January 13, 2020

Meal Prepping and Jumping into Habit Formation

by Lauren Hoover, MS RD

“New year, new me.” It is hard to avoid the onslaught of advertising around New Year’s resolutions. When January 1 rolls around, it seems many people are making big promises to themselves that this year will be different. This is year they will change and reach those fitness and nutrition goals they’ve been chasing. Unfortunately, many people try to overhaul their entire routine and/or choose a plan that is restrictive or overly demanding. It’s no wonder that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Too often we convince ourselves that transformation requires massive action and change. When in reality, choosing small habits that can be realistically implemented day-to-day will propel you toward your long-term goal. As James Clear explains in Atomic Habits ,“If you can get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you are done.” Continue following along on the SHIFT Blog this month and next for a series of posts discussing habit formation, written by SHIFT Physician Dr. Brian Hollett.

Often making progress toward health goals and New Year’s resolutions involves implementing the habit of preparation. On the nutrition front, this could involve setting aside time to meal prep. With little time and planning, you can prepare meals for the week, allowing you to eat more intentionally and avoid last minute snacking and takeout. As with most habits, the more you practice, the easier it gets. Below are guidelines on prepping for a full work week of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The amounts can be adjusted according to needs.

  • Write your list out ahead of time. Choose items in each category and/or reference your favorite recipes/meal planning blogs.
    • 1-2 complex carbohydrates (e.g., cooked quinoa, and baked sweet potatoes)
    • 1-2 lean proteins (e.g., marinated/grilled chicken, and ground turkey taco meat)
    • Plenty of fruits and vegetables, cut up and ready to use
    • 1-2 breakfast items (e.g., breakfast burritos, and overnight oats)
  • Preparation
    • Prepare items to cook in the oven first (remember to set a timer!)
    • While items cook in the oven, prepare items on the stove, as they require more attention
    • Once stove top items are finished, prepare items that do not require cooking
    • Portion out breakfast, lunch, and snack options into containers so you can grab and go!

We know that every weekend you may not have time to prepare a full week of food for each meal. If that is the case, try to prepare multiple servings of one meal. That way you have at least one guaranteed balanced meal each day. For a delicious breakfast, try these easy freezer breakfast burritos (recipe included below). They are high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber, resulting in a balanced, satiating breakfast that you can have ready in 3 minutes.

If you are looking for more guidance in meal prepping and/or would like to figure out how to start making sustainable habits in 2020, talk to a SHIFT Dietitian or Physician for next steps.


Freezer Breakfast Burritos

Makes 5 burritos

Ingredient List

10 eggs

½ cup shredded Mexican cheese

2 bell peppers, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 carton spinach

5 whole wheat tortillas

Salt & pepper to taste

Optional Toppings: Avocado, salsa, plain Greek yogurt


  1. Make the sautéed veggies. In a large skillet on medium heat, add the olive oil, bell peppers, yellow onion and salt/pepper to taste. Stirring around the pan, cook until soft and tender, about 6-8 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Scramble the eggs. Grease a large skillet with cooking spray (or a small pat of butter), and set to medium-low heat). Whisk eggs together in a large bowl well combined. Add the eggs to the skillet and move around with a spatula until cooked through. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the burritos. For each burrito, start with the whole wheat tortilla, then add 1/5 of the pepper/onion/spinach mixture. Next top with 1/5 of the scrambled eggs and 1-2 tbsp. of shredded cheese. Wrap tortilla up tightly and then wrap in aluminum foil. Make the remaining 4 burritos. Keep in the freezer for 1-2 months.
  4. Reheat for breakfast. Either bake in a 400 degrees F oven for 20-30 minutes OR heat in the microwave for 3 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  5. Top with avocado for extra healthy fats, salsa for extra flavor, and/or plain Greek yogurt for added protein.

Nutrition Breakdown

Nutrient Amount per burrito


Energy 380 calories
Total Fat 20 grams
     (Saturated Fat) 5.5 grams
Total Carbohydrates 30 grams
     (Dietary Fiber) 5 grams
     (Sugar) 3 grams
Protein 21 grams



balanced plate, habit formation, Recipe of the month

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