“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

~Benjamin Franklin

How true is this quote? When it comes to figuring out what you’re going to eat while on the go, at work, or driving your kids to the moon and back, how many of you epically fail to prepare something healthy and instead grab the easiest and quickest thing you can because you’re stretched for time and energy?

So let’s talk about meal prepping. We’ve ALL had times in our lives when it’s the last thing we really want to do, especially at ten o’clock at night after a long day of work when you have to be up at the crack of dawn, but trust me, I’ve been there, and it makes life so much simpler and you’ll feel better doing it.

Invest in containers that are easy to package foods in. Even if they say “microwave safe” I still only microwave in glass containers. But Rubbermaid has great spill proof containers that are BPA free and say they are microwavable. Check out Pyrex dishes with lids (they work well) or use simple canning jars and reuse the lids (don’t microwave the lids though! J). There are other brands that work just as well so find what works for you.

Bringing your own food saves you money. Spend that money of your own groceries, maybe buying organic options instead. Eating out may be easy, but it comes at a cost, both to your budget and health.

Make things ahead when you have time or double up recipes and freeze them so you can just pull them out for the next day! I’ve frozen whole-wheat pancakes, breads, muffins, soups, pasta dishes, hamburger for tacos, and more!

Think about your meal in terms of a real plate (because it will all be in containers). Make sure there are lots of veggies, a good protein, some carbohydrates, and a fruit for dessert if you feel like you need something sweet. And pack a healthy snack just in case.

Have go-to items ready. Always keep on hand fresh (cut & prepped if able) veggies and fruits that are easy to pack and healthy proteins and whole-grain carbs. This could include things like nuts, yogurt, cottage cheese, homemade granola, oatmeal, hummus, or hard-boiled eggs.

Don’t be afraid to make extra for whatever meal you prepare at home so you can have leftovers for the next day. Sorry for those of you who don’t do leftovers, but it certainly works well for us! This is the easiest way to get my lunch/dinner ready for the next day. If I am eating dinner at home (and not at work), when we are done eating, I usually make up my lunch (and Ben, my husband’s lunch) for the next day right then.

And that leads into my last and NUMBER 1 meal prep tip (and it’s nothing magical, but it sure does work!): Whatever meal you are going to be gone for during the day, prep everything the night before. It reduces so much stress in the busy morning and means that there’s a much greater chance you won’t be stopping by the drive through, eating less than ideal options from the cafeteria or snacking on unhealthy things because you didn’t pack.