No matter how much you want to lose weight, it’s not always easy to keep the momentum up, day after day and week after week. Unless, of course, you become a pro at planning your meals ahead of time. Here are four ways to chop, dice and simmer your meals to perfection, so when it’s time to eat, all you have to do is grab, heat and serve!

Pick Your Staples, and Then Choose Your Add-On’s
When you plan your meals ahead of time, losing weight becomes easy to do. So, step one is thinking ahead, and coming up with five staples that you can enjoy throughout the week. Focus on the protein first, so it could be chicken on Monday (freeze the leftovers for Wednesday’s dinner), steamed cod on Tuesday, shrimp on Thursday, pork on Friday, etc.

Next, choose a handful of veggies to toss, grill, or sear with your protein. Make sure you have your spices and herbs on hand— basil, oregano, paprika, cilantro, mint, salt, pepper, olive oil, and dill are great choices and easy to keep.

Add Ready-to-Go Foods to Your Grocery List
If your weeks are especially busy, it may be helpful to develop a grocery shopping routine. To keep ahead of the meal prep, you may want to designate every Sunday afternoon to shopping, so you have plenty of time to prep your meals before Monday morning comes.
Grab your sources of protein (freeze what you can), your greens, vegetables, fruit and grains. Add ready-to-go foods to your grocery list (most grocery stores are full of these already chopped, sliced, grated items) that will save you time and effort, which will make losing weight even easier. Do you have a long day ahead? Throw some chicken breasts in the slow cooker, so that when you get home, dinner couldn’t be easier to put together.
Mom Preparing Meals
Dice and Chop Ahead of Time (For Easy Grabbing and Snacking)
Once you have all of your ingredients for a full week of meals ahead, it’s time to chop, sauté and cook anything you can. Look at your recipes—can you get the sweet potatoes, celery and mushrooms chopped and ready for tomorrow night’s dinner—so all you have to do is throw them in the baking dish with olive oil, salt and pepper? Make sure to have veggies along with hummus, ranch dressing (or another favorite dip of yours) for easy and healthy snacking.

By thinking ahead, and planning your meals ahead of time, you’ll discover that weight has never been easier to take off, and maintain for the long haul.