LESSON 1: 10 Buffet Style Meal Prep Tips
Buffet Style Meal Prep School
In the very first lesson in my Buffet Style Meal Prep School, I will share 10 buffet style meal prep tips to help you succeed with this awesome and simple way of eating healthy.
First, just read the whole post—then, just focus on one tip at a time so you can fully absorb each one without getting overwhelmed. (If you find yourself constantly getting overwhelmed, I want you to understand that this is a very common way our our unconscious resists change. You can learn more about this in this post—Excuses are Useless, Results are Priceless.)
☞ BUFFET STYLE MEAL PREP TIPS #1—KEEP IT SIMPLE. If you read the intro lesson, this will sound familiar. I repeat it often because it’s SO important. Healthy meals do NOT need to be elaborate and we do NOT have to reinvent our menu every week. Our goal is a handful of simple meals that we can easily put together.
☞ BUFFET STYLE MEAL PREP TIPS #2—USE THE 21 DAY FIX PORTION CONTROL CONTAINERS. To help you avoid unintentionally piling too much on your plate AND to eat the correct ratio of food types (i.e., protein, fat, fruits, veggies, etc.), use Autumn Calabrese’s Fix food containers. I can confidently say that this is probably the easiest way of keeping your calories in check.
☞ BUFFET STYLE MEAL PREP TIPS #3—START SMALL. If you’re just starting out, don’t go overboard with ANYthing. If you’re new to meal prepping, start off by prepping for only 2-3 days and don’t buy too much food.
☞ BUFFET STYLE MEAL PREP TIPS #4—BE ORGANIZED. It is totally possible to prep a week’s worth of meals in 90 minute or less IF you are organized. I like to write down my favorite meals, keep them in a folder, and rotate them throughout the month (I use my 21 Day Fix Meal Planner to do this). This stops me from reinventing every meal saving me LOTS of planning time. You can even group these meals into packs of seven for the week and create a grocery shopping list for each group, so it’s just a matter of choosing the week’s menu plan, grabbing the pre-done list, running to the store, and whipping through the meal prep each week.
☞ BUFFET STYLE MEAL PREP TIPS #5—STAY FOCUSED. It’s a fact that our minds work better when they’re not surrounded by clutter, so get that kitchen clean and organized. I like to organize my fridge and pantry by Fix container—my purples (fruits) all in one area, my red (protein) in another, my greens (veggies) in another, etc. (Here’s a breakdown of the 21 Day Fix Containers.) When you’re working on your meal prep, set out all the non-perishable ingredients on the counter so they’re easy to grab.
☞ BUFFET STYLE MEAL PREP TIPS #6—STOCK UP ON ESSENTIALS. Having everything on hand makes meal prepping just that much easier. Here are some of the meal prep essential I find useful to have in my kitchen:
- Plenty of food containers. Head over to your local bargain store (I love TJ Maxx, Marshalls and IKEA!) or Amazon and pick up some safe (I prefer glass) and stackable containers of various sizes. (This is particularly exciting for organizationaholics!)
- Bento meal containers. These are the containers that are divided into individual portions and are excellent for taking meals on the go. (I found some perfect (and cheap) ones at IKEA!)
- Sharp knives. Meal prep is SO much better with sharpened knives.
- A variety of cutting boards. It’s really nice to have multiple options, both plastic and wood.
- Complete set of measuring cups and spoons. There’s nothing more frustrating than looking for that missing tablespoon.
- Blender. Not only will you need this for your Shakeology, but also for homemade salad dressings and soups!
- Food processor. Major time saver!
- Fix portion control containers. Forget the guess work…seriously! This is one of your most powerful tools.
- Lots of organic spices, herbs, and extracts. This is what you’ll use to add pizzazz to your UNseasoned prepped foods. They are freebies on the 21 Day Fix eating plan, so have fun with them!
- Exciting vinegars. One of my little splurges is a variety of gourmet vinegars from my local oil and vinegar shop. Another freebie, vinegar is an AMAZING way to add loads of flavor to your buffet style meals. Fig, pomegranate, and chocolate…oh my!
☞ BUFFET STYLE MEAL PREP TIPS #7—SCHEDULE A MEAL PREP DAY. Put your meal prep time on your calendar and treat it as a non-negotiable event with very few exceptions. I usually do my meal prep on Sundays since that’s a day I tend to have less going on, but this is totally an individual choice. It is recommended that it be at the beginning of the week, which is when we all feel more motivated. And, make it a family affair!
☞ BUFFET STYLE MEAL PREP TIPS #8—DON’T BE AFRAID TO FREEZE. Did you know you can freeze most fresh herbs and they will work just fine when you need them? You can also prep extra freezable food (like chicken, rice, cut fruit & veggies, etc.) and store it in the freezer until the following week. This cuts out a lot of repeat work.
☞ BUFFET STYLE MEAL PREP TIPS #9—CHECK YOUR FRIDGE, FREEZER & PANTRY BEFORE YOU GO SHOPPING. It’s easy to forget what we already have, so go shopping in your kitchen first to cut way back on waste!
☞ BUFFET STYLE MEAL PREP TIPS #10—MAKE SOME NO COOK MEALS. Not everything has to be cooked. Try some overnight oats or Greek yogurt with healthy toppings! This will save you significantly on prep time.
BONUS BUFFET STYLE MEAL PREP TIPS
I hope you remembered that it’s FREE to assign me as your Beachbody Coach—and, with that comes some significant perks. You’ll have direct access to me AND membership in my private Facebook accountability group. (In my Fix Family, there are hundreds of buffet style meal prep ideas available to you!)
Now, once you’ve spent some time learning each of the above buffet style meal prep tips, you can move on to Lesson 2: Core Healthy Foods!