Meal prep can really help you when it comes to being successful with living a healthy life. It can be challenging coming home after a busy day at work, having a fun day with kids or when life just gets busy to make dinner. Coming up with ideas or making sure you have the ingredients to create a healthy meal can be tough, especially when it’s time to eat. Getting food on the go isn’t always the healthiest option either. Meal prep doesn’t have to happen on Sunday or Monday- it can happen any day of the week that’s convenient for you. Most people like to start Sunday or Monday because it sets their week up for success. However, you have to do what works for you. It also doesn’t have to be 2-3 hours long. Even if you just cut up some extra fruit, cook extra veggies, or make enough leftovers from dinner- I would consider that a success in meal prep. Anything you can do to make meals quicker. These are my 5 steps to making meal prep easier.
1.Plan- Have a list of things you want to make for the week. I suggest looking at things you and your family eat a lot of. Also, picking a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner to make. Or chose the meal that you have the most trouble with. Make 3 dinners if you often have a protein shake and eat out for lunch. Make lunches if you plan to make a crockpot dinner. Whatever meals you choose to eat, figure out what you need to start first. If you’re baking sweet potatoes- do those first and then starting boiling eggs. Chop veggies while sautéing ground turkey. Use your time efficiently and multi-task without getting overwhelmed. Don’t get distracted and set timers where needed!
2.Don’t go overboard- Keep things as simple as possible. Now is not the time to try out the newest Rachel Ray recipe you found on food network. Make the things you know how to make so you can easily/quickly put them together. You’ll also be multi-tasking, so even more reason to know what you’re doing. I’d suggest keeping your list of things to make to a few things and adding to it if you have more time at the end.
3. Cook Protein- Having protein ready to add to salads or a dinner can be very helpful when looking to create a healthy meal. I like to do either a taco flavored ground turkey, salsa chicken, meatballs, bbq chicken, tuna, chickpeas, etc. Cooking protein ahead of time can really save you when you’re in a pinch. Breakfast protein options also make for a good grab and go meal. Protein waffles, hard boiled eggs, overnight oatmeal or a frittata are all convenient to take in the morning.
4. Mix it up- Don’t prep the same thing every week. Everyone will get bored. Changing the proteins for dinner and snack options are ways I add variety to the week. I also am not a fan of making 5 of the same salads so I’ll switch up the veggies I put into them. If you don’t mind eating the same thing- by all means do it. Many people have success with this. If you make the same salad then think about switching the protein you top it with.
5. Prep healthy snacks- This is mostly for kids but everyone can benefit from this. If your kid doesn’t ask for snacks all day long then I envy you. I’m exhausted by the amount of snacks I have. But buying bulk and prepping portions makes lunches easier to put together. I don’t love the plastic bag situation but it really makes it convenient and easy. Having snacks in the fridge (typically cut up veggies) and in the pantry (popcorn, pretzels, trail mix, protein bars) are all essential to have for options.
6. Cook in bulk- This goes for things like protein, vegetables and whole grains. Grilling a few pieces of chicken at once, making turkey burgers and putting together a few cans of tuna in a bowl are ways to save time. Roasting or steaming vegetables make it easy to complete a meal. Boiling rice, quinoa or
I hope these tips help you become more efficient in food prepping. What are some strategies you use? I’d love to hear new tips!