Eating well-balanced meals made at home from less processed foods is part of a healthy lifestyle. Busy schedules and lack of ideas are just a couple of things that stop us from enjoying these well balanced meals. Preparing larger batches of food in advance, portioning them out, and storing for later can save you money and time and help you achieve your health goals. First, pick a day to meal prep and plan on prepping this same day weekly or bi-weekly (put it in your calendar!). Next, plan out what you will prep. You can start with 1 thing or go all out and prep for the whole week. Below are suggested foods to prep and a few delicious big batch recipes.
- Pre-chop and portion vegetables. Store at eye level in your fridge or freezer so they are easily accessible and visible.
- Be prepared for packing healthy lunches by slicing or chopping bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes or any other vegetable you enjoy and store in individual containers. Add these to salads, sandwiches, wraps or throw in just as they are to enjoy with a light dip.
- Easily create a healthier dinner by including more vegetables. Pre-chop vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, squash, onions, bell peppers, etc. Quickly add to a skillet, steam in a pot, or roast in the oven.
- Get your lean protein ready for the week.
- Bake or Grill chicken breasts to store in fridge 3-4 days. Leave whole, shred, and chop to utilize in various dishes.
- Hard boil a dozen eggs to store in fridge up to 1 week. Enjoy as a snack, slice for a sandwich or top on a salad.
- Cook lean ground meat (>90% lean)to store in fridge 3-4 days. Add to pasta sauce, use for tacos, or make a big batch of chili.
- Cook a large batch of dried beans to store in fridge 4-5 days. Add to a pasta dish, soups, salads, tacos, etc.
- Make your own frozen burritos:
Whether you eat them for a convenient breakfast, lunch, or dinner, by making them yourself you can personalize, and reduce the sodium and fat compared to what a store bought burrito would have.
How to prepare: choose a lower calorie 8 in. whole grain tortilla. Gather and prep your ingredients: a protein, lots of veggies, salsa or other topping. Assemble. Wrap up in saran/cling wrap and place in plastic bags. Freeze. Pull out and reheat in microwave any time.
Try out these suggestions:
Breakfast: 8 in. whole grain tortilla + 1 scrambled egg or 2 egg whites + chopped and lightly sautéed bell peppers and spinach + favorite salsa
Lunch: 8 in. whole grain tortilla + black beans + sautéed bell peppers, onions, mushrooms + low fat shredded cheese + chili powder
Dinner: 8 in. whole grain tortilla + shredded chicken + sautéed veggies of choice + sauce (BBQ, light Italian dressing, salsa, teriyaki)
- Make your own energy bites, granola bars, and granola
You can make them cheaper than you can buy them! They also won’t have any ingredients you don’t want in there. Make a large batch that can last you 2 weeks! Freeze individual portions and pull out to take with as a snack for the day. Try my favorite recipes below:
Dark chocolate cherry energy bites: http://www.irunonnutrition.com/2013/07/19/dark-chocolate-red-tart-cherry-energy-bites/
5 ingredient granola bars: http://minimalistbaker.com/healthy-5-ingredient-granola-bars/
Toasted cinnamon nut granola: http://www.sweetlavenderbakeshoppe.com/2012/10/autumn-granola_12.html?m=1
- Try this slow cooker chicken tostada recipe for dinners this week. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWjdU66KsOA
- Make these omelet muffins for a grab and go breakfast. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohuc_gipwsg
- Prep this yogurt apple salad; would be a great side for lunch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_2N5HRXe0E
I encourage you to start with 1 day and 1 item or recipe to prep for the week. I hope you enjoy the recipes!