Food prep is the concept of preparing the majority of your food ahead of time, so that you have pre-made meals ready to go on those busy week days when you don’t have time to cook. This practice is especially beneficial when following a healthy lifestyle, as it makes healthy options quick, easy, and convenient! As simple as this idea sounds, actually putting it into practice can be a daunting task. So we’re here to offer some helpful tips to get you started!
#1 Cook Your Proteins Ahead of Time
At the beginning of the week, bulk cook lean proteins, such as chicken breast, extra lean ground beef, turkey or fish. These items can be time consuming to cook during the week, as they can take upwards of an hour, so it’s really important to have them ready to go ahead of time. To ensure they stay fresh longer, freeze half and pull it from the freezer mid week. That way nothing goes to waste.
#2 Quick and Easy Complex Carbs
Another huge convenience that is simple and easy, is to prepare a big batch of rice, or fried rice, at the beginning of the week. You could also bake some potatoes or sweet potatoes. When you’re tired at the end of a long work day, nothing is easier than quickly re-heating your pre-cooked protein with a side of rice or potatoes, and throwing together a quick salad. Healthy eating at it’s easiest!
Vegetables can be tough to keep fresh. We recommend to our clients that they do a quick veggie-restock mid week, so that they always have fresh veggies on hand. Cook things like broccoli or asparagus ahead of time, and pre-cut/portion veggies like cucumber, snap peas or peppers into snack sized portions so that they’re ready to go when hunger strikes.
#4 Bulk Cook One-Dish Healthy Dinners
Coming up with dinner for the whole family on the fly can be tricky. You can save yourself a lot of hassle by cooking up big batches of healthy chili, soups, or stews ahead of time in the crock pot. Or make a big stir-fry or healthy pastas using whole grain noodles, lots of veggies and a lean protein. Freeze them into family sized portions, and during the week, pull the required portions out each night before bed. You can save yourself even more work by cooking a little extra and using the leftovers for your lunch the next day!
#5 Pre-portion Snacks
Having snacks that can be eaten on the spot can save you from over-indulging when hunger strikes. Pre-portion things like nuts, veggies, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, homemade protein bars and hard boiled eggs. Having them on hand will make you less likely to reach for processed snacks like chips and granola bars.