Get started with your meal preparation today!
Whilst I would not expect you to slave over the stove for hours on end on a Sunday there are many benefits to preparing your meals in advance as outlined in Part 1 of this article.
Setting aside one hour on a Sunday can really help set you up for the week. Following on from my last article, I have outlined my top tips below on how to get started today:
- Shop smart – First priority is a well stocked fridge! Make sure you stock your fridge and pantry with lots of tasty healthy ingredients once a week. You don’t need to spend a fortune but by doing a shop in bulk you will save a substantial amount on money and reap the benefits of any available deals. Make sure you have lots of herbs and spices to make your food taste delicious. Buy some tinned chickpeas, lentils, tomatoes and other beans or pulses which won’t go off if you don’t use them. Don’t be afraid to buy frozen fruits and vegetables as they can be just as nutritious – if not more so – than the fresh bought variety. Stock up on your choice of protein and other things such as rice, sweet potatoes and onions, garlic etc.
- Tupperware – Have lots of tupperware ready to go in a variety of shapes and sizes. Get some stickers from the stationers and use them to label and date any stored food. Make sure the lids are secure and wont leak on your commute to work! Try and use glass ones if you can however if you do opt for plastic try and use BPA free. BPA is an industrial chemical found in a lot of consumer goods which can seep into our foods and beverages especially if heated. Try and avoid this toxic chemical by purchasing glass or BPA free plastic containers and water bottles. The BPA free are definitely more light weight than the glass ones so less heavy to carry around with you – but both sorts are perfect for the pantry, fridge or freezer.
- Eat the rainbow – Build meals around macro and micronutrients – carbohydrates, fats and proteins and choose a variety of different fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts to make sure you are getting a broad array of vitamins and minerals into your diet. Have a well-balanced meal planned out. Make sure you are getting a good source of carbohydrates such as rice, sweet potatoes and root vegetables. Include a good source of fat to increase satiety. My favourite sources are avocado, nuts and seeds or even making a dressing with coconut oil, tahini or extra virgin olive oil to increase the flavour of the dish. Then add some protein which will also help to increase satiety as well as being vital for cellular structure – and to help rebuild muscle. Choose a lean source of protein such as chicken, turkey, eggs and seafood. If you are vegetarian, protein sources can range from lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, beans and nuts.
- Put some music on and get cooking – If you don’t enjoy cooking then you most likely won’t do it. So put on some music, plan what you are going to cook and get to it! Once you get into a habit of it, it will only get easier and you hopefully find that you enjoy the experience!
Below are a few points/ideas to help you along the way:
- Homemade hummus with vegetable sticks (carrots, cucumber, celery for example)
- Boil a bunch of eggs and keep in the fridge for when you want a snack
- Cook a large batch of rice or quinoa – use in salads or warm up for a quick meal
- Chop up and roast a big batch of vegetables – This prep doesn’t take long at all!
- Fruit – bananas, apples, berries – these are all easy to eat on the run
- Make a jar of your favourite homemade dressing and keep in the fridge for easy access
- Make your own fruit and nut mix with fresh fruits, lots of seeds and raw nuts
- Greek yoghurt with fresh fruit is a great snack on the run or even for brekky!
- Make a frittata with lots of vegetables, top it with feta or goats cheese for extra flavour.
- Microwave packets of rice/quinoa/lentils etc are now readily available from supermarkets to which you can just add some chicken and roast vegetables and then top with your prepared salad dressing and there you have a great meal free from trans-fats, sugars and all the other nasties.
Too easy – Just get stuck in and give it a go!