I have a fantastic guest on today’s podcast where we are going to talk all about meal prepping. Give it up for Allison Hollinger, as she helps us to be able to streamline our lives a little bit better, eat a little bit healthier and make the week a little bit less stressful, all with figuring out how to make meal prepping work for busy families.
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/262
- What triggered Allison to do meal prepping? (03:53)
- Benefits of meal prepping (10:03)
- First steps to meal prepping (12:27, 12:54, 14:10, 14:25)
- Hardest part of the day and how meal prepping fits into it (15:08)
- What space and equipment is needed to start meal prepping? (17:01)
- How often can meal prepping be done? (19:26, 21:01)
- Meal prep recipes and planning (23:44, 24:06, 25:14, 26:09, 27:37)
- Intermediate-level of meal prepping (30:31, 31:29)
Allison's Meal Prep Challenge: http://readysetmealprep.com
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio episode 262.
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PR's. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife and mom of four. Each week my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise, mindset, personal development and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in. Now, let's jump into today's episode.
Amber B 00:48
Hey hey hey. Welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke and today on the podcast I have a fantastic guest where we are talking all about meal prepping. So, Allison Hollinger is here to help us to be able to streamline our lives a little bit better, eat a little bit healthier and make the week a little bit less stressful, all with figuring out how to make meal prepping work for you. Now one of the reasons that I had Allison on the podcast is because I know she is not the type of meal prepper who is going to tell you that you need to spend 4 hours on a Saturday, meal prepping every single thing you're gonna eat in these colorful containers that are so uniform and, you know, have everything in your, in your fridge like that's not the way that she does it, cause I don't think for many of us that is a realistic way to do meal prep. So, she is a fantastic resource who has figured out how to make meal prepping work for busy families. And that's exactly why I had her on the podcast today, so we talk about meal prepping, how to get started, some of the barriers that a lot of people have to overcome to be willing to meal prep, and she speaks to a couple that I've had myself. So definitely make sure that you're listening to the episode. If you are someone who's sitting here going, I don't know, I'm not sure if meal prepping is anything that I wanna get into this year. Listen to the episode and decide at the end if it's something that you want to try out because Allison makes it feel very easy and very doable, which is something that I definitely appreciate. So without further ado, let's jump into the episode with Allison. I am so excited to welcome Allison to the podcast. Allison, how are you doing?
Allison Hollinger 02:26
Hi, I'm doing great. Thanks for having me.
Amber B 02:28
Yes, this is so good. This is a topic that I really wanted to hit at the beginning of the year because I think as people are rolling into the New Year, they're setting resolutions, they're recommitting to some of their fitness goals and a lot of times meal prepping fits in with that. We recognize the more prepared we are, the more successful we usually are when it comes to our food. And so I'm excited to be able to talk with you about that topic. So, before we dive into that, will you just introduce yourself to my audience and tell us a little bit about yourself.
Allison Hollinger 02:57
Sure, I'm Allison Hollinger. I have a meal prepping membership called “Plan To Nourish”, I’m the founder and creator of that, and I essentially teach busy families how to meal plan and prep effectively, efficiently and sustainably. Been meal prepping for about over a decade and so I have a lot of experience especially with juggling families and working full time and all that good stuff.
Amber B 03:23
Yeah, and one of the things I appreciate about you is you're coming from the perspective of meal prepping with a family. You have kids, you have a husband and it's not like you're alone as a single woman, which is fine, but a lot of us, I think it's different if you're like single and on your own versus meal prepping for a family. And so that's really what we're gonna dive into today.
So I am curious, you said you’ve been meal prepping for 10 years, like what triggered that? What got you into it?
