It’s no secret that meal prepping not only saves you time, cash and often results in healthier choices. I’m by no means the busiest person, but I struggle to find time every single day to cook and ensure I have a day of wholesome food prepared. Dedicating a couple hours of my time once a week always yields great benefits. I usually set a few hours aside on one of my days off of work to get it all done. I’m fortunate to say that (most days) I love cooking and being in the kitchen, but on the days there are other things I’d rather be doing/have to do, meal prepping is my saving grace. Below are the ways I plan ahead to ensure healthy, time friendly options that are a whole lot more kind to my bank account too.
Start with a weekly meal plan: Not to say that I follow it strictly every meal of everyday. Having a meal plan allows me to take a lot of the thinking out. How often do we find ourselves in a situation where we’re in a time crunch and can’t seem to come up with something both quick and appealing to us? We either end up with boring food that doesn’t satisfy or grabbing lunch out (and likely eating foods that don’t make us feel very good).
Having a meal plan also allows me to create a grocery list so I know exactly what I need and can ensure that I actually have the ingredients to whip it all up. There is nothing more annoying than having the idea in your head only to get home to realize your missing a key ingredient. I try to ensure there is plenty of variety worked into my meal plan, but that said
Soak some beans: Whether you choose to eat meat, or you’re a vegetarian who relies on beans for protein everyone can benefit from adding more plant based protein, especially fibre rich beans. My go to choices are usually black beans and garbanzo/chick peas. Although soaking and then cooking my beans is more time consuming than grabbing a can of beans, I’m be saving yourself on sodium, chemicals that line the tin can that can leech into the beans and money. Dried beans are so cheap! Soaking your beans allows for easier digestion by breaking down the phytic acid.
Cook your Grains: Cooking grains such as rice can be one of the most time consuming things to cook when it comes to preparing a meal. I like to cook large(er) quantities of sprouted brown rice and quinoa that will last a few days. With the soaked and cooked beans and grains, essentially the only thing I have left to do is cook up some veggies and sauce.
Premake Snacks: Having a healthy snack will allow us to keep our blood sugars from dipping to the point where we become hangry, ravenous monsters. Yep, that’s what causes that awful side of us to come out. The best snacks are the kinds that are delicious, convenient to grab on the go and of course healthy. A great example of this would be any variety of date balls. They have amazing versatility, will satisfy your sweet tooth and are easy to grab and go. Other options would include something along the lines of a bar, protein square, healthy muffins etc. Something that is delicious, feels like a treat and is easy to grab and go is my goal here. Opting for a homemade muffin as opposed to one from your local bakery will mean you can go for a recipe that’ll keep your blood sugar stabilized. You’ll thank yourself for that. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of eating something deliciously you put your time and heart into. Switch it up weekly, or take some time to put together a couple recipes whether its baking muffins or making some of Joy’s carrot cake balls.
Stock up on grab and go Foods: No assembly required, something you can just grab and go can sometimes be a life saver. Maybe I’ve slept in and am running later than I anticipated. Maybe I got a last minute invite out but need something to tie me over. Whatever the reason is, I make it a point to always have a stocked fruit bowl, various types of nuts in my freezer, cut up veggies and hummus… you get the idea. It’s worth taking the bit of extra time once a week to chop up and portion these items out for me. Carrots and celery with hummus seems like a quick snack, but when you take into account the washing, peeling, chopping that’s 10 minutes of your time that you might not have when your needing to fly out the door.
We all have (or should have) our arsenal of go to meals. The above starts the healthy foundation of my meals and sets me up for a successful week.
If you’re new to meal planning and prepping it might feel like a bit of a chore at first, but eventually it will just become a part of your weekly routine.