You’ve hit the midweek slump and decided to skip making dinner and instead reach for your phone for nearby takeout. Or maybe you’ve just been too rushed in the morning to make a healthy breakfast, so you grab a pastry with your coffee at the café near your office. Do either of these sound like a routine you’ve succumbed to?
We’ve all been there – we plan to put together a meal filled with healthy and nutritious ingredients, but something comes up or we don’t have the energy for cooking and cleaning! Instead of standing at an open fridge with nothing but yogurt and salsa and the local pizza place on speed dial, set up time at the beginning of the week to meal prep to ensure you’re eating healthy and delicious meals!
Meal prepping is a simple way to have your next meal ready by planning it out and preparing it beforehand. Cameron Linville, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and founder of Freckled Foodie, tells us, “Whenever clients ask me the number one way to live a healthier lifestyle, I always suggest getting back in the kitchen and cooking your own meals. Unfortunately, with everyone’s incredibly busy schedules, that’s not always feasible. Most of us are rushing out the door in the morning, scarfing down lunch at the office, and then too tired to cook anything when we get home. That’s why I believe meal prepping is the biggest tool you can master for setting yourself up for a healthy week ahead. Once you have the meals cooked and ready to go on Sunday, all that’s left to do is the fun part: eat!”
Don’t know where to start? Cameron says, “If you’re overwhelmed by [this] task, that’s understandable and you are most definitely not alone. Start small! Try prepping only breakfasts or lunches or even just cutting all the vegetables so that the cooking time for dinner is shortened. If you want to jump right in but don't know where to start, check out some of my ebooks that provide weekly meal plans, master grocery lists, and corresponding recipes. All the tools you need!”
For those of you looking to dabble in meal prep, here are some simple steps to get started.
1. Create a meal plan and grocery list.
The first step to successful meal prep is planning what you’re going to eat. This doesn’t have to be a timely task; it can take under an hour to make a schedule of your meals for the week ahead. Break down the day into the meals you are going to create and healthy snacks to munch on. Include whole grains, leafy greens, healthy fats, filling fiber and protein, and plenty of delicious spices.
2. Choose a day dedicated to prepping.
Find a day when you have the time to make food for the week. Block out a few hours to prepare and cook your food for the week ahead – and remember to leave time to clean up.
Buy all the items on your list. This should include everything you’ll need for the week, from oats to meats to vegetables and everything in between.
Now that everything is set, it’s time to get cooking! Create everything you’ve planned for and separate it into satisfying portions.
Buy quality storage containers.
Purchase storage containers that will last. These containers will be where you keep everything you prepare. You’ll want containers that can hold up in the dishwasher or generally require hassle-free cleanup. You can easily find great storage that includes lids that lock into place to avoid messy commutes.
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