I feel like I say this every year, but I don’t know where the summer went. While fall may not be officially here, football is gearing up, summer festivals are winding down and school is back in session. Fall is my favorite season and is a great time to kick start, or restart, your healthy habits. It’s also the perfect time to lay the foundation for healthy goals before the holiday season amps up. One of the best and most proactive ways you can take charge of your eating habits is to meal prep. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to have a nutritious meal ready to eat when you get home after a long day of work or school? By dividing up your meals for the week, you also have built-in portion control.
While it may seem daunting at first, here’s how you can become a meal prep pro in three simple steps.
Step 1 – Save the date. Treat your meal prep time like an appointment and stick to it. For me, I set aside an hour or so on Sunday mornings to batch cook while I listen to podcasts. An hour may seem like a long time, but the idea is to set aside this time once during the week so that you aren’t spending the time throughout the week.
Step 2 – Put on your thinking cap. Jot down some ideas for foods that you can buy and stretch into multiple meals. This doesn’t mean that you have to eat the same thing every day; think about foods that you can enjoy in different ways. If cod is on sale, for example, plan to make cod with baked sweet potato and broccoli one night, and fish tacos for lunch the next day. I tend to get sick of eating the same leftovers day after day, so I always make sure to keep affordable and versatile staples around like sweet potatoes, corn tortillas, beans and frozen veggies. If you need a little inspiration, check out the recipes and Meal Planners in TOPS News magazine.
Step 3 – Think inside the box. Now it’s time to box up your meals in reusable containers. Bento-style containers are a great option and stack nicely in your fridge. You can generally get a set of five to ten reusable containers for around $10.00 to $15.00.
If you plan to make the time for healthy eating, you’ll set yourself up for success all week long. Do you have any tips for meal prepping or batch cooking? Share them below!