Search #MealPrep on Instagram and you’ll be met with over 5.5 million posts. Yeah, it’s not just the hardcore athletes getting their Tupperware out anymore, everybody’s doing it.
However, just because you take an hour out of your, otherwise chill, Sunday to prepare your food for the week, doesn’t mean you aren’t making mistakes.
Here’s how to avoid common slip-ups we’re all guilty of to ensure you reap the rewards of your hard work.
1. Eating while prepping
A carrot stick here, a slice of bread there, it all adds up. While taste-testing your meals isn’t a problem, you could end up consuming a whole mini meal without realizing.
The solution: One study found that chewing gum can curb your appetite and reduce your food consumption by up to 10% verses non-gum-chewers. So, go ahead and pop in some gum while you prep to avoid eating any unnecessary calories.
2. Forgetting veggies
Less than 9% of Americans eat the recommended two to three cups of veggies every day. Without a sufficient amount of the good stuff, we can suffer a whole host of health problems such as vitamin deficiency and digestive problems.
The solution: Ideally, our plates should be made up of 50% produce. Not only are vegetables a great alternative to sides high in fat and calories such as chips, they also provide us with the essential nutrients we need to lose weight and smash our PBs.
3. Being too adventurous
That veggie pasta dish might be low in fat, but if you are a meat lover, you’re less likely to want to eat it and you could end up taking a trip to Starbucks on your lunch break instead.
The solution: Stick with what you like. If you can’t stand peppers then don’t put them in your stir fry. The more tailored made your meals are, the more likely you’ll stick to eating them.
4. Not using up food
We often forget what we already have in our fridge before hitting the shops for meal prep Sunday. According to a Guardian report, 50% of all produce in the US is thrown away. That’s an awful lot of food going to waste.
Take a look in your fridge and use this recipe tool to create healthy and delicious meals, which make sure you use those leftover tomatoes you were about to put in the trash.
– RELATED: 9 Healthy Kitchen Habits You Should Start Today –
5. Poor portion control
In the past half a century, Americans daily calories has increased by 20-25%. The reason? Plate and portion sizes. Inaccurate portion control has a massive effect on our weight loss management, so it’s important you get it right.
The solution: We eat what’s in front of us, so when you’re putting together your weekly meals, ensure you measure everything and check your ingredients against the recommended portion sizes. You’ll be surprised when you realize the real amount of pasta you should be eating.
6. Inaccurately planning your meals
Five meals for five days. Simple enough, right? Not really. We often forget to consider our social schedule when planning our food for the week. Lunch meetings and birthday dinners all contribute to what can lead to, a lot of food waste.
The solution: If it’s viable for you, prep for every three days rather than a week. This way, you won’t have to throw away your wilted salmon salad and, what’s more, you won’t be stuck with the same meal all week as you can mix it up every few days.
7. Forgetting snacks
Research has found that 25% of our daily calories come from snacks and 94% of us are snacking daily. If you forget to add some healthy and wholesome snacks to your grocery list, you could find yourself adding unnecessary calories by munching on the office donuts or grabbing a bag of chips on your way back from a meeting.
The solution: Plan and opt for healthy snacks such as apples, nuts or Greek yogurt. To prevent you from over indulging, divide them all up into small, single-serving containers and enjoy.