Imagine with me for a second. It’s Monday morning. You pushed snooze one extra time, you’re in a hurry to get out the door so you won’t be late for work. You don’t have time for breakfast so you skip it or grab a granola bar from the cafeteria. You try and pick something quick and healthy for lunch nearby and maybe your successful, dropping another $10 on an average lunch. You get home exhausted, the last thing you feel like doing is cooking so you look through the pantry for what will be fast to curb your hangry side that is about to come out. Sound familiar? I know because I’ve been there too.
Let me introduce you to Meal Prepping. I am sure you have heard of it, maybe even tried it a few times. It’s time to bring it back. Not only to avoid the scenario above but also because the number one reason clients tell me they are not able to stick to healthy eating is not enough time, or no healthy food in the house. If someone uses meal preparation practices they can avoid these issues and eating healthy throughout the week becomes quick, easy, and delicious. It can be fun too!! All it takes is a couple of hours, one day a week. Use these tips and you can save money, eat healthier, reduce your food waste (aka cash $$$), and avoid the question “what am I going to eat?”
Step 1: Have a plan: This includes a well stocked pantry and recipe planning. Having healthy recipes and a shopping list when you head to the farmers market or grocery store is key so you are able to do all the meal prep you need in just one day and you will be set for the week. Here is a great Plant Based Pantry Checklist to help you get started.
Step 2: When you get home from the store wash and pre- cut the produce you purchased. This is so quick and will save you time doing dishes because you can cut everything all at once rather than every day. I also find my greens last longer when I wash them and store them in a sealed container. If you so this you will have fresh snacks and vegetables for quick salads at the ready.
Step 3: Make 1-2 whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, sorghum or adlai. This makes for a great base for meals throughout the week. They can be made into grain and veggie bowls for lunches or side dishes for dinner. Think of making big batches of soup to keep in the freezer so you always have a meal ready to go when you need it.
Batch cooking is key to meal prepping. Roast a variety of vegetables that can be put into your recipes for the week. Make homemade salad dressing in bulk and store it in the fridge for a couple weeks at a time. I left recipes below to my 2 favs.
The freezer is your best friend. Make extra veggies burgers, soup, smoothies, burritos, even lasagna and keep it in the freezer. If your herbs are about to go bad, chop them up and put them in an ice cube tray with water or oil. When you need some fresh herbs simply take them out and add ’em to your meal. You can freeze them and then pop them out into a container to free up the tray for more.
Multitask – we are in the age of multitaskers right? While your grains are cooking you can prep your veg. You can have soup on the stove while you roast your veggies. Clean up as you go and your meals for the week will be ready before you know it!
Glass locking storage containers – these are great for storing food in the refrigerator, freezer, and taking food to work because they are leak proof.
The instapot– great for batch cooking as well as quick cooking meals- once you have all your recipes and shopping done, and you have pre-cut your produce all you have to do put the ingredients in the Instapot or crockpot and it will cook with minimal effort.
Silpat baking mat– I love the silpat for batch roasting vegetables with quick and easy clean up.
Food Processor or electric food chopper- this will save time in prepping vegetables in batches. The Breville brand is by far my favorite but it’s definitely not the cheapest.
If you use some of these tips comment below or share with me on social media #abnutrition
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