Allison Hollinger 03:53
I think, so I've been cooking my whole life, it just kind of runs in the family, so I've always had that skill. But I, as I got into my 20s, I kind of took a sidebar as taking care of myself and all of that good stuff that actually when I started really meal prepping is when I was, I had just had my first baby and that my husband was deployed. We're a military family. And I went to the doctor for a checkup and she's like, you look terrible. What are you doing? You are running yourself into the ground. We need to make some, so she's like you're anemic. We need to do a full plant panel. You are deficient in so many things. I can tell you're exhausted. You need to change your lifestyle or you're going to throw yourself into an autoimmune disorder. So that was a big gut check for me. They actually asked if I had an eating disorder because I looked so malnourished, I had no idea. I was just trying to, I had a very very fussy baby and I was on my own, so I decided to dive into, she's like meal prepping is the answer. I feel like the doctors always tell you that meal prepping is the answer, but they don't explain how to do it. Back then we didn't have like all of the Internet to search. There wasn't Instagram and all the reels and all that stuff. So I started getting books and reading, tried to dive in and found that what people defined as meal prepping did not work for me as a mom and someone who didn't necessarily love doing it to begin with. It was this, you have to prep everything for hours, over the weekend and do everything under the sun and eat the same thing every day and, and that for me just did not work. So I threw all the books away. I dove into making it doable for me and then when it worked for me, all of the other military spouses around wanted to know what I was doing to suddenly have more energy and to actually have time for myself. And I was eating really well and then it just kind of trickled out from there.
Amber B 05:44
It’s so good. So, you know before we dive in we're going to get into some specifics. Allison's going to help us with some specifics, but I'm curious who, who do you think meal prep Is good for and is there anybody who you say it's like not really a good fit for those types of people?
Allison Hollinger 06:01
Now I would say it's good for literally everybody, regardless of your budget, regardless of dietary restrictions or fitness goals or time constraints. Whether you are a single person or a family, I think it's for everybody. If it's not for you, if it's what you're, I always say to my clients, like if what you're doing is working for you, and you don't feel like you need a change and there's no reason to change, but if what you're doing the same old same old stuff, it just isn't working then it's time to change and we always say like nothing changes unless something changes, right? So that's what I would say to that.
Amber B 06:39
Yeah, that's really good. Ahm, just so we can make sure we have our terminology correct and we're like on the same page, what do you see as the difference between meal planning and meal prepping?
Allison Hollinger 06:47
OK, so meal planning I call it like the GPS map for the week, that's how I always refer to it. That's just like your itinerary. It's going to be your menu. What you're gonna have to eat every single day of the week. We can get into the specific I only do Monday through Friday, just so everyone knows to make it a little easier for myself. But with prepping, it's actually preparing something that you're going to be eating or consuming ahead of time to kind of set yourself up for success.
Amber B 07:18
Awesome. OK cool. So what do you see as the biggest reasons why people don't meal prep? Like what holds people back from actually doing that? Cause that sounds very nice to like have things ahead of time, that sounds great. I would love that, so why don't people do it?
Allison Hollinger 07:33
I think people get busy. I think we all know we need to meal prep, but it becomes, I think probably most people have dabbled in it at some point and then felt very overwhelmed and very burnt out by it, found that the time it took to put into it didn't, it wasn't worth the benefit of it that I think that there's this mindset like, especially if you go look at social media, there's kind of this there.
Amber B 07:58
Yeah, it's so like pinteresty.
Allison Hollinger 08:00
It's like, yes, it's so filtered, it's so beautiful and you see these countertops with these huge spreads and everything for the week. And I'm like, it's either it's gonna take too much time or it's too expensive, or my picky family won't eat that stuff. That's a big one too.
Amber B 08:16
That is a big one.
Allison Hollinger 08:18
So, and they're like meal prepping is boring. Those are all kind of the basics. It's too much time, it’s too complicated. I don't have, you know, it's too expensive.
Amber B 08:27
I don't want to eat the same food every day. Is that a big one?
Allison Hollinger 08:29
Yeah, exactly yes.
Amber B 08:30
I feel like that's one that I hear a lot.
Allison Hollinger 08:31
Yeah, I don't eat leftovers.
Amber B 08:33
Oh, that's a good one.
