If you learn to become more organised in the kitchen and start planning and preparing all of your meals for you and your family ahead of time, life will no doubt become easier, especially if you have children. You come home late for work and you want to whip up a super quick, healthy but tasty meal. Yes healthy food does not have to be boring.
What you will need
You will need to invest in good tupperware, glass containers, jars, bottles and freezer bags. How many you buy depends how many people you are cooking for. To start off do not go crazy, invest in little to see how you get on.
Start by planning what you intend to eat the week ahead. I suggest drawing up a weekly food planner where you write down all the breakfasts, snacks, lunch and dinners for the whole week. Since you are new to meal prepping stick to recipes that you are familiar with. Once you have written down your meal plan it is time to list all the shopping ingredients you will need. Remember to make your meals varied so you do not get bored and to include vegetables, good sources of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. In a healthy diet you need them all.
Good vegetables to include in your meal plan: Bok choy, cavolo nero, kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, dandelion greens, asparagus, zucchini, cucumber, cabbage and rucola.
When it comes to protein if you decide to go for meat please make sure it is organic. You do not want your meat to be injected with hormones and antibiotics so always go organic. Good sources of protein are: Wild salmon, prawns, turkey, chicken, beef, fish, tempeh, tofu, chickpeas, lentils, edamame and all other beans and quinoa.
Complex carbohydrates go for: sweet potatoes, brown rice, try gluten free pasta like millet and quinoa fusilli or rice and quinoa pasta, amaranth and buckwheat.
Good sources of healthy fats: Avocados, almonds, brazil nuts, selenium nuts, pecans, pumpkin, sesame, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. Flax oil in salads or smoothies. Olive oil and coconut oil.
Once you have all your ingredients for your meals it is time to get started in the kitchen. If you are new to meal prepping I suggest you prepare food for 3 days at a time until you get the hang of it or you can prepare your lunches and dinners the night before. At first it may be daunting but trust me once you get the hang of it life will become so much easier! Your fridge and freezer will be packed full of healthy meals.
Make large batches of meat balls and burgers. These are great to have in the freezer with a delicious tomato sauce. I suggest you cook all your sauces separately. Make a jar full of your favourite sauce and keep it in the fridge for the week. Remember to always make sure to sterilise the jars. You can make batches of tomato sauce and keep it in the freezer. Soup is another good option for a quick meal. All you need to do is take it out of the freezer in the morning and cook it when you come home. You can’t get quicker than that.
Cook all your protein in advance and I suggest to keep it simple like grilled and you can season it on the day. By keeping it simple it will last longer rather than cooking it in a sauce and leaving it in the fridge for a few days. Use spices and herbs to enhance the flavour, use cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, garlic powder.
Hard boiled eggs are excellent to have on the go and a great sauce of protein. I suggest you cook them for a few days in advance, so you can use them in the morning if you do not have time for breakfast or as a snack with some spinach.
Oats are great as they are so versatile and easy to prepare. To make breakfast easier in the morning you can prepare overnight oats which last in the fridge for 3 days. If you prepare porridge in the morning, prepare your bowl the night before with all your chopped fruit and just put it in a pan with water the next day. Get organised as much as possible to minimise time especially if you have to rush to work in the mornings.
Chop all your fruit and vegetables to make it easier for cooking. You can chop bananas, strawberries, blueberries , avocados and other fruit of your choice and freeze them, this will make it easier to prepare smoothies. Chop all your vegetables and put store them in containers in the fridge so that if you fancy a stir fry when you come home from work you have all the ingredients you need. You can marinate some prawns or chicken pieces the night before for your stir fry as well. As you get the hang of you will decide what works best for you. There are no fixed rules. You do what suits you.
It is important to note that meal prep does not mean you have to eat all your meals cold. As mentioned above you can have a hot breakfast. You may decide that lunches and snacks are the only cold meals you want and you prefer a hot dinner.
I hope the above tips help and good luck to your meal prepping!