Also known as meal prep. And we get pretty excited about it and like to take pictures. Look what I did! It takes a fair amount of effort in meal prepping. It doesn’t need to be difficult or extremely time consuming. However. Hard truth. You will pay for it one way or another. It is your choice and not my place to judge it. I make the choice to put my efforts before hand which is less costly than paying afterwards. It’s easier to get organized and create healthier options when meals are planned and prepped before hand. It makes your life easier to be well and there are hacks. It has little to do with salads. I love salads but it can get old, quick.
Foremost is understanding your ingredients and materials. Prepared foods and boxed foods can help or hurt you. Lots use terms to catch your attention in hopes you never become aware of what is actually in it. Watch sugar and salt content. Avoid chemicals as much as possible. Organic and natural is best. It’s not just a health nut lifestyle choice. Those chemicals GMOs impact your health in every possible way, physical and mental. Reduce or eliminate when possible.
Please be environmentally friendly. Avoid small packaging when you can. I get it. Prepackaged makes it easier to grab and go. Opt for recycle-able or reusable containers. Small changes make a difference!
Meal prep Hacks
Bulk it and repeat it. This is where we reduce costs in this house and it’s much less work. You need variety but it can be every other week or by season. Rice and soups can be frozen. If you need more variety. Create your own frozen meals. Just eat within a month or two (soups hold longer). Canning, if you’re in to that, is another great way to maximize your meal planning efforts. Vegetarian meals tend to be cheaper in cost. Intentionally creating left overs when you cook dinner is an excellent way to simplify meal prep.
Go raw. This isn’t recommended for everyone. For digestive issues, it may be safer to lightly cook your food for it to absorb better. However, creating raw meals cuts out cooking time. Salads, sandwiches on multigrain, or wraps in lettuce or multigrain tortillas work. Sushi grade fish with some rice and veggies works. Lunch meat wrapped with veggies works. Veggies and dip. Fruit and yogurt. It all works.
Semi done prep or prepared is allowed. I do it all the time. Buying some salt free or flavored nuts then mixing and putting in small containers is a stable in this house. I buy string cheese or spreadable cheese wedges to go with veggies and fruits work. Precooked meat with veggies, sweet potato, or pre cooked rice is done. I will buy chicken or turkey meatballs or beans to create meals. It truly is about checking the labels for sugar, salt, and chemical content.
Stay seasonal. Many vegetables and fruits are out of season where we live. I love pea protein and buying them frozen in bulk to go with carrots, brown rice pasta (watch portions), and olive oil plus herbs. In the fall I was all about sweet potatoes, brussels. In the summer, it’s wraps and salads. Don’t think you absolutely must eat something right now that is expensive. Watch produce and a quick search about your area will let you know what is in season when.
Eat what you like within reason. If you don’t like salads, don’t eat them. If you are quesadillas like we do, there are a variety of ways to make them. It’s always beneficial to try new things. But don’t continue to eat something you know you just cannot stand.
Think Herbs, not salt. When creating flavor, stock up on herbs and spices. A link is included for the basics with expansion soon. I love my herbs! They do so much for your body. https://notjusthealthnuts.com/2018/04/17/no-salt-added-spice-up-your-food-life/
Watch fillers. That means chips. Veggie chips or home made veggie (not potato) chips or parmesan crisps are okay. I love doritos but it is in the rare occasion box. For good reason. It’s a filler food and horrible one at that.
Quick Meal and Meal Prep Ideas:
- Baked chicken and salad
- Pizza (limit) and salad
- Turkey lettuce burgers and sweet potato fries
- Some groceries offer griller veggie options
- Quesadillas: chicken or choice meat, just veggies, avocados, and/or beans. Watch cheese portions and often I will reduce cheese amounts by mixing in a reduced fat cream cheese.
- Burrito or taco bowls with brown rice or whole grain rice
- Asian bowls: choice lean meat, chick peas, veggies with jasmine or basamati rice. For flavor, I love Asian sauces but go sparingly as they tend to be high in salt.
Meal planning is often cost effective and allows more healthier opportunities. The most important benefit is investing in yourself. You need well and to create your well being.
Prep on and Namaste