Allison Hollinger 08:34
That's, that's another one too that we get a lot. And so I I'm the one that debunks the myth for all that like think that definition of what society puts out there, Instagram World of Meal Prep is not accurate for real life families
Amber B 08:48
Yes, I agree. I feel like I, I love to look at the beautiful images on Pinterest or on social media like they're all like colorful and they have all the, you know, everything's like organized in these little different containers. And it's there's seven of them and it's so pretty. And I look at that and just think, Oh man, that is, that's a lot, I don't know that I can do all of that. So, I love that, one of the things I love about the way that you approach this is, it's like it doesn't have to be that way and that that pinteresty version of like having every single one of your meals all prepped ahead of time, you know for seven days a week, for every single meal you're gonna eat, it doesn't, it's not the only way that meal prepping can work, and you figured out a way to make it really easy for busy families to be able to make it work for them, which is one of the reasons I wanted to have you on the podcast. So if somebody's listening to this and they're like OK, Allison, ah convince me that meal prepping is worth it? Right, because one of the things you said was that some of the reasons that people don't do it, is because they don't feel like the, the benefit, the pay off, is worth the time investment that it is. So, what is the benefit? What is the payoff? What would you say to someone who's like, I'm not sure if I want a meal prep. What would you say to help them to see the benefit on the other side, if they take the time to do this?
Allison Hollinger 10:03
Yeah, so this comes up a lot actually. And how I always start is everyone's individual goals of like what is their goal for not only their health and fitness, but their financial goals and their self-care goals and the time, the things that are the priority for them in their life. And generally it comes all down to meal prepping that can pave the path towards their goals. It sounds crazy, but it's like your goal is to save time throughout the week, like if you're feeling like you're frazzled and you're chaotic, meal prepping is gonna help you with that. If you're feeling like you need to save money, that budgeting is a number one priority for you. Well, meal prepping is the one area in your life where you like food that you eat is total in your, in your control. It's the one thing where you have the most flexibility in your budget and if your time is to if your priority is to like spend more time with your family or you wanna go be able to to I don't know go, do, go read books or have some time for yourself, then meal prepping can pave the way for that too. I think that no matter what ohh and the other one is, if you have health and fitness goal where you're trying to stick to a restrictive plan or you're trying to reach a weight loss goal, then the only way to be successful is to meal prep and be ahead of the game because we get I always say, like when we're hangry and we're hungry we throw all rational thinking out the window and we go for convenience, it's not for health, it's not the budget, it's, it's convenience.
Amber B 11:35
Totally. That's what's easy. Absolutely, yeah, I think that's a huge one. It’s like we're able to make better decisions earlier in the day, we're better able to make decisions when we're not hungry, when we're not time strapped for like trying to figure out what we're gonna eat. So, that planning ahead of time and knowing what you're gonna and then that prepping it to make it super easy just to grab it. People are more likely to be able to, you know, stay with healthier food and feel good about the things that they're eating, which is, which is so valuable.
That's awesome! OK, so if someone's listening to this, like, OK Allison, you convinced me. I want to get started but I'm, I don't want to do the pinteresty like, that scares me to do you know, seven days a week and and plan everything. What do you suggest as like the baby step, like the first step of like, what can I do to kind of tip my toe into this world of meal prepping?
Allison Hollinger 12:22
Yeah, so I have the motto that some is better than none, that's like a really big giant one.
Amber B 12:25
Yes, love it.
Allison Hollinger 12:27
It's kind of how I run my whole life, and so if you're in the all or nothing mindset, most people won't get started with a lot of things, right? So, what I do is, I break down, I talk to my clients about breaking down like, where do they struggle the most? What's the one area of the week or in their day that they struggle with food the most and we start there. Usually, it's lunches, I like find my,
Amber B 21:50
I was gonna say that, actually when you said that, I was like lunch, I feel like for a lot of us. The hard one.
Allison Hollinger 12:54
Yeah, it's usually lunches for you, so my, so this is gonna sound crazy, but the priority for for what I'm talking to families or when I like the priority for meal prepping, is to take care of you as the caretaker. It take care of you. It's like an oxygen mask on an airplane, you need to put yours on first, before you can take care of anyone else. So, where you personally struggle is where we start, which is like if it's lunch, then you go with making a lunch for the week ahead of time. Commit to that, and if that goes well then you can add something on to it the next day, or maybe next week or maybe next month. We can go slow or as fast as someone wants, but it's about having the one thing starting with one thing making it amazing, feeling good with it and then adding on to it.
