*This is a guest post by Stephanie J. from FeedFond.com.*
Meal prepping is always something health fanatics talk about. But how practical is it? Well, coming from someone who has been doing this for a year – it’s a complete game changer!
I normally don’t want to come home from work and cook. I’d be so tired, ending up ordering takeaway and eating a lot of junk food. But once I delved into this world, I’ve saved a lot of time and shifted to a healthier lifestyle.
With a few dedicated kitchen hours at the weekend and some smart choices, I now have my evenings free, with ready-made food. And you can do the same!
Keep reading for some helpful guidelines on meal prepping tips and meal prepping recipes.
Tips for Meal Prepping
Before going on your meal prepping journey, there are some things you should know. It involves a lot of future thought, care, knowledge, and experimentation.
But once you get the hang of, it will be a really fun way to shift towards a healthier lifestyle.
1. Think it Through
Meal prepping is all about planning ahead. So, the first thing you need to do is to count your meals. In general, you’ll need 15 meals for the week, but don’t forget the snacks. You’ll definitely want to be munching on something throughout the day!
The beauty of meal planning is that you don’t have to make 15 separate dishes. Prepare everything in bulk, and then decide what you want for each meal.
Starting simple with 3 or 4 meal prepping recipes alternating dishes. Don’t be afraid to make extra because leftovers won’t be wasted.
2. Use a Meal Kit Service
A big part of meal prepping is buying all the groceries at once, during the weekend. And of course, cooking your food yourself. But if you aren’t much of a kitchen expert, you can always sign up for meal kit services like Sun Basket, Home Chef, and Blue Apron.
These are every millennial’s dream and make life much easier. They let you select recipes and they ship you the ingredients all at once. This way you can get everything you need, with detailed instructions so that the food actually tastes good!
#3. Make it Yummy
No matter how healthy you’re trying to be, the taste will always matter. So, make sure to cook delicious meals you won’t get tired of. Once you’ve mastered the initial planning weeks, you can start looking at more recipes.
Adding a bit of variety to your meals really does motivate your taste buds. Stock up on different sauces, and try experimenting with spices. These will add unique flavors to your food, and make your meals a lot more fun.
#4. Keep Food Safety in Mind
Since you’re preparing everything during the weekend, there are certain rules you need to follow so you don’t end up falling sick. First of all, wash all vegetables, herbs, and fruits thoroughly before using them.
This will not only keep germs away, but it also keeps your greens fresh for a longer time. Don’t do the whole partial cooking thing. Cook your food during the weekend thoroughly at once.
Food like meat can get easily contaminated. Proper storage containers are also very important. Also, be aware of what ingredients you are using and how long they can be stored.
Best Foods for Meal Prepping + Meal Prepping Recipes
When planning your meals, it’s important to make the right choices. Look up some recipes and do your research well. Here are some tried and tested ideas I personally love. They’re ideal for a healthy lifestyle and are really easy to prepare.
#1. Hard-Boiled Eggs are a Staple
Hard-boiled eggs are an excellent choice for health-conscious people. They’ve only got 78 calories, but they’re filling and very nutritious. What’s more, they’re easy to make for any meal, from breakfast, snacks to dinner. And they’re a great topping option as well!
#2. Overnight Oats – the Perfect Healthy Breakfast
Overnight oats are the perfect breakfast for anybody looking for a healthy lifestyle. It’s loaded with fiber and keeps you feeling full for longer hours.
Making this wonder food is super easy as well. All you have to do is keep some milk and oats in the fridge overnight and add some toppings.
#3. Raw Vegetables are Fun Snacks
If you’re looking for healthy snack ideas, do try out raw veggies like cucumbers and bell peppers. They’re crunchy and healthy, and tasty as well!
You can even eat them with dips for more flavor. In fact, keep some raw veggies in a mason jar with hummus at the bottom. This is perfect when you’re on the go.
