By: Maya Valenti
If you pay attention to social media and overall trends, I am sure you have heard the term “Meal Prepping” before.
Meal Prepping isn’t just a trend, it’s an essential organizational tool that allows you to save money, control exactly what goes into your food, and (if using the proper containers) reduce plastic consumption.
As a chef that works in the health and nutrition space, I get a lot of questions and concerns when it comes to meal prep.
The truth is, it’s not as complicated as it looks; the only thing meal prepping requires is a little bit of time and planning.
With a few easy steps, you will be an expert meal prepper in no time.
- Plan Ahead
One of the essentials to meal prepping is planning
- Create a simple menu
- Choose two days out of the week to cook
- Buy high quality BPA free containers
- Use a scale to keep portion sizes consistent
In order to keep your meals fresh, batch out for only 3-4 days. You’ll need two days to cook out of the week to ensure freshness.
- Keep it Simple
When meal planning for the week, I always find it best to choose 2 proteins, along with the use of seasonings and sides to it switch up. One of the most common concerns I hear is, “I get bored of eating the same thing over and over.”
Meal prepping is a canvas, it’s up to your creativity to create something different and interesting. Here’s a quick example of how you can transform two different proteins into four different healthy meals (if you were to have chicken breast and ground turkey):
- Season your chicken breast and allow it to cook low and slow in its own juices (wrapped in the oven or in a slow cooker) once cooked, shred the chicken. To one portion you can add a little low sodium teriyaki, while the other can be seasoned with a low sugar barbeque sauce. Same protein but completely different approach.
- Cook some peppers and onions on a medium high well greased pan, Add in your turkey and cook until full browned and cooked through. Use taco inspired seasonings to flavor your turkey. With one portion of turkey, create a burrito bowl, bringing in fresh ingredients like avocado, tomato salsa, black beans, etc. With the other portion, you can make tacos out of lettuce cups or low carb tortillas.
- Choose Foods That You Love to Eat
Simply put, use ingredients that you love eating. Meal prepping isn’t the time to try new ingredients, or force yourself into eating something out of your comfort zone. To keep yourself on track, you want to use ingredients you can’t wait to eat. Use nights at home or nights out to sample and try new things.
Beyond your meals, always have snacks on deck to help with temptations. Bringing items like fruit, healthy crunchy snacks or even a protein shake with you is a wonderful way to stay prepared. Meal prepping should be thought of as a tool to aid you in achieving your personal health and fitness goals. Sacrificing a few hours, twice a week, will ultimately save you time, money and most importantly, from potentially making poor diet decisions out of sheer hunger or necessity.
Preparation is the key to success!