We’ve taken that big step and decided that we’re going to start eating healthy. But making those healthy food choices can sometimes be difficult. Let’s face it, life can get busy for many of us: we have our job, family to look after, errands to run, house to clean, so many distractions, we’re exhausted. Phew…making those healthy food choices starts to look almost impossible, we might even get to the stage where we quit before we actually give healthy eating a shot.
Well, fret not my friends, one sure way to stick to a healthy eating routine is to have a plan. Yes, you read that right. A plan. I know, I know, it sounds hard and stressful, and…hmm maybe daunting, especially when you’re just starting to change your eating habits. Having a plan helps make shopping easier, ensures your foods are high in nutrients and save time and money. We’re all different and have different ways of eating. Some of us like our three square meals without snacks, while the rest of us prefer smaller meals, with a snack in between meals. Thinking ahead about our meals and snacks is essential for healthy eating.
These 4 easy steps will have you meal prepping like a pro. You can thank me later!
Step 1: Get Organised
Planning starts by having everything you need handy. So, set aside one hour in the week to get organised, prep and plan your entire week menu. Figure out what meals and snacks you want to include. When planning, think carbs, protein, vegetables, and healthy fats.
Write down the main meals and snack for the week. Keep it simple. Think quick and easy meals that are ready in 30 minutes (40 minutes max), and make sure they’re meals that you actually like. And no, a bag of Doritos doesn’t count.
- Know what recipes you want and write down the ingredients for the recipes. There’re so many sites for healthy recipes, I’ll link a few below.
- Prepare your shopping list (you may find that you have most of the ingredients at home)
- Organise the shopping list by section of the supermarket, and plan a day you’ll go shopping.
- Plan a day you’ll prep and cook your meals in batch
Step 2: Time to Prep
Ok, you’ve bought everything you need. Let’s prep some things and put away. Wash, peel and cut up your potatoes, vegetables and fruits. You can buy readily frozen fruits for smoothies (time saver). Prepping your vegetables and fruits in advance means they’ll be ready for you to grab and go when you need them during the week, either for cooking soup (if soup is part of the menu), for making smoothies or snacking. Prep your salad too! Clean your protein and cut them up if needs be, season or marinate them to your taste and leave in the fridge until ready to cook.
Note: Prepping your ingredients and cooking don’t have to happen on the same day. You can prep the night before, and cook the next day. It’s totally up to you.
Step 3: Start Cooking
Start with carbohydrates. You can cook potatoes, rice, or quinoa at the same time, cooking two different foods at a time saves time. For example, you can have lasagne or chicken in the oven while cooking potatoes and rice. Once your carbs are cooked, leave aside to cool, you don’t have to worry about them until you’re ready to package and store. While the carbs are cooking, use the free time to prep other ingredients. Prepare your vegetables by either steaming or grilling (you can also eat then raw). Eat fresh or frozen vegetables; nothing canned. Cook your seasoned or marinated protein by baking or grilling. The only protein that’s not advisable to cook in advance is ‘steak’, it takes just a few minutes to cook anyway, well, unless it’s roast beef, then you have to cook in advance. Boil your eggs too if you plan on eating boiled eggs during the week. Boiled eggs are quick protein source you can mix with salads. Also, cook/bake any snack that requires cooking.
Step 4: Package & Store
Make room in your fridge and freezer. Use stackable food containers to store your meals. If you’re going to be having cooked vegetables, it’s best to cook and freeze or buy readily frozen vegetables (anything for a simple life). Portion your cooked meal into individual containers and freeze them because they won’t stay fresh the whole week in the fridge. If you’re cooking for the whole family, portion the meals accordingly. Freeze snacks that are freezable. Yes, you can freeze muffins, pancakes, zucchini bread etc. Freeze rice in small individual zip lock bags. Store half of your week’s meal in the freezer, take them out when you need and microwave them. Et voila!
Planning your meals for the week ahead makes all the difference, and it sets you up for success because you’ll have access to healthy and nutritious meals throughout the week, saving you time, energy and hassle. The steps above can help you become better at making a healthy eating plan, however, sometimes figuring out what healthy recipes to try or writing out a shopping list can get a little daunting. Again, panic not, I’ve got you covered with this downloadable shopping list. And of course, useful links to some of my favourite sites for healthy recipes. You’ve got this!
Do you struggle with weekly meal prep? Share your experience and tips in the comment.
Thanks a bunch for reading!