Grab your AZ Portion Control Fuel Pack and let’s keep things rolling!
Meal Prep 101
In a previous blog, we discussed how sticking to your New Year’s resolutions could be as easy as packing a lunch. We got a lot more specific when we talked about the AZ Portion Control Fuel Pack and how it can make portion control easier to manage.
You might not believe it now, but meal prep truly does make things so much easier. You’ll be an expert at it in no time with these tips.
What Is It?
It’s exactly how it sounds; preparing your meals ahead of time for control and convenience.
The Benefits of Meal Prep
It’s not easy to get your food intake under control when you’re throwing together meals right before you head out the door. Lack of preparation means lack of discipline over what you’re eating. Meal preparation throws uncertainty out the window.
You see the big picture
Meal preparation is all about doing things ahead of time. (It’s meant to make things easier for you, not harder!) You have the opportunity to lay out all of your foods and to organize and prepare them how you see fit, whether you like to sort items into food groups, nutrients, lunch/dinner, etc.
With your preparation, you’ll see what kinds of food groups you have, what foods you want to bake/broil/chop, what meal options you can try and how much you have left.
You can portion
If you enjoy measuring out your foods to the closest mL, use your meal planning time to do things like measure, weigh, separate and store foods so they’re ready to grab and go. You can chop and measure out your portions and store them in their own individual containers.
It makes things interesting
Meal preparation means you don’t have to settle for the same boring foods until your next grocery run. Plan some variety into your week!
You save money
The cherry on top of meal preparation is that you avoid the problem of having to eat out during the week. You can buy your foods in bulk to save money.
How do I start?
Before you head to the grocery store—make a plan. If you start shopping without a clear menu, you’re likely to grab items you don’t need.
To help you figure out just what you’re looking for, it’s a good idea to start with food groups that you want in each lunch.
Here is a basic guideline for assistance:
Veggies: Carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, greens, squash, onions, beans, asparagus
Good Fats: Avocados, nuts, cheese, seeds, salmon, EVOO, dark chocolate (yay!)
Good Carbs: Whole grains (bread, rice, quinoa, oats), vegetables, legumes, seeds
Once you’ve gathered all of the groceries you need for the week, the next step is preparing everything. This involves washing/peeling/cutting your fruits and vegetables, as well as cooking/steaming/grilling your proteins and carbs.
My ingredients are prepped. What do I do now?
Now that all of the good foods you’ve prepped are ready for packing, you can use your lunch bag and containers to organize what you’ll be bringing for lunch each day.
If your meal plan includes larger portion sizes, you can mix certain food groups, such as your proteins and veggies to save on space. If you prefer mixing your food at lunch, try separating each of your food groups into different containers in your lunch bag.
Having a lunch bag that will accommodate all of your items will ensure you can include all of the food groups you require.
Using the AZ Portion Control Fuel Pack
The AZ Portion Control Fuel Pack is the perfect tool for food organization.
The Lunch Bag
The BPA-free lunch bag keeps your food items fresh and is made with an easy-clean lining. Extra space in the upper portion of the fuel pack leaves room for personal belongings or extra snacks. Additional zippered pockets are great for money, keys, utensils and more.
The fuel pack containers are super convenient for meal preparation and include: (1) sandwich food container, (3) snacker containers and (2) mini-snacker containers. The varying sizes are helpful for separating food groups and macronutrients, and each is designed with measurements to help portion your sizes easily.
Don’t worry if your meals contain a lot of protein or fresh veggies, AZ Ice Bricks™ snap onto each container and keep food fresh throughout the day.
The Shaker Bottle
The fuel pack also comes equipped with a Tritan™ shaker bottle, which is great for staying hydrated or perfect for a smoothie. Check out these delicious smoothie recipes for the shaker that you can enjoy throughout the day or as your morning meal when you don’t have time for breakfast.
Meal prep ideas
As a basic guideline, it’s suggested that you plan for 6 meals each day including:
- 1 morning meal
- 1 morning snack
- 1 lunch meal
- 1 afternoon snack
- 1 dinner meal
- 1 evening snack
Here are some suggestions for breakfast and lunch that would fit great in your fuel pack:
- Egg white omelet with onion & red peppers
- Whole wheat toast with almond butter and bananas
- Fresh fruit, Greek yogurt and granola
- Fruit smoothie with protein powder
- Green smoothie
- Hard-boiled egg
- Apple slices with almond butter
- Bran muffin
- Tuna & cucumber sandwiches
- Banana bread
- Chicken breast, green beans & brown rice
- Slow cooker chili
- Field greens & vegetables
- Turkey breast, broccoli and sweet potato
- Salmon, quinoa & asparagus
- Celery and carrots with hummus
- Cottage cheese
- Berry mix
- Energy bites (Check out these energy bite recipes!)
- Trail mix
The fuel pack lunch bag is ideal for packing more than one meal, so even if your day goes longer than planned, you can be sure you won’t end up at the vending machine right before your commute home.
Extra meal prep tips
Keep your eyes open
There are lots of simple, budget-friendly meals online. If you see something that you want to try, save the link for later and consider adding it to next week’s grocery list. (I’m just going to throw out one word here…PINTEREST. Best to stay on track though or you’ll get sucked into the Pinterest black hole and never come out).
Make it a family affair
Having your family members join in on food preparation and groceries can be beneficial for everyone! Making it a joint effort means you can choose upcoming meals that everyone will enjoy and it’s also a healthy habit for kids to get into.
Get creative with spices
A lot of sauces are filled with sugars; luckily, spices are a great substitute! Start exploring your own spice pantry or put a little bit of money away every month to try a new flavor or brand. If you don’t enjoy your meals, you won’t follow through with meal preparation. Keep things interesting and delicious with new spices.
Make it easy
If you ever see frozen veggies or proteins on sale, try to bulk up ahead of time for meal prep. This is especially helpful if you know you have a busy week/weekend coming up.
Set your kitchen up for success
If you have a kitchen with all the bells and whistles, meal preparation will be fairly easy to organize. Smaller kitchens, however, can make things more difficult. Don’t be discouraged! Utilize a dining room table for your prep might be easier, or consider using a moveable tray table for extra counter space.
Have stations set up for the different food groups, and prepare to multitask. While your veggies are in the oven, use another area for prepping your fruits or chopping your chicken. Learning how to multitask effectively will save you even more time (and practice makes perfect!).