Benjamin Franklin once said that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” He was a smart dude, Franklin was.
If you’re trying to eat healthier these days, incorporate more vegetables and fruits into your diet, eat more fiber, and less sugar. A little planning can be your best friend. I think we can all agree we may not make the best choices when we are hungry. We tend to grab whatever’s easiest and closest. And that often looks like a fast-food drive-though.
There’s nothing wrong with grabbing the occasional burger, but if you are trying to stay healthy, meal prepping can be your new BFF.
The concept of meal prepping is simple; you take a few hours on the weekend (or your day off) and prep healthy food for the week. These meals then live in your fridge until you need them, and then it’s grab-and-go. It’s a great solution for early mornings and long days, and it can save you dough (the green kind) as well. By planning and prepping your meals for the week, you’ll have less food waste, and spend less on restaurant meals too.
Many of these meals stay fresh for up to 5 days when refrigerated, so if you are on a long-haul trip, a loaded cooler could ensure that you make healthy choices the entire time.
Here’s how it works:
Get the gear: these are all reusable, so a great investment. You should be able to find them online or at your local big-box retailer.
• bento boxes
• plastic or glass storage containers with compartments
• mason jars of various sizes
• portable cooler
• freezer packs
Make a list:
• plan out your meals for the week
• check your pantry to see what items you already have on hand
• based on this, generate your shopping list
Meal Prep Ideas
Overnight Oats are a popular meal prep breakfast. Simply add a few tablespoons of oatmeal into the bottom of a mason jar. You can top that with other healthy ingredients, like maple syrup, dried fruits and seeds like flax and chia. Then top the oatmeal with milk (or non-dairy milk), put the lid on, and shake vigorously. The oatmeal will all gel together overnight in the fridge, and be ready for breakfast (you can make several at a time) the next day. Click here for more overnight oat ideas.
Mason Jar Salads: in a large mason jar, place a couple tablespoons of your favorite dressing in the bottom of the jar. Top this with crisp, hearty vegetables like snap peas, grape tomatoes, and cucumber. Place a layer of protein on top of this: cooked shredded chicken, canned tuna, tofu or boiled eggs. Add a layer of shredded cheese. Next, add a generous handful of washed greens, and then top with nuts or seeds. When ready to eat, just shake the jar vigorously to distribute the dressing, and eat straight out of the jar with a fork. Click here for more mason jar salad variations.
Power Bowls: use a large, round plastic or glass container. Fill the bottom with cooked grains, like brown rice or quinoa. Top that with oven-roasted vegetables, like yams, kale, zucchini, and peppers. Top that with your protein: a cooked meat of your choice, fish, eggs or even tofu. Drizzle all over with your favorite sauce (BBQ, Hoisin, Siracha, or even a reduced balsamic vinegar). When ready to eat, just warm in the microwave and eat straight from the container. Click here for more power bowl ideas.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard! With some forethought and some planning, you can ensure that you are eating healthy all week long, no matter how crazy busy your schedule is.
You can also visit our Wellness section on our website for more information.