Hands up if you’re in the middle of a New Year, New Healthy Regime gig right now? If you are (or even if you’re not, but still want to get better at meal prep) then planning and preparing meals is the root of the healthy eating game.
Prepping means having all your meals and snacks planned and prepped in advance. It saves time, which is ideal if you’re busy day leads to dinner time flopping onto the sofa with chips. It also saves money and reduces food waste, so we can’t see anything wrong with that!
But we get it, it can be hard. Planning a whole week’s worth of meals in advance can certainly put a strain on a Sunday evening.
So here are our tips on how to meal prep like a Pro
1. Write Everything Down, and Stick to a Shopping List
Laborious? Yes. Saves time, and money, in the long run? YES! Use a scrap of paper, your smartphone or a dedicated meal prepping app or worksheet. Whatever you do, write down all the ingredients you need and all the meals you’re planning each week.
That way, you have a record, in front of your eyes, that means you’re less likely to deviate. Because what does deviating mean? Not having enough to meal prep properly, and then reaching for the pre-packaged, high sugar, high fat, high salt junk food that you’re prepping like a pro to avoid.
2. Don’t Plan to Make Stuff you Know You Don’t Like
This one might sound simple, but it can be easy to get carried away on the kale and cucumber train. If you don’t like kale or cucumber, then you’re getting off at the first station stop, with a load of leftover kale and cucumber.
Only plan and prep meals that you know you’re going to eat. All those good intentions are somewhat spoilt if you’re contributing to the problem of food waste.
3. Getting to Love Kale and Cucumber
One word. Smoothie. If you want to be full of the good, green stuff but don’t like it, try making green smoothies. You can sweeten the deal with apple juice, and trust us, even kale tastes good in a smoothie. Whizz it up with a banana, apple juice (or milk of your choice), a handful of berries and a spoonful of super-antioxidant acai berry powder.
4. Prepping for a Busy Breakfast
The best way to prep for smoothies is to pop all of your ingredients into your smoothie cup the night before. Then all you have to do in the morning is whizz it all up and drink it on the go. A supercharged breakfast, full of the good stuff!
5. Prepping Fast-Paced Lunches and Dinners
Meal prepping for bigger meals takes a bit more thought, but it doesn’t have to take more time. Cook meals together. For example, cook up a large batch of mince (meat or meat-free) with canned tomatoes, stock, herbs, onions, and mushrooms. One night, this can be used for a spaghetti bolognaise. Another night, cook up a pot of quick cook rice, add chili powder and kidney beans to your mince and you have a chili, good to go.
You might want to roast up a load of veggies all at once too, that you can then use throughout the week. Cooking a huge stew and freezing it in batches ready to use when you need it is ideal too.
Lunches can be leftovers from the night before (plan in making a bit extra) or you can make a mason jar salad. Chop up all your salad veg, add in some tinned tuna, beans or cold pasta and fill up as many mason jars as you need lunches for. Keep your dressing on the side until you’re ready to eat. Pretty and practical.
Getting to Grips with Meal Prep
The more you prep and forward plan your meals, the easier it will get. You’ll be a prepping pro in no time. Don’t forget to share your tips with us!