Cooking (especially with wine LOL) sounds fun but cooking after a long/ hectic working day becomes rather a dreadful chore. Many of us can struggle with a thought of what to eat for dinner and most importantly eat healthy…so to avoid this last-minute hassle, why not prepare meals ahead of time?? Sounds impossible? That’s what you may think now until you try it and then actually discover that meal prepping can be your savior and best friend!
TIPS TO MEAL PREPPING:
1. Do not get in a FAST lane. When you are getting started with meal prepping, do not try to accomplish too much too fast. Go rather slow and plan your meals until you get used to the process and it becomes your HABIT!
2. Identify preferences. Think what kind of foods you like to eat in general, what fills you up, can these meals eaten cold or need to be reheated? Are they easily reheated in a microwave vs stove?
3. Simple is a way to go. Since meal prepping is intended to get you on a healthy path consider salads, soups, wraps as your go-to options.
4. Freeze the fat! Try choosing items that can be freezed well and not go bad in the freezer (lose taste, become watery after thawing).
5. Set your schedule. Get into a habit of prepping once for the whole week. Yes, it gets easier and you can auto-pilot through this in a few weeks.
6. Expired? Be aware of food preserving safety guidelines and how long you can keep your food once it’s prepared. You can find the majority of guidelines for freezing various foods safely here.
FOOD LIFE AFTER PREPARED:
1. Salads lasts for a day or two after preparing.
2. Veggies can last longer( approx. 6 months) provided they are kept in the freezer.
3. Meats can stay packaged in the fridge for three or four days.
So let’s get started with some quick starter recipes for meal prepping & eating healthy :-)
SALAD JAR: this can be a classic meal prep lunch. They are not only quick and easily made but you can make variety of these with just some greens and pasta. Simply put some vegetables between the greens and the pasta and it’s done. Sprinkle dressing on top of the ingredients and close up the lid! You can even add chicken if you wanna convert it into a non-vegetarian salad. No mess, no fuss. You will simply shake the jar to mix it all together and evenly spread the dressing before eating. I have a few yummy Mason Jar recipes in my Eat.Reinvented nutrition plan!! Here is a teaser for ya!
BUDDHA BOWL: these bowls usually include some kind of grain or blend of grains, some vegetables can be beans or tofu. The thing I like about these bowls is that they can be made ahead and freeze. And once you start preparing such bowls you’ll get into the habit of preparing your own grain bowls by putting into it whatever you feel like...it’s more of like use- everything meal.
WHITE CHICKEN CHILI: This yummy meal prep option is great for future lunches and easy to freeze. And is a healthier option than many other meaty preps. All that’s required is soaking some beans overnight and cooking them with chicken. For adding depth to the flavor just add some roasted veggies to it.
HONEY SESAME CHICKEN RICE BOWLS: It’s another meal idea with a lot of potential variations. Make it with chicken, rice, asparagus and broccoli, or you can even change up the vegetables, grains and protein with whatever you have. This is great for using leftovers, or cobbling together from pre-cooked meat and grains that are in the freezer.
WRAPS: just make the filling in advance and store it and stuff them whenever you wanna eat. They can be colorful, healthy, full of flavors and easy to start with. Here is another teaser from Eat.Reinvented nutrition plan!
CHICKEN SALAD: The leftovers from chicken can be converted into salad which becomes a perfect make-ahead lunch. You can plan to eat it within a couple of days of making it, and, of course, keep in the refrigerator before you eat it. Chicken salad, is great because it is healthier than a lot of recipes out there. You can use yogurt along with the mayo to lighten it up, or add grapes, pecans and cherries for crunch, flavor and nutrition.
INSTANT HOMEMADE NOODLES: This is a perfect make-ahead for lunch. Just start with partially cooked noodles and fresh vegetables. Add some seasonings (like some fresh veg, chopped green onions etc.). And when you’re ready to eat, just add some boiling water and yummm.... this recipe is probably the easiest meal prep.
Planning and preparing your meals ahead of time will make healthy choices no-brainer. Instead of running for a cold cut calorie bomb you’ll have a home cooked feast on hand that can be heated up quite fast. And hey, you’ll save money as well… so just whip out your favorite plastic container and get started. And if you need inspiration and healthy recipe ideas - check out my meal plan I have created for you! On the go!