Do you ever feel overwhelmed when trying to cook healthy meals? Do you feel pressure to eat produce more often and to have it at the ready all the time? Having these expectations on yourself does sound overwhelming. And while yes, produce is healthy for you, there are tips for how you can keep healthy foods on hand and ready to use without feeling like you are in the kitchen majority of the day. Meal prep can be a lifesaver for situations like this! I know, many bloggers out there have talked about meal prep already. But right here I am offering you my favorite meal prep tips to help you accomplish your kitchen and healthy eating goals.
Meal Prep Tip #1: Write A Menu for the Week
Decide what meals you want to eat for the week. If this is your first time meal planning, then choose meals you want for the next 3 days. Based off of the menu you create, you then make a shopping list of things you need. Don’t forget to check what ingredients you already own. Now, you will have a structure to your meals and the shopping list will help you keep your food costs down!
Meal Prep Tip #2: Try Ingredient Prepping
What does that mean, to ingredient prep? This means having cooked rice, chopped veggies, and washed fruit on hand ready to use for any recipe. The benefits of this meal prep method are that it helps reduce food waste, helps you make healthier meal and snack choices, and it can be easier than full-scale meal prepping.
Meal Prep Tip #3: Utilize Canned and Frozen Goods
Fresh produce sounds like it should be the go-to for fruit and veggies, right? Well, that isn’t necessarily true. Of course the fresh stuff is amazing, but it does not always fit within the budget. Frozen fruits and veggies have the exact same nutrition composition when compared to their fresh counterparts. Canned fruits and veggies are very similar, but their preserving ingredients may change the total nutrient profile. Look for fruit stored in its own juice or water and for low-sodium canned veggies.
Meal Prep Tip #4: Prep Your Snacks
How many times have you felt peckish for a snack and grabbed the easiest thing there is to eat but it isn’t as healthy as you wanted? Take time on your meal prep day to cut up some fruit and/or veggies and designate them specifically for snacks! Maybe slice some cucumbers and celery and you can have that with hummus. Trail mix is a great snack to have handy. All you need is some nuts (ideally raw and unsalted), seeds, dried fruit (look for sun-dried if you can), and a dash of dark chocolate!
Meal Prep Tip #5: Consider All of the Food Groups
Try your best to include all of the food groups in your meals. Fruit, veggies, grains, protein (animal or plant-based), and healthy fats. When you are planning your menu back in Tip #1, really think about which food groups you are including in each dish. Ask yourself how you can include more veggies or more protein in that dish. Maybe it’s lacking healthy fats. Meal prepping allows you to focus on a balanced diet which is a piece of the weight-loss puzzle.
The Bottom Line:
Meal prep is a practice that can be incorporated to help make your daily life easier and support your weight loss journey. When using these tips, and reaching out to me for a brief 10-minute consultation, you will be a meal prep pro in no time and seeing results!