Meal Prep - Save Time, Live Healthier
Updated: Sep 10, 2020
By the time you get home from work or school, the last thing you want to do is cook a meal from scratch. This can lead to snacking and consuming packaged foods for dinner, instead of whole foods packed with nutrients!
We cannot describe how much meal prep has helped make our weeks go smoother. It is a life changer once you have it down. If you are finding that you do not have time to eat fresh healthy foods, try meal/snack prepping!
I have found that if I do not have something prepared to eat, I catch myself snacking on whatever is easiest and in sight. Meal/snack prep can take time, but you will never regret having good nutritious food on hand. There are many ways to food prep, here is what works best for us.
Sunday is our grocery shopping day. I sit and jot down our meals for the week. I figure out what we have and what we need for those meals. When I am at the store, I go strictly off my list and try to limit wandering around the store as it is easy to end up with all kinds of extra foods that sounded good. I get everything that we need for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
When I get home, I prepare everything I can for the week:
· Cut up fresh fruits and vegetables and put them in containers for snacks on the go
· Cut up vegetables for meals and put in separate containers if possible
· Separate, cut, and cook meats for each meal (then put in refrigerator/freezer)
· Make salads for the week with toppings and put them in containers
· Hard-boil eggs, prepare any other snacks in containers
The whole process from grocery shopping to having everything prepared and cleaned up with dishes washed takes about 2.5 – 3 hours. Investing that time once a week will make it much easier to eat healthy and feel better during the week!
This will give you a good head start for the week. To make things go even smoother, prep a few things the night before as well. For example, have your lunch and snacks ready to grab in the morning and make sure dinner is ready to go for that evening. If you are having tacos, make sure the browned meat is thawed if it was in the freezer and cut up all your toppings the night before. When it is time to eat dinner, everything is ready.
Meal Prep Ideas:
· Hard boiled eggs - I usually boil about 8 eggs and have them ready to grab in the refrigerator. Boil the eggs on Sunday night so they are ready for the week. I put the eggs in a pot with water and then turn the burner to high. Once the water is boiling, I set the timer for 13 minutes, remove from heat, let cool, and refrigerate. This is great for a quick breakfast with your shake or even an afternoon snack.
· Cook 5 chicken breasts in the oven or on the grill. Season with different spices and herbs. Separate into containers and have ready with a side of vegetables.
· Cut up vegetables, season with olive / avocado oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Roast on a pan at 375 for about 30 minutes or until browning. Roasted veggies are great to have in the fridge all week, reheat as needed for meals. I would recommend reheating in the oven to keep the crunch.
· Spring Mix Salad - put in separate containers for each day and add any toppings you may want such as shredded carrots, cucumbers, peppers, chopped nuts. Put dressing for each salad in separate small containers. If you want to add meat, be sure to have it cooked and ready to take.
· Use a crock-pot! You can’t complain about coming home to your dinner already made and ready to eat. Pulled pork, pulled chicken, soups, chili, there are endless options with the crock-pot. Have everything cut up and ready the night before. In the morning it will take just a minute to get everything going.
Snack Prep Ideas:
· I recommend cutting up your vegetables and putting them in individual containers/baggies for grab and go. Some ideas are celery, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, snap peas. Put a variety in each container so that you do not get sick of having the same one or two vegetables.
· Hummus and Guacamole are good fillers to eat with any vegetable, especially if you have a hard time eating plain raw vegetables. Try dipping them for some extra flavor.
· Fruits that are easy to prep: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes – no need to cut them just rinse and put in containers.
· Apples and almond butter are a good combination to have on hand for some healthy fat and protein.
· Almonds and dark chocolate - make individual snack size bags of almonds and dark chocolate. This is a good way to satisfy your sweet tooth and is a substantial snack.