The good news is that setting aside just an hour or two one day a week can go a long way in helping you feel organised and prepared when it comes to meals. Not only does meal prepping ease stress, it also affords you more time and is better for both your bank balane and your long term health!
Sounds like a win win, right?!
Take a look through the tips below and b;ock out some time in your dairy for a kitchen date. Once you get into the habit of meal prepping you will never look back again!
- Organization: Getting organized is the first step in meal prep. Keeping your kitchen clean and uncluttered creates a positive and inspiring space for you to work in and makes food preparation that much easier. Invest in some clear glass jars and containers to store your ingredients in so they are easy to see and you know when you need to res-stock. Keep staples on hand such as grains, nuts, seeds, pulses, superfoods, basic condiments, herbs and spices so that even if you come home exhausted, there are always good food options on hand. Stock up on fresh produce at least once or twice a week. A clean and well stocked kitchen is a key factor to your weekly meal preparation.
- Grains, Legumes and Nuts: Grains, legumes and pulses can take a little while to cook. But cooking up a batch on your meal prep day to store in the fridge will save you a lot of time during the week. Have containers full of cooked quinoa, cooked chickpeas or lentils, or cooked buckwheat or rice. These are easy to reheat and mix with other ingredients for quick stews, soups or salads during the week. Soaking nuts makes them much easier to digest. Try soaking almonds, cashews or seeds overnight, drain and rinse, then keep in jars in the fridge. They are great like this as a snack or ready to make nut milks or cheeses with during the week.
- Fruit and Vegetable Preparation: Try roasting up a big tray of vegetables and storing them in a container in the fridge. Roast vegetables make a delicious addition to salads or added on top of your pre-cooked grains or pasta. Wash your leafy greens so they are ready to use for salads and smoothies. Try cutting up carrots, cucumbers or celery for easy snacks with fresh dip. Chop up fruit such as bananas, mango or berries and store them in the freezer for easy smoothies come breakfast time.
- Homemade Bread or Crackers: Having a healthy loaf of bread or crackers on hand during the week makes for easy breakfasts, lunches and snacks. Experiment with various topping options to keep things interesting such as avocado and lemon, almond butter and berries, or hummus and rocket. Homemade bread is simple to make and full of healthy fats and protein that will keep you satisfied and nourished. There are lots of great recipes online for both bread and crackers that don't involve lots of kneading and rising time. Once you start making your own bread you will never go back to store-bought again!
- Dips and Dressings: Having a couple of healthy dips and salad dressings in the fridge enable you to jazz up a simple weekday meal into something flavorsome and fun. Try making a batch of hummus or guacamole, an easy tahini lemon dressing, or even just an olive oil balsamic dressing you can keep on the countertop. Store purchased condiments and dressings are often filled with preservatives, sugar and artificial ingredients, so homemade is always best.
- Prep Some Ready-To-Go Meal: If time allows, have a few meals that you pre-cook that are ready just to reheat and eat. Things like soups, casseroles, dahls and curries are perfect for this- they are quick and easy to make and keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can even do double batches and keep them in the freezer. Simply pull them out at the start of the day so they can defrost ready for you at dinnertime
- Healthy Treats: Instead of reaching for a tub of ice cream or chocolate bar when sugar cravings hit, whip up some healthy treats that you can have at your disposal during the week. Bliss balls or simple energy bars are great to have on hand- they keep well, are versatile when it comes to ingredients, are good for you and tend to please adults and children alike!
- Use Time Wisely: You may not have time to fit in all of these suggestions, but chances are some speak to you more than others- maybe you have time to prep a loaf of bread, cook a batch of quinoa, make a soup and some bliss balls. Maybe just being more organised and having a stocked kitchen is enough for you to make the time to cook each day. Find ways that work for you. When it comes to shopping, try ordering online if that saves you more time in your week. There are lots of ways to make life easier when it comes to meal time which doesn't involve dialling up takeaway!