Good nutrition and diet is an essential part of leading a healthy life style. However, in today’s world when we’re all so busy, one might find it rather difficult to eat healthy, given the lack of time to cook every day and the mostly unhealthy choices in the restaurants if we choose to eat outside. But actually, there is a relatively simple way to solve all these problems and to make eating healthy much easier and less time consuming: meal prep!
It really just takes a little extra time and effort (and a little creativity) to prepare your meals in advance, but trust me: it will make an enormous difference! You might not have time to cook and prepare your meals every single day, but I am sure you can make time to do it once or twice a week. It might take one or two hours each time, depending on how many days you would like to prepare for in advance, but you can get it done all at once and won’t have to worry about not finding healthy food options around when hunger hits in the middle of the day at work.
The first step before you get started is to get food container boxes that close and seal well. You can usually get them at any store that sells household items and they come in a great variety of shapes and sizes. I would suggest middle-sized, square shaped boxes (so you can stack them in the fridge) for lunch – four or five of them considering you might prep meals for all the workdays. Get one or two slightly bigger ones for salads and some smaller ones for fruits or snacks.
Secondly, you need to sit down and plan your days or week ahead. Think about what meals you can eat at home and what you will have to take on the go. Do you have time to sit down and eat breakfast at home before leaving to work or do you eat it at the office? Do you usually get home in time to eat dinner or do you tend to stay at work really late and just order some food to eat there? Get a piece of paper or open a new document on your computer and write down which meals you will need to get ready for each day. Once you have this list done, you can start planning what to eat on those days. Don’t forget to plan healthy snacks for in between the meals!
The most important thing is to always choose healthy and fresh ingredients and try to avoid packing over-processed foods. Furthermore, each meal should be balanced regarding macronutrients: make sure it doesn’t lack either carbs, protein or healthy fats.
For putting together the main meals as lunch and dinner always choose: grains/starch + protein source + veggies. Above are some examples for each category – the varieties of their combinations are endless, so if you get creative with the ways you prepare them – for which we will soon give you some ideas, so stay tuned for that!- you surely won’t get bored of “meal prep food” and can reach your goals easily.
Once you have chosen the meals you are going to prepare and have your food containers ready, you can get started with cooking! If you don’t mind eating the same food for a few consecutive days, I recommend making bigger amounts and portioning them out for each day. This will save you lots of time! However, if you prefer more variety and you’re prepping for the whole week, you can make two or three different meals and alternate which one you take with you.
When all the foods you cooked and baked are ready, lay out your boxes on the kitchen counter in front of you and start portioning out the foods into them evenly one by one. Start with the grains or starch, follow up with the veggies and last but not least, add your source of protein.
Consistently doing meal prep does take a little extra time and effort, but we believe it’s more than worth it for the sake of nourishing our bodies with whole, healthy foods that it deserves. Today we introduced you the basics of meal prepping – look out for more articles on the topic with ideas on what meals to pack for either breakfast, lunch or healthy snacks!