7 Major Meal Prep Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Weight LossArticle posted in: Diet & Nutrition
If you’ve been meal prepping only to find it exhausting or inconsequential, you could be making some all-to-common mistakes that are sabotaging your progress. From choosing the wrong containers to not creating a shopping list; find out which meal prep mistakes could be stalling your weight loss success.
Planning and portioning your meals ahead of time can take a lot of stress out of your daily life and promote positive diet decisions. When meal prepping is done correctly, you can save a considerable amount of time, money and energy—not to mention pounds and inches! A study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that meal planning was associated with lower body weight in women, a lower risk for obesity and a better variety of food in the overall diet.
The South Beach Diet program is perfect if you need a jumpstart on your meal prep. Learn more about our plans here! >
Here are seven common meal prep mistakes that could be sabotaging your weight loss:
1. You’re using the wrong containers
Choosing the right containers is essential when it comes to having the best meal prep experience. If you choose old, warped containers with mismatched lids, you’re going to have trouble portioning out your food properly and enjoying it at meal time. Additionally, if you just pick any random containers to portion meals and snacks, you might be tempted to over or under fill them with food.
Solution: Invest in proper containers.
Choose smaller containers or baggies for snacks and standard portion containers for your meals. Make good use of mason jars for smoothies, dressings, chopped ingredients and other similar foods. Invest in meal prep containers and lids in appropriate sizes so that you can quickly portion, pack, freeze, reheat and live healthfully with ease! Try to look for quality containers to facilitate meal prepping that are leak-proof, BPA-free, airtight and microwave-safe.
2. You’re making meal prep too complicated
Meal prepping is not the time to try out a new crazy recipe with a lot of ingredients and a long cook time. Depending on how many days and meals you’re prepping, it can be overwhelming when you make your recipes too complex or involved.
Solution: Use simple shortcuts and easy recipes.
Simplicity and shortcuts are key when it comes to meal prepping. Utilize smart shortcuts to save time and make your meal prep easier. Try to batch cook a tray of veggies on a baking sheet for a big time and space saver. You can also buy veggies and proteins pre-chopped to save some prep time. Make sure the recipes you choose are within your culinary expertise and that you can easily acquire all the ingredients. Include a variety of meals on your menu using some of the delicious DIY recipes on The Palm!
3. You’re guesstimating portions
During meal prep, a lot of the hard work is done during the cooking phase. However, this can mean the portioning phase is often overlooked. Don’t wait to portion your meals out as the week goes by. As explained in the Journal of Nutrition, knowing and eating the right portion size plays a key role when it comes to preventing obesity.
Solution: Don’t wait to separate your food.
When you’re finished cooking, you might be tempted to skip the separation and save that step for the later. Using the right size containers can be your best friend when it comes to portioning out your ingredients. You want to eat consistent and even portions every day that follow the recommended serving sizes. Not taking the time to portion out each meal can defeat all your hard work as you may be over or under eating, both of which can cause major problems for weight loss.
4. You’re over-prepping ingredients
One mistake that can burden meal preppers is the stress of doing too much all at once. Meal prepping should work for your diet and lifestyle. If you force yourself to prep and plan for eight hours on a Sunday, you’re bound to end up with too much food, nowhere to put it and a boring menu of repeats.
Solution: Meal prep more often and in different ways.
Meal planning can be different depending on your lifestyle and doesn’t have to mean making 30 containers of the same recipe. Meal prepping is typically more successful when done a couple of times a week with different strategies. You can break down your meal planning into smaller and less stressful stages including grocery lists, batch cooking veggies, freezing pitchers of smoothies or pre-cutting and portioning ingredients. All of these can be done at different times to replenish stock and update your menu. Make smaller batches of food throughout the week to learn your pacing and know when to cut back. You’ll be able to keep food fresh and avoid wasting or overeating.
5. You’re making unbalanced meals
If you don’t put thought into your meal prep ingredients, you may miss out on essential macronutrients. Not satisfying your dietary needs can prevent progress on the scale.
Solution: Make a detailed shopping list.
Set yourself up for success and start from scratch with a detailed meal plan! Grab a pen and write a shopping list that includes enough lean proteins, non-starchy veggies, healthy fats and good carbohydrates. Keep your meals healthy and balanced with help from the South Beach Diet! We teach you how to prepare balanced DIY meals throughout your weight loss journey. Check out our detailed grocery guide here! >
6. You don’t meal prep snacks
Meal prepping is about making life easier and your diet healthier. Don’t forget to prepare some healthy snacks to keep you fueled throughout the day! They truly help you avoid overeating or turning to the dreaded vending machine.
Solution: Stay stocked up on healthy snacks.
It’s not just about meal prepping breakfast, lunch and dinner. The snacks in between are what will help prevent hunger from striking. There are many options for healthy snacks that are easy and convenient, such as small bags of unsalted seeds or nuts. You can also portion out containers of hummus and cut celery, sliced veggies, berries, hard boiled eggs and more. Just make sure your snacks are healthy and modestly sized! Need some ideas? Check out these 11 DIY snacks that will fill you up! >
7. You’re only using your fridge
If you’re packing your fridge tight with all your perfectly prepped containers, you may be overlooking some other important parts of meal prepping. Most of your meals should be fresh and in need of refrigeration. However, there are some ways that you can make life easier by storing certain ingredients elsewhere.
Solution: Freeze fruits and vegetables.
Freezing things is a great way to avoid wasting food by keeping it fresh! Your freezer is the perfect place to keep excess chopped fruits and vegetables that you’re not going to use during the week. You can also store a batch of healthy smoothies that you can pull from as needed, or just grab the frozen ingredients to whip one up on the spot. Make sure to also store healthy snacks in your pantry such as nuts and seeds. This will ensure that you have smart snacking and eating options in all areas of your kitchen!