Keeping It Short and Easy: 5 Simple Steps to Meal Prep
Eating healthier is more important than ever these days. Sometimes, a busy lifestyle can make it difficult to maintain a nutritious diet. While many people want to eat healthy, they often fall prey to the quick-and-easy fast food solution. Getting caught between time and nutrition is common for many of us. That’s why meal prep made easier can help you avoid unhealthy food choices—and put you back in control of your plate. Read on for a few tasty suggestions.
Stock Your Supply
The first step to healthy meal prep is making sure you’ve got the ingredients. Keep a well-stocked supply of nutritionally balanced food and you’ll be ready to prep for success. If you can afford it, pre-cut fruits and veggies are a great way to save you time. It’s also a good idea to shop for a variety of proteins and whole grains that are easy to prepare. Choose foods that can be easily mixed, matched and paired together, and half of your work is already done by the time you leave the grocery store.
Invest in Storage
Don’t forget the storage containers! Often overlooked, quality containers (preferably BPA-free) can make meal prep easier and tastier. Consider investing in storage that is reusable and can easily go from fridge to freezer to microwave. Also, it’s a good idea to use those that have multiple spaces. This way, you can divide your food into its designated sections, helping you balance your portions. In a divided container, you can keep dressing and dips separate from salads and veggies. You can avoid unappetizing sogginess and track how much topping you’re actually consuming.
Plan Your Menu
You’ve got your ingredients and it’s time for menu planning. Give yourself some variety and you’re less likely to give up on your goals. Plan to pair your proteins with fruits, veggies or whole grain carbohydrates. For refreshing snacking or lunches, try combinations like chicken salad with a side of cubed cheese, and grapes or hummus spread on crackers or bread. Making individual or mini-menus can help you start small and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Soon, you’ll be a master meal planner.
Easy meal prep is all about being proactive. Purchase whole grains that you can cook and store ahead of time. This will make it easier when it’s meal time. Pre-prepared rice or quinoa can be easily batched into containers and reheated for a simple, quick, and delicious lunch or dinner. Using a slow cooker is also a great option if you have zero time to cook when you get home. For breakfast, you might consider trying overnight oatmeal. Mix oats, milk—or a plant-based option, and sweetener in a glass jar or container. Store in the refrigerator and forget about it. In the morning, top with fruit, and your breakfast is ready!
Create Your Plate And Enjoy!
Now for the fun part! Once you’ve mastered the art of easy meal prep, create a plate that’s well balanced and appetizing. You might have grilled some of those pre-cut veggies to top off whole grain rice, or perhaps you’ve divided leftovers into individual portions. For many meals, you can likely eat directly from a portable storage container that you’ve already prepared.
At Z.E.N. Foods, we make healthy eating accessible for everyone by delivering portion controlled, nutritionally balanced meals to your door each day. Visit our website and find out how we can make your next meal effortless and delicious.