Meal prep, to put it simply, is here to set you up for success. It means being thoughtful about what you are consuming, and providing healthy and convenient options that will fuel your body with nourishing vitamins and minerals rather than processed options that are so easy to grab without a second thought, and will mean, that come summer you’re going to step out on the town feeling so confident because you have fuelled your body with nutrients rather than nutritionally void junk. Not to mention support your immunity throughout winter.
Meal Prep can definitely seem daunting at first glance. So we’ve put together some helpful tips and tricks that will hopefully take a bit of the guesswork out of meal prep, and set you up (even more so) for success!
- Set a strong foundation - Basically making sure you're well stocked in wholefood essentials that you can grab at a moments notice. Sit down, think about what you have coming up in the week ahead, if you're anything like me, it can sometimes be hard to know what you'll "feel like" for lunch or dinner 5 days in advance, so why not start by thinking about your usual mid-day go-to's and how you may be able to make these healthier (and cheaper) at home to take with you. Sometimes knowing you have the ingredients to re-heat or throw together for a 5-minute meal can make all the difference between flagging your healthy eating efforts for a quick takeaway because you just don't feel like cooking after a long day. (Totally feel ya!) Consider what meals you want to prep for (i.e. All meals? Just lunch? Lunch and Dinner?), write down a menu and then a thorough list of ingredients that you need to get when you do your food shop. Since it's winter, think root veggies you can roast, warming soups and whole foods such as nuts and seeds that can jazz up a simple salad. Nutra Organics have an awesome range of pantry staples in their Wholefood Pantry range, and their broths are so handy to boost any sauce, soup or to have a quick cuppa broth.
- Do what works for you - there are no set rules when it comes to meal prep. You might just need to prep your lunches because cooking dinner is your jam! You might just want to have something quick and easy in the fridge that means that you can start your day right even though you’re running out the door most mornings. (Hello 3-minute banana-free smoothie) Meal prep is all about nourishing your body the way it needs in a way that works for you!
- Keep it simple - the key word here is ‘simple’, and no that doesn’t equate to boring. Streamline your cooking methods, throw a bunch of veggies in the oven along with your protein of choice, roast until they're toasted and delicious and wham bam thank you, ma’am, you've got a whole bunch of options available for you to mix and match in order to create delicious meals. Your protein/veggie combo could be a salad one day, wrap the next and morphed into a delicious noodle dish the day after that.
- Netflix and... cook? Why not. Sometimes plopping in front of the tv on a Sunday evening is just the best. But why not pop a tray of veggies into roast ahead of time and check on them after a in between shows. Multitasking can be a gamechanger if you're short on time too.
- Spice up your life - herbs and spices are your best friend here, yes you may be eating the same proteins, prepared in the same way, but you’ll be surprised what a difference mixing up the spices and sauces you use can make.
- Don't go overboard - we know it’s addictive, but there's no need to go overboard with your prep (in fact it can leave a bad taste in your mouth). Think about when you’re going to be eating your prepared meals and how long the different elements will remain good for. As a rule of thumb, we like to refrigerate cooked ingredients that will be used within the next 2-3 days, the rest we like to freeze and just defrost the day before we’re going to use them.
- Meal prep still not your thing? Why not try making extending the recipe when you cook dinner so you can get 1 or two lunches out of it. Cook once, eat twice. Can't go wrong.
So there you have it, some simple tips that hopefully take the overwhelm out of meal-prep.