FOUR EASY TIPS FOR MEAL-PREPPING
Preparing breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in advance is not a new idea, but it has perhaps been more appealing in recent years due to the busy lifestyles we have adopted. Whether you choose to cook once a week or multiple times, meal-prepping can come with some great benefits such as avoiding unhealthy food choices, getting rid of last minute stress, making grocery shopping simpler, freeing up time throughout the week, being more cost-effective, and helping you reach your wellness goals. Because of its very nature, food preparation can be a daunting feat when approached incorrectly. Don’t worry, today we look at a few tips to make your weekly meal prep a little less stressful and a lot more fun!
Source: The Sweet Seed
MAKE A WEEKLY PLAN/GROCERY LIST
Grocery shopping can be overwhelming, but here’s an obvious tip: make a list (second pro tip: keep unhealthy items off of your list). Moreover, before making your grocery list, make your weekly plan. For each day of the week, simply write down what you wish to prepare in advance per meal. If you are a meal-prepping beginner, simply look up some recipes you might enjoy that share ingredients in order to be as cost-effective as possible with your shopping. Just remember, buy what you eat and eat what you buy!
SCHEDULE TIME TO PREPARE MEALS IN ADVANCE
A misconception of meal preparation is that it takes too much time, but you can make it quite efficient. By simply making a meal plan in advance and having your ingredients ready to cook, you are cutting your preparation time already. Once you have tried meal-prepping a few times, you will be a pro and will have mastered the art of multi-tasking. While you are chopping the vegetables, the salmon can be cooking in the pan and the chicken baking in the oven. Typically, meal-prepping is best done 2-3 times per week in order to keep your meals as fresh tasting as possible. I like to cook my lunches and dinners for the week on Sundays and Wednesdays. Don’t forget, meal-prepping can free up some time for you during the week so you can spend more time doing the things you enjoy!
GET USED TO TUPPERWARE
How you store your food can be one of the most important steps of meal-prepping. Thanks to Tupperware, this step is made fairly easy. The rule of thumb is to keep up to three days worth of meals in the refrigerator and freeze the remainder. Glass Tupperware is preferred as it typically does well in freezer storage as well as reheating. Nonetheless, if you already have plastic containers on hand ,simply make sure they are BPA-free and microwave safe if you choose to use a microwave to reheat. When preparing hot meals, let them cool down to room temperature and store them in the refrigerator or freezer within 1-2 hours of meal prep. You are on your way to being a senior meal-prepper!
DON’T FORGET PORTION CONTROL AND BALANCE
The whole concept of meal-prepping is to make meal choices healthier and easier, which also means we want to look at making sure our meals are proportionate and balanced. Familiarize yourself with what an appropriate amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats should look like for your daily caloric intake. To ensure your meal is complete, use resources like Myplate.gov to achieve the right balance of lean meat, vegetables, fruits, grains, and dairy. For example, when looking at things like carbohydrates, the serving size for grains is 1 ounce, which is about 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of cold breakfast cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice or other cooked grain.
Next time you decide to prepare your weekly meals in advance, try making a plan with your grocery list, schedule meal prep time, know how to store your food, and understand your portion sizes to maintain a healthy balanced meal!
– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC