Meal Prep 101: Big Picture Stuff

The Big Picture Stuff

Before we jump in and send food flying, let's get our heads on straight.

To make your meal prep routine do what you need it to do, it's important to set your goals, criteria for success, and metrics for measuring progress.

Your Goal

Wouldn't it be great to snap your fingers and have a custom-tailored meal any time you like, anywhere you like? Meals that meet your exact dietary goals, taste the way you like, and are always new and surprising? Wouldn't that make it so much easier to adopt healthy eating habits once and for all?

That's the promise of meal prep. And it works! This is my goal for you with this course. But what I want for you doesn't matter. It's what you want that counts.

When thinking about crafting a meal prep practice for yourself the first and most important question to answer is WHY?

Are you trying to:

  • Eat healthier by locking in meal choices?
  • Save money by not eating out so often?
  • Stretch your grocery dollars by buying more items in bulk?
  • Save time by not having to cook three times a day?
  • Produce cool meal prep photos to post on reddit?

All good reasons. But let's ask the question another way. Which meals present problems for you that meal prep might resolve?

Specifically, which of the following meals do you spend too much money on, too much time on, or let interfere with good eating habits?

  • Breakfasts during the workweek
  • Breakfasts on the weekend
  • Lunch during the workweek
  • Lunch on the weekend
  • Dinner during the workweek
  • Dinner on the weekend
  • Mini meals and snack packs during the workweek
  • Mini meals and snack packs during the weekend

Zero in on mealtimes that are the bad apples in your week. These should be your real reason to meal prep.

My point is that it is not super helpful to set abstract goals like "eat better", "save money", "free up time", etc.

Much more impactful is to set SPECIFIC goals:

  • Eat a balanced breakfast within sixty minutes of waking up
  • Sit down to dinner as a family on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday
  • Pack lunch for work Monday - Thursday and let Friday be my day to hit the food trucks with co-workers

There is no one-size-fits-all meal prep plan

Your specific goals will be different than anyone else's goals. And they will continue to change and evolve throughout your life. Your goals last week could be different than your goals this week. To be effective in supporting your goals your meal prep practice needs to be personalized to you.

Criteria For Success

You can measure the success of your meal prep routine on two criteria:

  1. It knocks out the bad-apple mealtimes in your week
  2. You stick with it

It knocks out the bad apples. The question to ask yourself at the end of each week is simple and straightforward: Did you eat the way you intended? If yes, your meal prep is working. If no, it needs adjustment. This course is 100% dedicated to helping you make those adjustments. Don't expect to get to Yes right away. But once you do, expect the Yes to last a lifetime.

You stick with it. Your meal prep routine has zero value if you stop doing it. In the early goings while you are learning, crafting and refining your meal prep practice, you will need to rely on will power to stick with it. This is temporary. Once you get it down, your meal prep routine will become a HABIT, something you do on auto-pilot. This is when the real value kicks in.

Measuring Progress 

Changing your eating habits in a real and lasting way is no small feat. It will help you to track the impact of the changes you are making.

Here's a self-assessment tool to track your progress in four key areas:

  • Cooking improved
  • Health improved
  • Time saved
  • Money saved

Self Assessment_Page_1

Complete the self-assessment NOW and then again after completing each Belt Level. You don't need to fill out everything, but pick at least a few things you care to track.

Questions and Comments on This Lesson?

Drop me a note in our private forum The Dojo Lounge. I will respond during office hours.

 Up Next

Equipment, Storing, and Reheating