It’s the first week of February, and by now most of us have probably faltered a little bit in our resolve to eat healthier in the New Year and make healthy life style changes. Don’t beat yourself up about it! It’s okay to misstep in your healthy food journey, but easy to correct. One way to help stay on track is by meal prepping. Meal prepping continues to trend with a ton of great ideas from influencers on Instagram, Tik Tok, Pinterest and YouTube.
Don’t let the whole idea of meal prepping overwhelm you either! It’s easy to customize your approach so that you set up a meal prepping system that works best for your hectic schedule, dietary needs and cooking ability. We’ve got a few tips for getting started that will prevent your efforts from becoming a huge time drain but allowing you to make smarter, healthier food choices each day.
Tip #1 – Start simple!
Look, you don’t have to go crazy and meal prep 3 meals a day for the entire week. Start with 2 or 3 dinners and see how it goes. Then maybe progress to a few lunches, because let’s be honest…quick lunch options are usually our worst meal choice of the day!
Here’s an incredibly healthy meal prep idea from our Instagram friend, Nicole Kendrick from @glutenfreeandgolden. Nicole is a Health Coach and works with clients to offer health, wellness, nutrition and fitness coaching. Check out her recipe for Egg Roll in a Bowl.
Tip #2 – Don’t do it all in one day!
The easiest way to get overwhelmed with meal prepping is to try to do the shopping, prepping and pre-cooking all in one day. Try planning the meals/menu on Friday evening and creating your shopping list. Then on Saturday, go shopping for all the ingredients needed. Plan to prep or cook on Sunday with enough time to cool any cooked food safely, and properly before packaging.
Tip #3 – Pick recipes/meals that use similar ingredients for easier, faster prepping & that can be cooked at the same time.
If all 3 of your meal recipes call for onions, cut, chop or slice them all at the same time and portion for each recipe as needed. To be able to cook your recipes at the same time, look for similar cooking methods and temperatures for cooking. For example, if you have a great sheet pan dinner recipe like our Hawaiian Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner that cooks at 350°F, find another recipe that cooks in the oven at the same temperature like our Ground Chicken Taco Bake.
Tip #4 – Use Your Kitchen Tools/Gadgets To Save Time
Use the kitchen tools you have to help make the food prep easier: shred cheese with the food processor, blend dressings or sauces in the blender, pick a few recipes to cook in the air fryer, or plan a few recipes in the Instant Pot or slow cooker.
Nicole from @glutenfreeandgolden offers a few recommendations for must haves in the kitchen to help save time when meal prepping:
Slow cookers are great for prepping because you don’t have to stand over it and cook, and can even throw it all together and cook overnight. She personally has 2 of them and uses both on Sundays with a meal cooking in each one!
Air fryers are great to have, especially if you are in an area that is too cold for year round grilling. It allows you to cook items in a matter of minutes.
Rice cookers aren’t just for rice! Their versatility allows you to steam vegetables, sweet potatoes and of course, rice.
Check out these great recipes using a few of these handy kitchen tools: