expensive compared to other classes I am used to taking the price range is comparable to similar studios such as SLT or Solid Core.  MEGAfit actually comes in on the cheaper side of the spectrum, AND bonus it’s super close.

Schedule / timing:
What led me to MEGAfit was actually the fact that I wanted to a class around 8 or 9am on  Saturday.  I was browsing through Classpass and all it’s great filters and up popped MEGAfit.  As mentioned above I have been DYING to take a class like this so I hopped on it right away.  Aside from weekends, there aren’t a ton of classes offered meaning, there aren’t a lot of after work choices.  That being said the evening choices are at least past 5pm and would be late enough that I could get there after work.

Megaformer setup

Overall impressions:
Robin, the owner of the studio was teaching that morning, and she super sweet and very helpful.  She went over the anatomy of the Megaformer, how to adjust the springs, move the carriage, adjust the handles and where all the other pulleys and cables were.  It’s a serious piece of equipment!

Like any new fitness class, the first 5-10 minutes are {for me} completely awkward as I try to grasp all the new movements and terminology while at the same time awing over the students who flawlessly execute one move after another.  After that initial phase I started to get more comfortable, the moves felt more fluid and I could tell I was getting a really good workout.

The class starts with core {which I am terrible at} and then moves to lower body focusing on one side, then arms followed by lower body focusing on the opposite side.  You finish up with some light stretches.  As hard as it was and as much as I struggled, I also loved how it made me feel and it went by surprisingly fast.  Unlike other classes like spin or yoga where I sometimes find myself wondering, “O-m-g when is this going to be over?” I was actually surprised that class was ending because it flew by so fast.

I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad sign that multiple people told me after class, I was defintely going to be sore the next day.  After all the new things I’ve been trying, I’m actually not surprised anymore when my body wakes up the day after and is hating on me for find new muslces to torture.  However I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t hurt to walk {quads}, laugh {abs}, or brush my hair {arms}.  I did find I was sore in my adductors {inner thighs}, and pecs {chest} which is not surprising at all because I rarely, if ever, work those muscles.

If you are someone who is used to doing quicker, more intense workouts {think weight lifting or HIIT training} the hardest part for you will be to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n.  Think of the slow speed as your resistance instead of a heavy weight.  A super slow movement at a light resistance can be as effective as a fast movement under heavy weight.  Why?  With heavy weights you can use momentum as a fallback and often times not do a move with good form.  In Megaformer classes momentum is discouraged so you can really focus in on the muscles being worked.  I will admit this was really challenging and I probably didn’t go slow enough.

All in all, killer class and would love to go again, but getting super hung up on the price.  I may just need to hang onto my Classpass membership for the sole fact that it makes Megaformer fitness more accessible for me.  If you have the means to do so, I would HIGHLY recommend checking out MEGAfit Baltimore.

Megaformer fitness comes to Baltimore with MEGAfit - bmoremegafit.com - you MUST check them out… Click To Tweet

Want to catch up on all the other studios I’ve been visiting?  Rev Cycle Opens in Brewer’s Hill, Mpower Yoga Studio {the one where I try my first barre class} and 9Round Kickboxing.

I’m curious, when it comes to gym memberships and studio fitness classes at what point is a class too expensive?

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New fitness journey week one – check. You can read a little bit more about what led me to this challenge here.  If you want to read about my experience at the Rev Cycle Studio McHenry Row location you can read about it here. When you think of bad ass indoor cycling studios in Baltimore, […]

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Trying a New Fitness Routine

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Right after I hit publish on last week’s post I realized I need a new fitness routine.  When I schedule workouts it’s always the same two classes by the same two instructors.  While it’s great that I’ve found something I love its starting to feel stale.  I need a challenge!  I’m also struggling to figure out how […]

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