Amber B 13:41
OK, so people who are listening can be asking themselves what's the sticking point for me in my day like, what's the, what's the hardest part of my day of figuring out what to eat or to feed myself? And I, and I think the question of like to feed myself is such a good question to start with, because I think a lot of moms go to, to feed my family and to your point it's like, no let's take care of you let's feed yourself first and get that under control. And then you're going to have so much more energy and time and focus and ability to be able to you know, feed your family.
Allison Hollinger 14:10
Exactly, because if you're constantly worried about your family, so I don't know if this makes like if anyone else can find this relatable, but I find that if I'm only focused on the family, I will forget to eat or I will then start to eat like the crust off the kids’ sandwiches.
Amber B 14:25
Allison Hollinger 14:25
Or I'll go add for the go get the chips. And my household, they don't like, I believe in moderation and so like we have chips and goldfish crackers and that kind of stuff around too. Everything's balanced, but I will go for that stuff for like a quick fix and then my nutrition goes out. I have my own health goals. You know that I need to reach to by constantly trying to just take care of the family, then my health goes out the window.
Amber B 14:51
I'm curious what other you know, so when you said like what's your sticking point of the day for me, I immediately thought lunch for my self and maybe some of the people listening did as well, but what are some other sticking points that you hear very commonly of people like identifying this, this is the hardest part of the day for me, and how does meal prepping fit into that?
Allison Hollinger 15:08
OK, so a big one is breakfast. A lot of people will stop at McDonald's to go grab, maybe just a coffee or maybe an egg Mcmuffin or whatever, which adds up a lot of money over the course of a week
Amber B 15:18
Yeah, and a lot of calories.
Allison Hollinger 15:20
And a lot of calories and people are skipping breakfast altogether. I am a huge advocate for smoothies. That's, smoothies changed my health like that was the easiest thing that, I can prep them two different ways ahead of time. My kids know how to prep them, even my 7 year old preps them, but smoothies have been like the saving grace for the family because it's portable nutrition that allows me to multitask, and so if I can put a smoothie together if it's prepped ahead of time, I can put it together in 60 seconds or less, and then I've got a full ready meal to go out the door with me, or to vacuum the house or to do work on homework with the kids or whatever it is. But breakfast is a big one I think oftentimes people forget to make snacks and they think that maybe they'll be good with their three meals for the day. But we need things that can bridge the gap or take off that hangry feeling. And when you're hangry and that afternoon slump, that's when we make like the trips to Starbucks and get those sugary, caramel macchiatos and things like that or those cake pops. So having snacks available that are easy grab and go, that's like one of the big things actually put those on my meal plan when I do a meal plan for the week. I make sure that there are snacks on there for myself as well as lunches and breakfast for me.
Amber B 16:38
That's awesome, so talk to me a little bit about space and equipment to be able to make this easy ‘coz that's another big like objection that comes into my mind is like Oh my gosh, I have to go buy out all these like little bento boxes and these little containers and like fill my fridge with all of these stacks of you know different meal prep like boxes and so talk to me about how you make that, how we make that as easy as possible.
Allison Hollinger 17:01
Yeah, so first and foremost, it doesn't matter the size of your kitchen. I've made meal prepping work for a summer in a New York City hotel apartment like, like a kitchenette with a very tiny refrigerator and I meal prepped for my daughter’s an athlete, so I've meal prepping is essential for her so I make it work in those type that type of a situation or a regular kitchen, you really probably already have on hand what you need without having to buy anything. No one says every container has to match. If you are looking for like a 3-compartment, those black containers that all are the same. They're easy to to work with. You can go get one pack of five for less than $3 at Walmart that are great, and then you can just reuse those every week. I always say like work with what you have first and then upgrade over time.
