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How To Rethink Meal Prep So You *Actually* Start Doing It

October 2, 2019

Alyssa Gagarin is the meal prep queen. Her social media is sprinkled with photos of Pyrex container after Pyrex container filled with meals that any of us would be thrilled to eat for lunch. For Gagarin, meal prep is all about supporting your health but doing it with ease. “The simplest a person can do is eat real food. And by real — I mean home-cooked food,” she says.

Get Alyssa’s recipe: Vegan Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

The benefits of real food aren’t limited to physical health, either. According to Gagarin, meal prepping saves time in obvious ways but also in terms of mental clutter. “Everything consumes so much time and energy, you don’t want to spend it trying to decide what you’re going to eat and how are you’re going to get it four times a day.” Instead, she encourages her clients to make that decision once or twice a week, meal prep, and then go about their business. “Don’t waste your precious brain space on all those busy questions,” she says.

Avocado toast

Photo Credit: Alyssa Gagarin

Before You Put Away Your Groceries, Do This

For the many of us that have tried (and failed) to establish a regular meal prep routine — inevitably ending up with a refrigerator shelf filled with rotting veggies — Gagarin has some expert advice: When you get home from the grocery store, don’t put anything in the fridge until you’ve at least done the first step of cooking. “Bang out all the cutting and peeling and marinating,” she says.

Many of us think of meal prep as spending 8-hours on a Sunday preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner for an entire week, but Gagarin’s personal meal prep routine isn’t rigid or overly strict. “One week it might be a big batch weeknight dinner—and then I graze on that throughout the week,” she says. The next week it might be a series of smaller preps.

Gagarin doesn’t follow a specific diet or subscribe to a single way of eating; in fact, her approach is almost painfully simple. “I feel more energized and accomplish more when I’m eating well,” she says simply. And that’s concept we can definitely get behind.

How to do it: If you have trouble meal-prepping, make a rule that you don’t put your groceries away until you’ve done the basic washing and chopping. You’re much more likely to cook that food if the first task is already checked off the list.


Meet the Make-it-Easy Masters
It’s easy to be inspired by women who do big, incredible things like starting their own medical practice, running a marathon, or writing a book. But we can’t forget about the small stuff, either! That’s why we teamed up with Youtheory to bring you the Make-It-Easy Masters series. You’ll meet 10 women who are doing big things while still making sure they get the little things done. They’re sharing tips, recipes, and wisdom on everything from meal prep to self care to natural beauty to inspire your journey towards good living.

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