My number 1 tip when someone asks, "how do I eat healthier?" or "how do I lose weight?" is this: start by cooking your own food! This way you have control of what goes in your meals (how much butter, salt, sugar, etc.). Meal prepping for the week is one of the best ways to make it easier to consume nutritious food. Oftentimes when we hear the term "meal-prepping" we may think of preparing pre-portioned breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals all in the same container neatly stacked in the fridge. But let's be real, having the exact same thing for lunch or dinner 5 days a week is super-duper boring for most people...and odds are, it is not something that is going to stick long-term. Food should be FUN, enjoyable, and it should be tailored to YOU and your liking.
Mini meal prepping gives you the choice, it adds some excitement and variety to your meals while also ensuring smart food choices. The goal of mini meal prepping is to both allow for choice in your meals + snacks and to cut cooking time down considerably during the week. Browse the lists below for some ideas that stick out to you:
One of the single best ways to ensure healthy eating throughout the week is having veggies on hand ready to eat or throw in a dish at a moment's notice. If you only have time for a quick prep on Sunday, prioritize this:
Slicing up raw vegetables (bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, zucchini, etc.) or roast brussle sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. These prepped vegetables can be added into:
Your favorite stir-fry recipe.
A morning omelet.
A bowl of dark leafy greens for a salad.
A bowl of pasta with sauce.
Sliced bell peppers and cucumber in a chicken wrap.
Add into a grain bowl full of warmed up quinoa or rice, top with a dressing of choice.
Or, simply eaten dipped in hummus or guacamole.
In order to make meals + snacks stick and not leave us feeling on "E" an hour later, we need to add some protein. Remember to choose lean meats and plant-based proteins:
Hard boiled eggs to grab alone as a snack or add into a salad, wrap, or top your avocado toast- the options are endless with eggs!
Cook some lean ground turkey to have on hand for tacos or quick spaghetti sauce.
Bake seasoned chicken breasts to slice into a wrap, top a salad or grain bowl, or eat alone with some side dishes.
If you’re feeling adventurous, prep some tofu.
Some items that don’t require any prep- making you life 1,000x better: canned tuna, salmon, or beans + legumes.
Lastly, hearty carbs tie together our veggies and proteins (and also, who doesn't love carbs!?) Simply cook the following items ahead of time and store in the fridge to be reheated:
Quinoa: a complete protein itself- so it can stand alone with vegetables to make for a filling meal.
Brown rice to make a stir fry, side dish, or grain bowl.
White potatoes and sweet potatoes can be added to salads or as a side dish.
Pasta (lentil-based pasta works too!) for all your Italian dishes.
No-prep carbs: tortilla shells, bread and pita bread.
*Try to choose whole wheat options majority of the time (think: brown rice, whole wheat tortilla shells, whole wheat pasta, 100% whole wheat bread, etc.).*
Even if you can only carve out an hour out of your day, meal prepping can save time and money, but also sets you and your family up for nutrition success. Stick to the real, whole foods, and get creative! Think about some of your favorite dishes/snacks you’ve had in the past, can you prep any of it ahead of time? What is one food item that can be used in a variety of dishes throughout the week?