Amber B 17:55
Allison Hollinger 17:55
You just ,the big thing is, is that see with all the money you're going to save with meal prepping, you can totally upgrade over time very quickly. But I always say like it has to just be my rule is that it has to be airtight. That's like if you have to go through your cabinet and if you have those containers that don't have matching tops, we all have those, then get rid of those and get one stack of five containers from Walmart. You can order them online from Amazon if you want to, but like you don't, you don't need a fancy gadget, you don't need to have a pressure cooker. You just need like an oven and a skillet will work. If you want to make things a little bit easier, you can get something like a ninja foodie, which is a one stop shop pressure cooker, air fryer and slow cooker all at one. But you can work up to that, you can make it very easily done with an oven and a stove in like one or two pans.
Amber B 18:46
Yeah ,OK cool. OK so walk me through this a little bit so that I can kind of visualize it. What, so you're starting the week out and you're coming into like when you're gonna do your meal prep, do you do it one time a week? Do you do it multiple times a week? Do you set aside time? Do you like, what are you doing during that period of time, how long does it take you kind of walk me through what that looks like for you and I know too, I wanna reference I know you do a lot of like cooking on your Facebook channel where you like actually, will do some cooking with people, so I definitely wanna like send people over to that resource, but we just kind of walk us through what that looks like on a logistical basis for when you're sitting down to do your meal prepping.
Allison Hollinger 19:26
Yeah, so I work in what I call pockets of time so and some pockets are bigger than others and some are consistent and some are not. An example of a consistent pocket of time is that I go grocery shopping once for the week. Some people do it for two weeks at a time. I think one time one week is the easiest to start with and then as you get better, you can increase that, but I do it once a week and that's where my biggest pocket of time is. So, I will say this when I go to meal prepping, I never do like people always talk about freezer meal cooking and all that, all that stuff for me is separate and my weekly stuff that I want to have all the time. Otherwise it's gonna be hours and hours in the kitchen. And you're more likely to not continue it if it's not sustainable. So I go to the grocery store, I come home, most people get the most overwhelmed when you get home from the store. It's like where do I start? What do I do? and this is where I become like a ninja and a multitasker, as soon as I get home I wash, it takes me one, I use about one hour of time and that's when I'm going to wash all my produce for the week, get it all dried, stored correctly and then I'll usually that's when I'm making my lunch for the week and probably smoothie packets if I need to, that's like it. I never prepped dinners ahead of time. I don't prep anything for dinners ahead of time. I just have everything available that I need so that when I go to throw dinner together in the morning I can just boom boom boom boom, boom and be done and so that's like my biggest pocket of time right there.
Amber B 20:56
Question, are you eating the same meal for lunch the whole week?
Allison Hollinger 21:01
So for me it varies, I, if I'm feeling strapped for time, I will just make at least one lunch for the week and start there. I always say start with one you can always add more variety later, but at least just to get your free right cause some people like I don't wanna eat the same thing for lunch every single day. You'd actually be surprised how much you love it when it makes it so much easier for you.
Amber B 21:22
You know, think about it, yeah.
Allison Hollinger 21:24
And you just do it and you make something really delicious and yummy. You can always do two options, but that's like down the road like get started with one and then my husband and I usually double it up and my husband and I have it for lunches for the week. But throughout the week that's when I'll take like 10 minutes here and there. A prime example, it's like when I have a chunk of time between taking my kids to two different schools. One kid starts an hour earlier than the others. That's a little pocket of time I can use to make like I have like breakfast burritos. I want to pop in and like mass produce those. I can make 14 freezer sandwiches in 10 minutes for my kids. I can make like, I don't know yogurt fruit parfaits to have as a snack. I can put those together in 10 minutes. So I fill in the gaps that way throughout a little bit each day I'm not prepping all the time, every day, it's just little chunks of time here and there.
Amber B 22:19
And I feel so much more doable than setting aside like 4 hours on a Saturday, too.
