When it comes to eating well throughout the week, planning ahead is everything. If you’re focused on improving your diet to compliment a new workout routine, or simply looking to build healthier eating habits for the whole family, meal-prep may be the answer to reducing last minute eating out and unhealthy snacking. Here are some plan-ahead (prep-for-the-prep!) strategies:
1. Stock the basics: your pantry should have a variety of staples, like grains, seasonings, proteins, and healthy oils. Take an inventory of what you have (check expiration dates) and restock the essentials. Invest in glass food containers in varied sizes that are versatile (store, heat, freeze, dishwasher safe). Got kids? Find kid-size containers for eating on the go. If you have body re-composition goals and are looking to get summer ready, then consider adding a food scale to your kitchen staples. This way you can measure out your exact macros and stay within your caloric goals
2. Keep it real, keep it small: change can feel overwhelming. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to comfortably whip up a meal prep plan for a week in the beginning, or sustain that initial gung-ho spirit. Start by taking smaller steps, which will last in the long run. Just thinking about prepping for the week will have you approaching your shopping differently. Buying, washing, and portioning out vegetables and fruit for the next 2-3 days is a good first step to understanding how prepping ahead will save you time and help you eat better. From there, move on to planning a meal (i.e. breakfast) and a snack for the next few days. Depending on your schedule, prepping breakfast the night before, or having dinners ready-to-go will result in saving you time, reducing the stress of last minute meal-thinking, and help you stay in control of eating.
3. Get inspired: not sure what to put on your menu or shopping list? Check out Pinterest and meal prep sites for ideas. Try jotting down meal ideas for the first 2-3 days (keep it simple) and see how you can build on those meals to round out the rest of the week. Here’s an example: I start with a basic chicken soup (whole organic chicken) boiled with onions, carrots, and celery (we eat this
for dinner with pasta or rice) and then I use the chicken/stock the next day for a curry by adding fresh onions, carrots, and potato along with curry sauce or spices. I chop the extra carrots and celery as a snack or to pack in the kids’ lunches.
4. Prep, eat, freeze: optimize your meal planning based on enjoying food at its peak deliciousness, and knowing when to freeze to minimize waste. Think handfuls of fresh/raw berries over oatmeal or yogurt early in the week and then freeze them for smoothies before they get mushy for later in the week. Eat seafood first, and work those spices and marinades for proteins to be enjoyed later in the week. Root veggies that have a longer shelf life can be roasted and reheated without compromising flavor or texture.
5. Learn from the pros: plant-based, portion controlled food delivery programs can jumpstart your journey and clue you in on portions and ingredient combinations. You can see how the pros add flavour with spices and ingredient combination and incorporate the same concepts into your meal prep regime. Local (SF) food delivery company we love: https://www.territoryfoods.com/