Believe it or not, I practice what I preach. I meal-prep weekly because it helps me stay on track. Whether you are trying to maintain a balanced lifestyle, lose weight, or are following an elimination diet, meal-prep can be a life-saver.
No, scratch that, meal-prep is a life-saver.
When you meal-prep you set yourself up for success. Meal-prep helps you reach your health goals by making taking steps towards them the obvious choice.
What is Meal-Prep
Meal-Prep AKA Batch Cooking
Meal-prep is the process of preparing foods ahead of time.
It can involve:
- Washing and preparing food for roasting later in the week
- Washing and preparing fruits and vegetables for freezing
- Preparing and cooking, and portioning out food to grab and go for the week
But ultimately, meal-prep is whatever you make it. Only have 15 minutes? Chop up some veggies and throw them into containers for grab-n-go snacks. Have an hour? Grab a sheet pan and roast some veggies for quick lunch building during the week.
How to Make Time for Meal-Prep
I know what you’re thinking, “I barely have enough time to workout” or if you’re really pressed for time you might be thinking “Girl, I barely have enough time to go to the restroom, yet alone spend an hour in the kitchen” and to that I say:
I get it. Trust me. I don’t even have time to text most people back when it comes to my health, I don’t compromise. Because I have celiac disease, if I don’t meal-prep, I put myself at risk for unsafe eating practices (hello beautiful cross-contaminated take-out). Not to mention meal-prep can actually save you time.
That’s right, batch cooking or meal-prep can actually save you time. Why? It limits the time you spend in the kitchen during the week resulting in less dishes dirtied by cooking, and thus, less time cleaning and prepping.
So let’s talk about your priorities. Do you want to achieve your health goals effortlessly? Do you want to make it as easy as possible? I am telling you, meal-prep is the way to go (unless you are sensitive to histamines, but even then, freezing food can help!). Don’t have time? Either make some or prioritize better.
Some Quick Tips for Optimizing Meal-prep and Your Time
- When you turn on the oven, make use of it! Roasting vegetables for dinner? Roast an extra pan. Baking chicken? Bake extra.
- Only have 15 minutes to spare? Identify you weakest point in the day and plan for it. The moment where you’re likely to make a decision that doesn’t honor your goals. For example, maybe between 3pm and 4pm you start to get hungry and are more likely to stop at the vending machine for a not so healthy snack. Plan for that moment. Spend your 15 minutes preparing easy pack-able grab-n-go snacks.
- Employ the help of your crockpot! Let your crockpot do the heavy lifting and start dinner before leaving for work. Alternatively, make meals as you’re doing chores and other things around the house!
- Prioritize your health. You are taking on a new lifestyle, one that supports your goals. Prioritize it. Make time.
A Time Specific Meal-Prep Guide
This part of the post is broken into time blocks. Quick meal-prep ideas fall under the 15-minute section, whereas longer tasks will fall under the 30-minute and 60-minute sections. Each section lists approximately how long the meal-prep will take, allowing you to build your own plan based off of how long each step will take.
Also be sure to check out my favorite recipes for meal-prep post!
Please note that you might start off a little slow as you find your groove but overtime you’ll memorize recipes and you’ll be able to crush meal-prep in no time!
For the person who only has 15-minutes:
- Chop vegetables for snacking and place them in containers to easily grab and go with (5-7 minutes depending on what veggies you’re preparing)
- Prepare and portion out guacamole, hummus, or another dip to dip your snacking veggies in (5 minutes)
- Portion out dry snacks (like granola, cereal, nuts, and seeds) for an easy snack (2-4 minutes)
- Make a big batch of overnight oats or chia pudding (5-7 minutes)
- Make smoothie bags (bags of frozen fruits/vegetables) that you can dump into your blender for a quick smoothie in the moring. Want to save money? Try freezing your own fruit when their on sale!
- Marinate meats and beans (5 minutes)
For the person who only has 30-minutes
- Chop vegetables for dinners later on in the week. Place vegetables in containers and grab and place into your baking dishes (or pots/pans) when ready to cook. (15 minutes)
- Cook some rice for easily assembled grain bowls (start this at the beginning because rice can take anywhere from 20-40 minutes)
- Boil some eggs for easy grab and go protein (15-20 minutes)
- Make and portion out a large salad. The trick is to use vegetables that are hearty and won’t wilt. Stay away from lettuce based salads (unless making salads in a jar) and instead focus on slaws (using cabbage, Brussel sprouts) or other heartier salads. Kale might make a good long-lasting option too! (15 minutes)
For the Person who has 60-minutes
- Chop, and Roast veggies for lunches, easily assembled dinners, etc. (30-45 minutes)
- Make vegetable stock and freeze it/store it for soups and rice. Make it out of the scraps from the chopped vegetables (1 hour)
- Cook proteins (whether it be beans or meat) cook up some meat for balanced grab-n-go meals!
- Make a soup or curry for quick grab-n-go lunches and snacks. Bonus, if you can make enough, this can count as your dinner tonight too! (1 hour but usually the longer a soup sits, the better it gets, just keep it on low heat)
Containers and Storage
I won’t spend too much time here but make sure when meal-prepping that you have good quality storage containers. No one likes it when you use a poor quality container and it leaks fish juices all over you and your stuff (it’s happened to me).
I like using glass containers with lids and reusable snack bags like stashers.
Achieve your Health Goals with Meal-Prep
Achieve your health goals with meal-prep (or batch cooking). Not only does it actually save your time, but it makes working towards your goals the obvious choice. Need some recipe meal-prep inspiration? Check out my all inclusive Top Meal-Prep Recipes!
Comment below what you like to meal-prep!
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