#4. Ground Meat Will Add Flavor
For meat lovers, ground beef or turkey is a really good addition to your meal prep. Whether you make meatballs, pasta, casseroles or even put them in your burger patties- they’re a welcome burst of flavor. It may sound like a hassle, but all you need is some good knife chopping skills.
#5. Grilled Chicken is the Best
Grilled chicken has no saturated fat, and is really easy to prepare. And frankly speaking, despite being so simple, it makes every meal taste delicious. It also lasts for a very long time, so you don’t have to worry about it getting ruined.
#6. Squash is the New Spaghetti
Every once in awhile, you’ll want some wholesome soul food like spaghetti. Do yourself a favor – make spaghetti out of squash instead!
Spaghetti Squash Meal Prepping Recipe: Bake it at 400 degrees for around 30 to 45 minutes, and you’ll find that the insides look very similar to spaghetti. It’s a low carb option with a higher nutritional value than normal spaghetti.
#7. Go for Whole Grains
When going healthy, whole grains will be your best friend. They’re nourishing and a lot healthier than normal carbohydrates.
For example, quinoa is loaded with proteins and brown rice has all the vitamins you usually lose from processed white rice. They are also known to lower BMI and help weight loss.
#8. Soup – the Ultimate Meal Prepping Dish
Soup is incredibly easy to make in large amounts, and it’s packed with all the nutrients you’ll need. While instant soups are fast, it’s much healthier to make your own broth.
This way you control the ingredients and salt levels. For good taste, add a bit of meat, lentils and tons of vegetables.
Here are a few recipe ideas:
- Butternut Squash & Organic Sausage Soup
- The EASIEST & Best Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
- Easy Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup Recipe
- Vegetarian Pasta Fagioli Soup Recipe
#9. Fish is a Healthier Option
Fish like salmon and shrimp are great for healthy meal prepping as well. They’re a healthy source of lean protein and add a lot of pizzazz to your meals.
Try getting wild-caught salmons, because they have more omega 3 fatty acids. And if you grill your shrimp, it’s a low-fat option with only 120 calories.
#10. Roast Some Vegetables
Vegetables are a staple for every healthy meal prep plan. If you want to have them as a delicious meal, you can always roast some carrots, broccoli and brussel sprouts. Just pour some olive oil and seasoning, and stick them in the oven at the weekends. You can also grill up some vegetables as well as you’ll see in this Marinated Grilled Vegetables Meal Prepping Recipe!
#11. Lentils are Good Protein Sources
For vegetarians, lentils are a great substitute for meat. 1 cup of these beans has 12 whole grams of protein!
They’re also filled with fiber, and if cooked well they can be really flavorful and a staple dish for your meals. Roasted chickpeas are also a good idea. They’re actually known to reduce high blood sugar.
Here is one chickpea recipe to try: Easy Indian Chickpea Curry Wraps with Mango Chutney
#12. Try Mashed Cauliflower
We all love mashed potatoes, but they’re not the healthiest dish. Instead, try doing a cauliflower mash. This may sound weird, but it tastes exactly the same! It’s got a lot fewer calories as well and is packed with antioxidants and vitamins like B6, C, and K.
#13. Try Make Ahead Freezer Meals!
Erin Chase from MyFreezEasy creates amazing meal plans for you! They are easy and frugal meals, can be tailored for specific diets (like gluten free and dairy free), can be frozen and cooked later, and she even shows you how to freeze and cook in a crockpot or instapot for really easy meals!!!! There are some summer meal bundles here, or check out her MyFreezEasy App!
Meal prepping nay sound a lot more difficult than it really is. When you start off, don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Don’t overcomplicate things and try to get in the groove.
Soon enough you’ll be trying out different recipes and actually having fun with your food. Just make sure you take the food safety precautions and make it taste good.
You need to be motivated to eat healthy throughout the week, and having the same meal every day can get quite boring. But if you can master the art of meal prepping, your life will be a lot easier.
So, venture into a healthy lifestyle with confidence, and you shall definitely reap the benefits!