You know by now, that when it comes to healthy eating, preparation is the key to success. But if you love the convenience of prepackaged foods and restaurant meals, it might be hard for you to go cold turkey on your take-out routines; especially if you relaxed a little this summer with cooking at home. Planning and preparing meals ahead of time will make healthy choices a no-brainer for you.
Plan Your Meals Ahead
Select one or two days each week that will be devoted to meal prepping and be creative with your meal ideas. I cook on Sunday and Wednesdays. Healthy tacos on one night can turn into taco salads the next. Menu planning with grocery lists also reduces that sneaky impulse to buy random items at the grocery store, which not only helps keep you on track nutritionally, but aids in reducing unnecessary (and often expensive) purchases that are devoid of nutritional benefits.
Cook Once and Eat Twice
This meal prep hack is all about leveraging leftovers, repurposing ingredients, and cooking in bulk. With your busy schedules, it can be tricky for you to prepare a full meal every night of the week. Selecting one day a week to prepare several items allows you to plan for leftovers throughout the week. For example, grilling or baking several chicken breasts on one day provides a lean protein for that night’s dinner as well as a key ingredient for chicken salads for a meal the following day. This reduces cooking time and makes meal prepping faster on subsequent weeknights.
Become a Fan of One-Pot Meals
Toss prepped ingredients together with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and a variety of spices and roast in the oven. Or invest in a crock-pot or instant pot and experiment with making homemade soups and slow-cooker meals. A little chicken or vegetable broth with fresh vegetables, diced sweet potatoes, and lean protein (such as chicken or loin meats) make a tasty and nutritionally balanced meal.
Use Your Freezer Space
Freezing leftovers and prepped meals is genius. When time is lacking or energy is waning, you can pull out a frozen veggie lasagna or soup a day or two in advance and have meals ready to go after work or when the kids come home from daily activities.
The right containers are a must for successful meal prep. Invest in a variety of sizes and styles of containers. Select options that allow for freezing leftovers, storing produce for the week, and pre-packing lunches and snacks. Yes, you may have to spend a little money if you don’t own these handy tools already, but they are an investment that will pay for themselves in short order.
How I Can Help
I want to help you with food, diet, weight-management and improving the results of your fitness routines, boot camp, personal training or small group. This is why I recertified in Fitness Nutrition Coaching. My certification focuses on optimal nutrition, including proven techniques for increasing energy, optimal health and decreased dependence on medications. Please feel free to use me as a resource if you have any questions or are struggling with your nutrition or goals.