Allison Hollinger 22:23
I mean, that's, that's like family time I want to go like I usually will go as soon as I get home from the store and wash my produce. I have like a whole setup system so that I put nothing away until my stuff is being washed like the produce is being thrown in and being washed then I start to put the rest of the groceries away, unless it's ice cream, that goes away first.
Amber B 22:41
Right away first.
Allison Hollinger 22:43
What I usually do is I lay the produce out to dry and then I go to the beach with my family, so I'd rather be doing that on a Sunday than standing in the kitchen for four hours. I don't care how well it sets me up for the week. I then,
Amber B 22:54
Sure, I'm not willing to, to give that time to it.
Allison Hollinger 22:57
No, the kids are growing up so fast like that's when I always say you want to build memories, have time to build memories.
Amber B 23:04
Yeah, that's so good. I love that idea of pockets of time, of just looking for little pockets of time and you know maybe it's like you know you have 15 minutes here and so you can put together some smoothie packets or 20 minutes here and you can do some like protein balls or something like that and it it makes it feel much more doable, like fit it you know, fit it in. Talk to me a little bit about recipes. Where are you finding recipes? Are you like sourcing them yourself, are you creating them? I know you do a lot with like giving your members recipes in your membership. But talk to me a little bit about like what, do you reuse the same recipes over and over every week. Are you trying new ones?
Allison Hollinger 23:44
So for me personally, because I create recipes, I'm constantly trying new ones and where my inspiration comes for that, or like trending ideas that are too many steps for the busy family or have ingredients that are not the healthiest like cream of whatever soups and things like that. Like, I'm all for fast recipes but they have to help us reach our health goals, right, so, so I work a lot with recreating things like that,
Amber B 24:05
Allison Hollinger 24:06
But what I do as far as like I have like my I call them like a Fab 5 they're like the five recipes that I know that I can make in a pinch to fill in the gaps so that it's really fast things. I know that my kids love things that I already have things on hand. So if I need something in a pinch, I can just do it. Those are kind of on rotation, so I think so I store every meal plan I've ever made and those are pretty much on like a 6-week rotation so it's constantly and then like maybe I'll add in a new recipe, one a week and never do more than one new recipe a week because you don't want to have a full week of failure on groceries just for cost effectiveness.
Amber B 24:49
Well and for your like kids arguing and like complaining to you.
Allison Hollinger 24:52
It's not worth it.
Amber B 24:53
Yeah, it's not worth it at all.
Allison Hollinger 24:55
No, it's like one, we tried one new recipe, we like it, it's great. We add it to the list if not we boot it so.
Amber B 25:01
And tomorrow we'll have something you like because.
Allison Hollinger 25:03
Yeah, exactly, exactly.
Amber B 25:05
Yeah, that's good, are you, so when you say that you rotate through those meal plans every six weeks, do you plan breakfast, lunch, dinner snacks? Like, how much of that are you planning?
Allison Hollinger 25:14
So I plan for the family Monday through Friday for dinners and then snacks and breakfasts and lunches are for me because actually my kids want to eat the same thing every day and I'm OK with it because they get variety everywhere else in their, their day and lunches. I'm like cool with it as long as it's balanced and they're getting all the nutrients, and that's what they want, then I'm good with it. I don't even have to plan it out, I know what they're gonna eat.
Amber B 25:40
That's good, I like it, that's, that's really awesome. So if we're, if we tilt this a little bit towards somebody who like, a lot of the people who are listening who have some sort of health and fitness goals, right, they're probably can be great to be able to help, you have something to eat so that you have to make those decisions in the moment. Do you have any tips or suggestions for somebody who is coming to meal prepping with some sort of health and fitness goal? Any tips that will help them to be more successful in the process of meal planning, of meal prepping.
