We all want to eat healthy but would rather pass on the tasks it takes to do so and drive through a food prep and serve joint, right? I love being in the kitchen and there are times when even I feel like enough is enough…then I get back to work prepping whatever healthy dish I’m up to creating or making Because it’s Worth it.
There are a few easy meal prep tips for healthy eating that I tend to throughout my week that I’ll share here in hopes you’ll gain some insight for how and what to implement at your house.
Easy Meal Prep Tip #1:
Prep your veggies ( at least the ones you’ll grab from every day–if not the ones you plan on using throughout the week in your recipes).
When you get home from the store or farmers market, clean and cut the vegetables to your desired shape and size, then store appropriately. For example celery really likes being damp, so I always store that in a 1 pound upright container with a bit of water at the bottom on the inside door of my fridge. That way opening the fridge and seeing a stalk of celery to grab is super easy and quick, whether or not I take the time to throw on some nut butter or dip it into hummus.
You will eat more produce if you’ve prepared it. For whatever reason we’ll eat an apple whole by taking a bite out of it but we won’t do the same with a bell pepper, so you’ve got to cut that guy into strips for all to enjoy.
And you’re more apt to follow through on the healthy dinner recipe you’ve got planned for Tuesday night if your veggies are already chopped and all you have to do is add the chicken and sauce to your stir fry.
Easy Meal Prep Tip #2:
Create smoothie bags
If you love smoothies as much as our family does though get stuck in the I Want a Smoothie But Don’t Have a Recipe conversation every time, then you’ll love this tip.
Set out a week’s worth of quart sized freezer bags.
Grab a bunch of bananas, baby spinach or kale, frozen fruit, flax or hemp seeds and protein powder.
Cut a bunch of bananas into coin sized pieces.
Into each bag toss a handful of banana pieces, a handful of baby spinach, 1 cup frozen fruit, 2 Tablespoons of seeds and 2 Tablespoons of protein powder. Seal and freeze.
When you want a smoothie, grab a bag, empty it into the blender, add 6-8 ounces of almond or coconut milk, blend and serve.
Easy Meal Prep Tip #3:
If you’re going to grill/bake/crock pot anyway, double the dose.
If you’re throwing 3 chicken breasts on the grill, you might as well grill 6 or 9 of them at once. If you’re going to bake chicken breasts, bake more than you need, and if you’re going to throw a couple in the crock pot for shredding into chicken salad you could easily add a couple more. You’re saving yourself from doing the same task twice is all—-you only need to be prepared enough to have on hand extra meat. You WILL use it, especially if it’s already prepped.
You could freeze the extra grilled chicken breast or you could chop it up for Thursday night’s cobb salad…do whatever you’d like with it-you have options simply because you thought ahead. Packing your lunches for the next week will never be easier with a fridge full of fresh options.
Easy Meal Prep Tip #4:
I know that’s the last thing you want to hear, but if you plan ahead for at least three meals during your week, half the work is done. Part of the struggle is getting home from kid activities or from work meetings, AND THEN wondering what to make for dinner…it’s so annoying and drives each and every one of us crazy. Then we get down on ourselves and end up making mac’n’cheese or grilled cheese AGAIN.
This doesn’t have to be difficult—just choose the top 3 family favorites or the top 3 family favorite kinds of cuisine and delegate them to a certain night of the week. Say, for example, Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays and Pizza Fridays. There, three nights nearly done. Just having an idea in the back of your mind creates space for other things! Or every Wednesday is pasta night, every Thursday is a large tossed cobb-salad-like gig, or every Monday night your husband grills a slab of meat. Whatever it is will help set the tone for the week.
Ever heard of this acronym: K-I-S-S? Keep It Simple Silly!
Easy Meal Prep Tip #5:
Keep easy and healthy non-perishables on hand
My new favorite online shopping venture of the past six months is Thrive Market. I can get all my non-perishables for 50-75% off every time I order, so there’s no reason for me to have bare cupboards anymore. From nut butters to mayonnaise to diced tomatoes, it’s got you covered.
Favorite items for throwing together a quick meal from Thrive Market are:
Organic black bean pasta
Jovial organic diced tomatoes
Wild Planet tuna
Simple Mills almond flour focaccia bread
Hatch gluten free enchilada sauce
Beef or Chicken broth
And here’s the cool thing….my using my link to Thrive, you’ll get TWO months free membership AND 25% off your first order, so it’s a total win-win. Remember to use THIS LINK to create your account and place your first order. Where else do you get to shop for two months before deciding if you want a membership (just like a Costco membership only cheaper and you don’t have to buy in bulk!).
Now that you’ve got 5 easy meal prep tips, I’d love to hear some ideas that save you time in the kitchen and help keep you set up for success with healthy eating.