Considering the non-stop life we currently lead, knowing what to eat, when to eat and even how to eat can seem like a task within itself! Being prepared is a critical part of achieving a healthy lifestyle and can often be what determines what makes or breaks our goals. Preparation also allows you to know exactly what is going into your meals and not leaving it to the fate of the local take-away shop. Undoubtedly, this is especially important if you are looking after not only your nutritional needs but also the needs of your family and the little ones who depend on you!
Learning how to prepare..
Follow these simple steps to turn meal prep into a weekly event you look forward to:
- Plan: The best way to start anything is typically with a plan. When talking food, a meal plan or a few meal ideas will assist ensuring you know exactly what you will need.
- Shop: The next step is creating a shopping list using the meal plan so you have what you need on hand. Don’t limit your list to grocery items, the right accessories are equally important, stock the cupboards with glass or stainless steel containers for storing foods.
- Prioritise: Set aside a few hours each week and dedicate it to your meal prep time, involve the family, in fact, make it a family event!
For some healthy inspiration here are my favourite foods to prep weekly:
- Roast a big tray of vegetables (can use the ones left over at the end of the week) and store in the fridge
- Boil eggs and store in the fridge to eat as the protein element of meals or snacks
- Cook a batch of quinoa, freekeh, brown rice or favourite grain and store in the fridge for 1-3 days
- Make Sunday roast night and have slices of meat for the week
- Make a big batch of soup and freeze into individual portions
- Make a big batch of casserole or spaghetti bolognese and freeze into portions
- Similar to the roasted veges, make fruit compote out of left over fruit and enjoy for a few days
- Make a lunch box snack of choice to have on hand or protein balls
- Chop vegetables and fruits and store in containers
- Make a weekly dip of choice
- Soak rolled oats in coconut water or milk ready for bircher muesli in the morning, can leave for 1-3 days refrigerated
Now that you have done your meal prep, how do you make the most of your hard work?
Roasted vegetables: use as a base for salads, sides for protein, toss through scrambled eggs for a satisfying breakfast or simply snack on with a dollop of yoghurt or home-made dip.
Grains: toss into the salads at lunch, toss into a wok with stir-fried vegetables or stir into yoghurt for an energizing snack.
Fruit compote: serve with cereal and yoghurt at breakfast, stir into chia puddings, pop into smoothies or simply enjoy with some nut butter as a snack.
Chopped vegetables and fruits: use in juices or smoothies or have as snacks with home-made dip.
Lunch box treats: not only for the little ones in the household, treats can be used as a snack for grown-ups, try crumbling homemade bliss balls into yoghurt or popping in your hand bag for an on-the-go snack, try my Superfood raw fruit balls http://www.goodchefbadchef.com.au/recipe/superfood-raw-fruit-balls/
Dips: having a home-made dip on hand can be a saviour at snack time, simply serve with chopped vegetables and/or brown rice crackers or use as a topping for salads at lunch, try my Kale hummus http://www.goodchefbadchef.com.au/recipe/kale-hummus/
Finally, as food prep means food is not being eaten straight away, always adhere to strict food safety guidelines and if in doubt throw it out!
If you feel further guidance and support around coming up with a plan, my Falling In Love With Food program provides a weekly plan, recipes, shopping lists and food diary which provides the resources needed and teaches the foundations of how to create a healthy routine. To find out more, head over to http://www.fallinginlovewithfood.com/.