Improve your health by focusing on healthy eating! Healthy meals can be quick, easy and delicious. By following a few meal prepping tips, a healthier lifestyle is attainable even if you are always on the go.
Meal prepping tips to get started
Meal prepping is an efficient way of cooking your meals for a number of reasons. Start by planning your meals for the week and adding the ingredients to your shopping list. That way, when you do your grocery shopping for the week, you are more likely to only buy the foods you need. This can help minimize food waste.
Heather Freeman, CNP, a certified nurse practitioner with Bon Secours Fairview Family Practice in our Greenville market, also suggests taking stock of your pantry items before heading to the grocery store.
“Keep a well-stocked pantry,” she says. “Maintaining a baseline stock of pantry staples is a great way to streamline your meal prep process and simplify menu creation.”
Next, choose a prep day that you can spend a few hours preparing different foods for various meals. You can also make a big batch of one meal that can be split into portions, frozen and thawed throughout the week.
Although batch cooking might take longer up front to chop vegetables and cook different meats, meal prep can save you a lot of time throughout the week. However, if you’re new to meal prepping, it’s best to start small so you can ease into the new process.
Meal ideas to plan ahead
Most breakfast cereals are high in sugars and starches. A breakfast smoothie is a healthier choice for the most important meal of the day. You can make one in advance the night before with fresh greens and berries, almond or coconut milk, nuts and even protein powder. Or you can have all these ingredients cut up, measured out and ready to go in the morning, so all that’s left to do is blend.
Also, don’t be afraid to use frozen fruits and veggies – they are usually frozen at peak ripeness, so they are a great alternative to fresh produce and will keep longer.
Instead of picking up fast food, pack a salad. Be sure to use dark, leafy salad greens for a healthy, plant-based meal. Aim to eat a variety of different, brightly colored produce. Also, buy produce that is in season. Nutrition is very individualized, so it’s important to choose healthy meals that you like and will eat.
Pre-cut fruits and vegetables are available in the produce section of most grocery stores and are nutritious snacks to eat throughout the day. Along with fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds are a great choice and are packed with protein. All of these snacks are great alternatives compared to the typical processed foods found in vending machines.
One-skillet meals are a great, easy choice for dinner. Throw in a protein like chicken or turkey, then add frozen vegetables and seasonings, heat, and voila, you have a home-cooked meal. You can also use some of the same ingredients to make different dishes, such as stir fry, grain bowls or salads. It’s almost as easy as grabbing fast food on the way home.
Plus, make a double batch and save the leftovers for other meals throughout your week. It might also be a good idea to keep a meal-planning board in your kitchen, especially if your household has multiple cooks.
More meal prepping tips
Check out some more meal prepping tips from Heather Freeman, CNP.