“By Failing to Prepare, you are Preparing to Fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
For me, the difference between a successful healthy week and a not-so-great food choices week is whether or not I had a chance to meal prep over the weekend. Since we eat mostly whole foods, even unpacking the groceries takes a bit of time since there is a lot of produce washing that needs to happen. Luckily, I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve that I use to create time for meal prep. I use No More To Go for my weekly menus, so I always know in advance what I’ll be cooking, how long it takes, and what sort of prep I can do in advance to minimize the amount of weekly cooking. Plus, when possible, I like to do as much chopping at once as possible. I also order my groceries from Fresh Direct which allows me to save and hour or more with the shopping. Since it’s delivered to my doorstep, I typically start washing and prepping a lot of the food as I unpack it.
Here are some of my favorite items to prep:
+ Veggies and fruit for snacking — prep ahead of time and store in easy to access storage containers or zip lock baggies. I do not store mine in the crisper once prepped – I keep them in prime real estate in my fridge so I reach for them first.
+ Breakfast Foods – this is easy for me as I have Shakeology every morning for breakfast. If you do smoothies you can prep your ingredients into baggies and stick them in the freezer. I do have an a small snack every morning, though, so I usually have a small serving of other (non-liquid) breakfasts prepped ahead of time, such as Mini Crustless Quiches, Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal or Overnight No Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal.
+ Whole Grains – it’s easy to cook up a big batch of your favorite (healthy) grain and have it on hand to incorporate into salads and meals during the week. I usually prep brown rice since it takes so long to cook!
+ Lean Proteins – In the warmer months, we tend to grilled up some extra chicken or pork for dinners and lunches. Hard boiled eggs make an awesome addition to breakfast, lunch or snack. Rotisserie chickens are awesome for meat on salads or tacos and then use the bones to make a giant pot of homemade chicken stock (low fat and low sodium!) using the veggie ends/extras saved from veggie prep!
+ Beans and Legumes – beans can easily be added to salads or meals for some extra protein and lots of vitamins. Buy a bag of dried beans and prep them on the weekend for use all week. This hilarious article is what turned me onto giving it a try for myself.
+ Soups – there are millions of recipes out there for healthy soups and it’s so easy to get a pot simmering while you do the rest of your prep. You can set yourself up for a healthy lunch for the week as it gets cooler out. I’ve been just a little bit obsessed with this collection of soup recipes from Fitness Magazine lately. I’ve made the first five so far – all have been filling and delicious.
Happy Prepping! Tell me about your favorite items to meal prep ahead of time.