Meal Prep Top 10 Tips
One of the biggest barriers to a healthier lifestyle is the lack of preparation and yet we know that a bit of preparation can help you crack that commitment to eating healthier because it will already be done.
Here’s my top 10 tips to get you started.
1. Make a Plan
Make a list of your favourite healthy foods, choose simple recipes that can be made quickly or in bulk, and decide what you’ll eat for every snack and meal. This step will get easier and faster with practice.
Pro Tip: Save your plan for a future week. Once you have a few meal prep menus in your arsenal, you can rotate them to keep things interesting.
Pro Pro Tip: Once you have your plan, don't get distracted by all the lovely ideas you see on Instagram, put the phone down. Time enough for them when you are doing next weeks plan.
2. Stick to Your List
Don’t let junk food sneak into your shopping cart. Not having it in the house means not having to use your willpower to avoid it. Want to make an impulse purchase? If you can find a way to fit it into your eating plan for the week (high five if it's an extra veg), go for it. If not, just keep these to a minimum so nothing goes to waste. By sticking to your list and by minimizing the impulse buys, you’ll help yourself save money.
3. Consider shopping online
If you're a sucker for special offers, 2 for 1 or buy one get one free offers, consider shopping online. By planning in advance and booking a slot ahead of time you can get either free delivery or for as little as £1. Tesco’s, Asda, Sainsburys all offer online shopping, as do lots of our local shops as well.
4. Keep Snacks Simple
When you’re cooking everything for the week at once, it’s important to keep things simple. Save time by choosing snacks that don’t require a lot of time to put together. Fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and pre-cut veggies with prepared hummus are great choices. These hummus dip jars store well in the fridge and travel well in your bag for emergency munchies.
5. Cook Foods All at Once
Roasting vegetables, sweet potatoes, and even chicken breasts or salmon all at once will save you time and cut down on your electricity or gas bill. This is my regular Sunday evening job.
6. Look for Shortcuts
Buy pre-cut veggies and fruits, tinned lentils, or cooked chicken. Tinned salmon or sardines are an easy no-cook protein to add to salads or snacks. Frozen veg is great as it's often frozen at source cutting down on nutrient loss. Frozen onions and peppers, tinned lentils can make a veggie Bolognese in minutes.
7. Get on the Mason Jar Salad Bandwagon
Mason jar salads are the darlings of Pinterest and Instagram because they’re pretty, but they’re also very practical. They cost about very little in the pound shops, are microwave safe (just remember to remove the lid) and can be used for so many different types of meals. Their vertical shape makes them especially nice for storing salads. Since the dressing is at the bottom of the jar, and the greens are at the top, nothing gets soggy! Check out my post on Mason Jar Salads.
8. Mix Things Up
It can be tempting to just eat the same meals every day, but you’ll eventually get bored. I recommend at least two lunch options and two dinner options. This can be as simple as choosing different proteins for your salads each day or eating chicken with vegetables three nights of the week, and fish or tofu with vegetables the other two. Once you get the hang of it you can get more creative with your recipes.
9. Invest in Food Storage Containers
A small investment in food containers of various sizes to suit your needs will make a world of difference.
It’s a good idea to choose one container type and buy several that stack and store neatly. If you choose plastic containers, make sure they are BPA-free and that they won’t melt in the microwave or dishwasher. Sturdy Pyrex dishes with lids are also great as are jars.
10. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
All of this meal prep is for a purpose…to help you reach your health and fitness goals. When clean eating is as simple as reaching into the fridge for your lunch or dinner, you’ll be less tempted to stop for fast food or order takeout. Whether you do your meal prep for the week all ahead of time or just a few days at a time, doing so will help you stick to your meal plan and save you more time.