Allison Hollinger 26:09
Yeah, so if you have any sort of health and fitness goal, for number one is making sure that you have produce that's in the house and it's kept properly and clean. You'd be surprised they've done all kinds of studies on Consumer Reports. The amount of bacteria that you can't see on all kinds of produce. Washing it, I always say we like I wash it in like a solution of vinegar and water to kill the bacteria naturally and washing it doesn't extend the life of it, it just makes it so it's healthier to consume. Washing it and storing it makes it so that you're most likely to use it. So that if it's prepped ready to go, and you don't even have to think about it, and it's in already individually packaged for yourself you can. that makes it so that that's the difference between and when you're in the heat of the moment of being either really busy or really starving. Having that grab and go like healthy option that actually looks beautiful when you go and open your refrigerator or going in and getting a bag of chips or stopping at a convenience store for a Snickers or something. So it, I think that alone makes a huge difference.
Amber B 27:12
So talk me through exactly how you're doing it so you're doing some sort of like vinegar solution. I assume you're like filling your, your sink with like water and vinegar and then.
Allison Hollinger 27:21
Yeah you can, or you can, I use like a wash tub from a, it’s called like a dish pan, it was like $2.00.
Amber B 27:26
Got it. OK, so you're doing some sort of soak and then you're letting it dry and then are you like cutting produce, are you, what's that process between after it's washed before it gets put into the fridge?
Allison Hollinger 27:37
Yeah, so I love it, this, this is like my favorite part, because if you did nothing else, this would not only save you money, but it would get you toward your goals. My members have lost like 35 lbs doing this, they've gotten like lowered their insulin levels, like all the great stuff, just from this so after it's like washed and drying, everything needs to be by the way, bone dry when you go put it away in your in your refrigerator. Otherwise that's when you get the white fuzz or things start to wilt and stuff like that, so some of it I cut up right away and put it into containers for myself for I don't know for snacks or breakfast or for the kids lunch boxes. I'll do some of that like berries, strawberries, blueberries don't actually need to be chopped, but like strawberries, anything like that, celery sticks, carrot sticks, I do cucumbers, things like that. There are other things can stay whole if they're my ingredients that I'm gonna need for my recipes. I don't like chopped up peppers for the week. I don't chop up sweet potatoes for the week and that kind of stuff that's kind of as needed. I do chop the things that I know that I need for snacks like I know that one of our snacks, my go to and Sophie's and my daughter and my husband’s is hummus and chopped vegetables, so if I have that in little boxes, ready to go, with the hummus and the veggies already chopped, it's like makes a huge difference as far as staying healthy.
Amber B 29:04
That's really awesome. That's really cool. I love hearing the specifics because it gives me something like Oh yeah, I could do that. That sounds easy you know and I think that's what you were saying earlier is like that's the key is like it should sound easy. We want to start with the things that sound easy. We don't want to start with the four hours on a Saturday making all the meals for the week, start with something that feels light and easy and be able to go from that and and add on to it as you want to.
Allison Hollinger 29:30
Yeah, I mean like for me myself, I don't want to make all the dinners for the week on Sunday or all the side dishes and just microwave everything for my day every day. You know what I mean like, I like fresh food too. So, so that's I, oh and I bring in by the way, when it comes to like I, I did say that I eat the same thing for lunch, but I do get variety with dinners and snacks and breakfast stuff. So it's not like I'm eating the same thing all the time.
Amber B 29:55
Not like the same. It's like not like the dame day repeated over and over and over again.
Allison Hollinger 29:58
Yeah, it's just like lunch for me is a struggle because I have work and kids and like that, so one thing at least done is so easy.
Amber B 30:07
Yeah, that's really awesome. OK, so we've talked a little bit about the beginner right, someone who's just getting started with this, but I have to imagine that there’s some people listening who have already maybe gone past that just the first step and I'm wondering if you have any good tips for someone who's like wanting to take it to the next level. They're like, OK, yeah, I've already done like some of the beginner stuff and I wanna kind of get to that intermediate level of meal prepping, you know, what do you got for them?
