Preparation plays a vital role in healthy eating. If you don't have someone to cook for you the perfect healthy food, you have to do it yourself. But for someone who has a busy life, in between family, career, and gym, there is little time to cook healthy. But instead of choosing to eat takeout foods, you can simply take a few hours out of one of your free days of the week to prepare your meals ahead of time. Meal planning and prepping is a great way to help you make healthy choices and learn how to control your portions. It's one of the very first steps you should take when you want to switch to healthy eating - especially if you have fitness goals such as weight-loss.
You can prep anything from healthy breakfasts to savory snacks, while reaping the benefits of clean eating. Plus, you'll save a lot of time and you'll be able to spend that time relaxing and doing other activities that you enjoy. Meal prepping provides you with plenty other benefits, such as:
- portion control
- healthy choices
- no preservatives
- no added sugar
- better dietary habits
- nutrient dense meals
- home-cooked food
- time saving
- money saving
1. Jar Salads
If you love salads, then this is the right trick for you. You can do this with just about any salad you love to eat, simply make as many "jarred salads" as you need throughout the week. You need a glass jar to put or your veggies in. Layer your produce starting with veggies like cucumbers and peppers, and adding the leafy greens and grains on top. Then put a paper towel square at the top in order to absorb moisture. If you want to, you can put your dressing at the bottom of the jar, or simply make a separate jar of dressing to last you for the following days.
2. Energy Balls
You need your protein to accelerate your muscle recovery after an intense workout. Protein also helps reduce your cravings and hunger. So you should make it your favorite snack, especially if you want to lose some weight. However, you shouldn't just grab a bunch of packaged protein bars. Make your own batch of energy balls and store them in the fridge. They last up to 6 days, so you won't have any excuses to snack on junk foods.
3. Oatmeal Jars
Aside from protein, you need some fiber-rich foods in your diet, such as oatmeal. This will keep you full until lunchtime, so you won't be tempted to snack in between meals. Making your own jar of oatmeal is the best way to ensure that there are no added sugars and preservatives in your lunch. Make your favorite flavor combinations with oatmeal, raspberries, dark chocolate, or coconut and banana oatmeal. Prepping your oatmeal in a jar is a great way to control your sweet tooth and how much you eat.
4. Boiled Eggs
Boiled eggs are lower in calories than any other form of cooked eggs. They are an excellent source of vitamins A and B, healthy fats, and protein. If you want to make a big batch of boiled eggs to last you for days, bake them. Place them in muffin tins and put them in your oven for up to 30 minutes and you'll get a huge batch of hard-boiled eggs that you can use in your meals throughout the week. Make sure you store them in the fridge after cooling!
5. Chopped Veggies
This is the perfect trick for when you need a quick veggie fix. Cut your veggies in bulk beforehand, in order to save time and energy. Prepare your vegetables by chopping (or you can use a Spiralizer if you prefer) them ahead of time and place them in food containers. Store them in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can chop your carrots, peppers, onions, and use them to cook or make salads whenever you feel like it. Quick and easy, perfect for busy days when you need extra time to rest and relax!
6. Meat Season
If you want to prep your lean meats, like chicken and turkey, you can easily get bored of the taste after a couple of days. To make your meat more savory, you can prepare 2 or 3 flavor variations of your chicken at the same time. Use aluminum foils to divide your meat container and place in each space you created your seasoned meat. You can marinate your meat in BBQ sauce, or season it with salt, curry, herbs - it's up to your imagination and taste buds!
These are just a few ideas of what you can do to prepare your meals, but you can really prep just about anything! Invest in a few glass jars and food containers to place your food in. Don't forget to store your food in the fridge afterward to prevent it from expiring. You can prepare your veggies, salad dressings, marinate and season your meet, you can even store your smoothies. Just make sure you keep the meat and veggies separate if you’re going to keep them stored for more days.
It's advisable to prep in advance for up to 5 or 6 days, so you can take a few hours out of your free Sunday to plan your meals, check the nutritional values of all the ingredients and research recipes that you'd like to have during the week. Have fun experimenting with different food choices and enjoy the time you saved throughout the week!