When you’re only eating a quarter of a cup to a cup of food per meal, it can be hard to cook a single serving. Luckily, making multiple servings of a meal can help automate your meals and help you stay on track with your lifestyle change. Automating your meals is similar to meal prep, but it’s a way for you to not even have to think about what you’re eating because it’s already made for you. With kids, jobs and a house to run, anything to make life easier is a blessing. Automating your meals is a great way to stay on track when your life is crazy busy.
Automate Two Meals Per Day
I learned about automation from Rosemarie Groner at The Busy Budgeter. The concept changed my life. I recommend getting into a routine with automating at least two meals a day. Depending on your schedule and life, you may want to automate breakfast and lunch. However, if you are a third-shift worker, you may want to automate dinner and breakfast. Play around with the meals to see what works best for you.
So how do you automate your meals? Well, you make a big batch of food on the weekend and divided it into single serving portions. For example, cook 10 slices of turkey bacon, add five eggs, scramble and add cheese. Divide into five servings (enough for your work week at least). Or, use the veggies you meal prepped, add eggs and cheese. You could make high protein pancakes for the week (1 over-ripe banana, 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla, mash to combine. Pour into hot skillet and cook like a regular pancake). These are pretty much my go-tos for breakfast, but I’d love to hear some of your ideas! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Lunch (or Supper) Ideas
For lunch, make a few chicken breasts and some broccoli and divide into single servings. Remember to use your food scale for accurate measurement! Make turkey chili in the slow cooker, and divide it into servings for lunch and dinner all week. Freeze any leftovers. If you’re craving Mexican, you could cook taco meat (beef, chicken or turkey), add beans, cheese, light sour cream, lettuce and tomato for individual taco salads. The idea is to make a big batch of something you like, divide it into individual servings, and you now have two meals automated.
For those two meals, all you have to do is heat, if applicable, and eat. No guessing, no weighing during the week. You’ve already done the work for yourself, and it really doesn’t take that long. I can’t tell you how much of a game changer this trick is!
Meal Prep Vs. Automation
Maybe what I’m describing sounds like meal prep. I would argue that meal prep is preparing foods you’ll use to make your meals. Automating your meals is actually preparing your meals and dividing them into single servings. In other words, meal prep makes your ingredients ready to use, while automating your meals makes your food ready to eat. You can meal prep and automate your meals at the same time, as they’re both similar.
For example, when you meal prep, you wash, chop, slice, and cook foods you will use during the week. Think snacks or prepping foods for dinner you’ll cook. When you automate your meals, you prepare the meal ahead of time, so that your building a routine of eating healthy meals. It’s taking meal prep a step further by having ready-to-eat meals.
Automating Your Meals Makes Life Easier
The benefit of having ready to eat meals is staying on track when life is crazy busy. If you’re running around in the morning, yelling at the kiddos to get dressed while trying to apply at least one coat of mascara to your lashes, you need to automate your meals. Automate your kids meals too. Strawberries, yogurt and granola is filling, healthy and delicious. Make overnight oats or cream of wheat for them. Even a smoothie in the morning would be a great way for them to start their day.
When you eliminate one thing from your to-do list in the morning, you eliminate some of the overwhelm. When you cut down on the overwhelm, you start your day on a better, calmer note. It’s amazing how much of a big impact such a little thing can make. Simply having breakfast and lunch ready saves you time, so you can focus on more important things. It also helps you stay on track because you’ll have a filling, healthy breakfast instead of being tempted to hit the drive through.
Automate Breakfast and Lunch
I find automating breakfast and lunch makes my life easier. I no longer have to worry whether I have enough time to make breakfast or pack a lunch for work before I head out the door in the morning. It means I can sleep a little longer, and we know how precious sleep is! It means my meals are pre-portioned, so I won’t overeat. It means I’ll save money because I won’t have to buy food at a drive through or gas station. I usually end up making so much, my dinner is also prepped for the week. I cook once a week and enjoy healthy, nutritious meals all week.
Automating meals is all about building a routine in your life to keep you on track. There are so many temptations out there, and as bariatric patients, we have to battle every day to fight our old habits that caused obesity. Automating just 10 meals a week, two meals a day for five days, will save you so much time, hassle, money and sanity.
A True Game Changer
I know that when life gets crazy, it can be way too easy to hit the drive through than eat a nutritious meal. However, if you automate those meals instead, you’ll meet your protein goals and stay on track to lose weight. Automate your breakfast and lunch, and then prepare a healthy dinner for the family at night. Building new, healthy routines with your meals will help keep you on track and decrease the overwhelm. It will eliminate a to-do list item and keep you grounded. Give it a try with just one meal this week, and let me know how much of a difference it makes in your life. Email me at email@example.com and tell me your story.
If this article gave you some great ideas to incorporate into your life, just imagine what other amazing strategies I have for you! Share this post on social media by clicking one of the sharing buttons, and don’t forget to join my email list! You’ll be the first to get updates, access to my new products and lots of tips, inspiration and motivation to help in your bariatric surgery journey. Just for joining, I’ll send you a free weight loss coloring chart, as well as some other pretty awesome goodies to keep you motivated. Join today!
Meal prep is preparing the foods you use to make your meals. Automating your meals is actually preparing your meals and dividing them into single servings. In other words, meal prep makes your ingredients ready to use, while automating your meals makes your food ready to eat. You can meal prep and automate your meals at the same time, as they’re both similar.