What comes to mind when you hear the words meal prep— intense, commitment, boring? It is typical to associate these words with the practice of meal prepping. However, meal prepping is not a ‘one size fits all’. It can be adapted to fit your taste, schedule, and level of commitment that you are willing to take, while still allowing you to reap the benefits of being proactive when it comes to what you eat.
Meal prepping is a spectrum. It comes down to the simple practice of cooking something ahead of time, specifically, preparing food for when you are busy and would not have the time to put together a nutritious, yet satisfying meal. This can take on many forms. On one extreme, you can prep and portion out each meal of the week. On the other end of the spectrum, you can simply cook one or two dishes that will give you an easy grab-and-go option for when time is tight.
Below are 5 creative ways that you can incorporate meal prepping into your weekly routine:
- Small batch cooking: An easy way to be proactive with your meals, without biting the bullet of spending hours in the kitchen, is to cook one or two meals in advance. When Sunday rolls around, you can simplify your week, while guaranteeing a healthy option in your fridge, by cooking a few servings of one dish. For example, you can cook a casserole or make a pan of enchiladas to work through over a few days.
- Breakfast prep: Whether you are simply looking for an easier morning or if you are one to skip out on breakfast due to time limitations, prepping a big batch of protein oatmeal or a breakfast chia seed pudding before your week starts is a great way to ensure you are kick starting your day with a nutritious meal.
- Protein prep: You can easily prep your protein without committing to a pre-planned menu. You can grill a few chicken breasts or bake a few servings of tofu to eat throughout the week. You can then pair your pre-prepped protein with whatever vegetables and carbohydrates that you are craving in that moment!
- Sweet tooth prep: If you are one to battle a sweet tooth late at night, this meal prep practice may just be for you. Avoid the boxed cookies and tub of ice cream, and be proactive when it comes to your sweet cravings. You can make protein packed pudding or energy balls that will give you all the sweet you need throughout the week, without compromising your commitment to healthy foods!
- Smoothie prep: You can go ahead and measure out your fruit, vegetables, protein powder and fun smoothie additions into bags or in tupperware. Doing this on the weekend will allow you to simply transfer the contents of the bag or container into your blender for a quick and easy snack!