With so many things on our plate, it’s a huge challenge to serve nutritious meals without a little work on your part. Mealtimes roll around very quickly, and if you haven’t made any efforts to plan ahead, you may end up making some unhealthy choices. A little planning can help take the stress out of it, and allow you to enjoy healthy, delicious meals without all the guesswork.
Here are some of the benefits of meal prepping:
1. Choose more nutritious foods
Grabbing what’s available when you’re hungry often means you reach for less nutritious foods. Putting in a little effort to plan out meals and doing some prep work in advance means you can choose a variety of nutritious foods that you will enjoy throughout the week.
2. Less stressful for you
Life is busy! In between work, commuting, sports practices and school pick-ups, your day is filled with activities. Mealtimes come quick and you can get hangry fast. Prepping healthy nutrition-based foods in advance can help avoid this so you can just grab and go.
3. Save money
If you set aside a little time to plan and prep healthy nutrition, you will save money on your food costs. Prepping means fewer convenience store foods, takeout orders, and trips through the drive-through. Planning in advance can make a big impact on your wallet.
Meal Prep Tips for Healthy Nutrition
So where do you begin with meal prepping? If this is a newer concept, or something you want to get back into doing after taking a break, we have some tips to make it a little easier!
Tip #1 - Start collecting recipes and create a template
Think about what kinds of food you’d like to see incorporated into meals. If you’re a parent, letting kids participate or choosing foods will get them excited about the process and encourage healthy eating habits. Start a monthly calendar to record your meal ideas and shopping lists.
Tip #2 - Assign specific foods to days of the week
Make your life easy by doing things like “Meatless Monday” and “Taco Tuesday.” You can vary these recipes each week but keep a theme to make planning and prepping much easier.
Tip #3 - Set aside a day and time to plan
Choose one day of the week where you will decide the meals for the week, make a shopping list, and buy all of your food. Set this time aside and make arrangements so you won’t have any distractions or interruptions.
Tip #4 - Multitask and batch cook
Prep large batches of food in advance that you can use in different recipes throughout the week. For example, you can cook shredded chicken in a crockpot to later use for tacos, salads, or soup recipes. While your chicken cooks, you can also wash and chop fruits and vegetables and hard boil eggs that your family can enjoy throughout the week.
Tip #5 - Double Up
Double the recipe of the meal you are making so you can use for multiple meals. Things like soups, enchiladas, and sauces can easily be stored in the freezer and served another day. Your future self will thank you!
Meal Prep Ideas
Get started with healthy nutrition and meal prep with these simple recipes:
Once you start meal prepping, you’ll create new routines and habits that work best for you. Make sure you set aside some time each week and have a plan in place. Meal prepping will make mealtimes less stressful and more enjoyable so you have more time to do the things you love.