Allison Hollinger 30:31
Yeah, so the goal is always to become more efficient and with your time and I think multitasking is a next level step so that if you're someone who just gets home from the store and you've got like you already know how to wash your produce and stuff, this is when you can start to have something soaking and washing, something on the stove, cooking something in the oven too. So then it becomes kind of a well oiled machine in your kitchen. It definitely can get overwhelming very quickly if you're a beginner, but if you have the beginning skills down and you're like I got this, I'm ready for more, it's multitasking, so like for me how it looks for me is not only is my stuff washed and drying at the same time I'm throwing something in the crockpot like I'm gonna have like BBQ chicken stuff, sweet potatoes, right. So I'll put the BBQ chicken into the crockpot. I've got the sweet potatoes cooking in the pressure cooker. I've got all at the same time, so then I can just put it all together.
Amber B 31:28
Yeah, I like that.
Allison Hollinger 31:29
All at the same time, yeah, so multitasking, I think is definitely a leveled up skill and that's the goal to be more efficient over time, but I will say this like once you have your system down and you're feeling like good, there's no reason to make like you're allowed to just reap the benefits of, of everything you put into place. We don't have to constantly try to change it and make it better and better and better. If you're feeling good where you are, that I'm always everyone, sometimes people feel guilty that they now have like time and they're not cooking. You ever get that we're like I'm not doing I feel like I should be doing more that's the point.
Amber B 32:04
Yeah, yeah, right.
Allison Hollinger 32:04
That's the point. You should be able to go and just go up for a nice long bike ride with your kids if you want to not have to worry about it.
Amber B 32:12
Right, right. That's the whole point of it. That's awesome, yeah. OK, cool. Talk to us a little bit about how you help clients. If people are wanting to like actually commit to this and actually get some help and make this a reality in their life, how do you help clients with that?
Allison Hollinger 32:26
Yeah, so I have a a meal prepping membership that I absolutely love. We've helped over 9000 clients in that membership alone. We do have a free challenge that we start everyone with. It's a 5-day training, we've helped over 320,000 people with that challenge. Families I like to say they're always families that are that are joining us. But in the program that I have in the membership that I have, we put everyone through a habit building program where we start from square one and we start to really develop habits from the very beginning of getting you to be that ninja in the kitchen when you get home from the store, learning where your pockets of time are finding the essentials that you need to prep that are going to pack. Be the most efficient but pack the biggest punch in your week so that it's so that you're not spending all day in the kitchen. We have resources available where we have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of recipes done for your meal plans. We do workshops every month for freezer meals and kid workshops and we do coaching calls every week so we have tons of accountability in place. We have a community that's beautiful and positive and supportive where everyone just gets the struggle just there to help. So it's kind of a one-stop shop, if you want to make fast changes in your life towards your goals, then having this accountability in a really affordable way makes all the difference.
Amber B 33:52
So awesome and we will link up. You have a challenge coming up. I know that it will be an awesome opportunity for people to get a free taste of what it's like to work with you and to get started with meal prepping so we will be sure to link that up in the Show Notes of this episode so you guys can check that out and go check out Allison’s stuff. She's got great stuff to help you be a, effective meal prepper.
Allison Hollinger 34:13
Yeah, the challenge start to finish regardless of whether you joined the program or not, it's super beneficial, so you'll learn a lot in that one week.
Amber B 34:19
Yeah, and that's coming up so, it's what a fantastic time to to get started with that. Well, this has been awesome Allison, thanks so much for coming and sharing all of your knowledge about meal prepping. I know I'm taking away stuff out. I'm like oh I wanna try that like add that to my to my repertoire so I know that other people are listening are hopefully feeling inspired to make some changes as well.
Allison Hollinger 34:39
Thank you so much! I could talk about this stuff all day long. I love it. So thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it.
Amber B 34:46
Awesome, thanks Allison.
Allison Hollinger 34:47
Amber B 34:49
I hope you're feeling inspired and you're walking away with some new ideas about what you can implement to be able to streamline your food and maybe make it a little bit easier to reach your health and fitness goals this year. If you are wanting to join Allison's challenge, which I highly suggest doing, you can go to bicepsafterbabies.com/262. That's the show notes for this episode. It's episode 262, so bicepsafterbabies.com/262 will link to all of Allison's social media as well as her challenge if you're wanting to give it a shot and and see what meal prepping can do for you to give you back a little bit of your time and maybe a little bit of your sanity.
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