5 Meal Prep Mistakes That Make Weight Loss Harder

Christian Coulson
Updated: June 14, 2020
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I seriously don’t understand why cooking takes like 6 hours, eating like 3 seconds, and washing the dishes takes 7 to 8 business days.

While meal prepping can surely help you lose weight, it’s important that you do it the right way.

Here are 5 meal prep mistakes that can make weight loss harder.

1. Using Large Food Containers

Using small-size containers is crucial if you aren’t intentionally weighing your foods and tracking calories.

People tend to fill their plates and containers to the brim, so choosing the right containers will help you keep your portions smaller.

In fact, studies (1) have shown that using smaller plates can help you eat less food by tricking your brain into thinking that you’ve eaten a lot.

Definitely one of the weirdest but useful weight loss tricks.

So try getting 20-24 ounces meal prep containers, you could also get containers with different compartments to portion out your meals.

Here are a few more tips on how to lose weight without tracking calories, if you’d like to explore more.

2. Not Balancing Your Meals

Infographic of what your macro ratio should look in your plate.

Just because you prepped your meals doesn’t mean you’ll magically lose weight.

You need to prep well-balanced and nutritious meals that will help you stay full for longer and keep your energy levels stable.

Fiber, protein, and slowly digestive carbs are ideal for a well-balanced meal.

The fiber will slow digestion, which will help prevent unwanted spikes in blood sugar, promote better absorption of nutrients, and keep your gut healthy.

High fiber foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, such as

  • broccoli
  • green beans
  • asparagus
  • brussel sprouts
  • rolled oats
  • berries
  • kidney beans
  • lentils

Protein will help you maintain muscle mass, which is important for boosting your metabolism. Plus, it’s also the most satiating nutrient, which will help you stay full for longer and reduce cravings.

Example of high-protein foods:

  • tilapia
  • sea bass
  • tuna
  • chicken breast
  • top sirloin
  • whole eggs
  • egg whites
  • whey protein
  • ground turkey

Complex carbs (carbs with low glycemic index) take longer to digest than simple carbs, this will also help you stay full for longer and reduce your chances of snacking.

Example of complex carbs:

  • sweet potato
  • whole grains
  • rolled oats
  • quinoa
  • whole wheat bread
  • whole wheat pasta
  • brown and wild rice
  • legumes

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3. Using Complicated Recipes

One of the most common meal prep mistakes people make is not keeping things simple.

Recipes with a bunch of ingredients will not only take longer to make and stress you out, but they will also add more calories to your meals.

Small things like sauces, seasonings, and condiments can have lots of fat and refined sugars, which adds lots of calories and no nutritional value.

People often take these for granted, but this is where most people fail, these “little” things often add up to a significant amount of calories.

So stick to simple recipes and whole foods.

It’s also important that you be careful with foods labeled as “healthy,” as they can contain lots of added sugars and calories.

That’s why I always recommend people to read nutrition labels before buying any food.

4. Cooking for Too Many Days

If you’re cooking a week’s worth of meals (or more), it’s important to freeze those meals you won’t be eating within the next 4 days.

Food safety is important, you don’t want to be eating bad foods that will cause harm to your stomach.

I typically cook every Sunday and Thursday.

5. Not Prepping Your Snacks

People often focus on prepping their larger meals, such as lunch and dinner; however, prepping your snacks is just as important.

As I mentioned, people often tend to ignore “small” foods or snacks, but these foods can add tons of unwanted calories.

Instead of just snacking on whatever sugary food you find in the office, focus on packing some nutrient-dense snacks, such as

  • pre-cut veggies
  • hummus
  • edamame
  • low-fat popcorn
  • greek yogurt
  • celery sticks
  • cherry tomatoes with mozzarella

Here’s an awesome list of low-carb snacks for weight loss.

Do you know of other meal prep mistakes people make? Let me know in the comments section below!

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