Common Weight Loss Meal Prep Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

Meal prepping is now a really popular solution for busy people who want to eat healthily and meet their weight loss goals, but don’t always have time to cook their own meals from scratch. However, sometimes this simple strategy can go awry due to some easily avoidable errors. Here are some prep meal pitfalls to watch out for and how to avoid them.

Consuming hidden calories

The content of a meal can seem to be healthy, but it may contain hidden calories in toppings or sauces. Look for low fat options and read ingredient lists carefully so you know exactly what’s in your meals. 

Not enough variety

If you eat the same meal every day, for example if you do a big batch cook in a slow cooker at the weekend and gradually use it up for weekday evening meals, boredom can soon set in. Most of us eat for enjoyment as well as to stave off physical collapse, and if you are faced with the same food every day it can become very dull very quickly.

This can lead you into the snacking danger zone, where you crave hits of salt, sugar and artificial flavours just to experience some variety. This undos all the hard work of your meal preparation, and will also be bad news for your waistline. To combat this, prepare smaller batches that you can freeze, or consider using a delivery service. 

Not balancing food groups

If your meals are lacking in one of the major food groups such as proteins, carbohydrates, fibre, or unsaturated fats, it is likely that you will not satisfy your hunger or nutrition needs. This means that you will be reaching for a snack in a few hours’ time, throwing your healthy eating goals off track. 

Ideally, half of your plate should be filled with vegetables, a quarter with lean protein such as white meat or fish, and a quarter with whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa, or potatoes. If you are trying to lose weight, limit your intake of dairy products and red meat, but include some healthy fats that are found in nuts, seeds, avocados or olive oil.

Wasting your meal prep

If you do not plan ahead, you can buy the ingredients or even do the prep with good intentions, but then other plans get in the way and the food goes to waste. Check your calendar for nights when you will be eating elsewhere, and freeze meals or ingredients if necessary. 

Over or underestimating your portion sizes

When preparing meals in advance, it is important to batch them in the correct portion sizes, otherwise we can end up with a meal that is too skimpy, leading to snack attacks, or an overlarge portion that contributes to weight gain. Use kitchen scales to weigh your food, or buy containers that are designed for single servings (or however many portions you need).