How are you enjoying your new year? Sticking to your diet resolutions? As we all know there is usually an increase in healthy eaters this time of year. The first month goes very well. We’re all dedicated and proud of our new lifestyle. But then February rolls around and things start to become a burden. The biggest struggle from my readers is finding time to cook AND do everything else in your day. Believe me I hear ya! I sleep for 8 hours, I work for 8 hours, and with commuting, CrossFit, chores, and graduate studies there’s barely any time left in the day to cook. So, what should you do?
Tips for Meal Prepping
1. Cook in Bulk
Look for recipes that are easy to double or triple. This is typically any recipe… just double it!
Cook what you like to eat. A lot of it. Make double. Triple. Quadruple. Portion into containers. That about sums up meal prepping.
2. Start with breakfast
Make a frittata. Include your favorite veggies and maybe bacon or sausage. In fact, I’ve got a recipe that includes just about everything – add an egg if you’d like: Sausage and Sweets Breakfast Bowl.
Bam. You’re done. Breakfast for the week.
3. Choose your proteins
Select about 2 or 3 different proteins. Unless you want to eat chicken for an entire week. That’s cool too. I like to make ground beef, pork chop, and chicken thigh. If you have an office job I would advise to keep fish meals at home. I cook a few pieces of salmon separately throughout the week because I find leftover fish to be disgraceful. Nobody wants to smell reheated salmon in the office’s communal microwave. Don’t be that guy.
4. Choose your vegetables
You’ll want to make sure you have some of your favorite veggies. Select about 2 or 3 veggies. These can include leaf vegetables (kale, spinach), root veggies (carrots, beets, sweet potato) and flower veggies (asparagus, cauliflower).
My favorites are:
- Cauliflower mash
- Roasted Zucchini
- Onions & mushrooms
- Sweet potato
- Spaghetti squash
STRIVE FOR COLOR!
Note: If you’re really in a pinch frozen veggies work well. However, most times they’ve lost their nutrients and are also not as flavorful. But this is an option I’ve used many times!
5. Chop and Prep First
Before you begin cooking lay out all of the food you plan on making. Chop your veggies. Season your meat. Prepare your all food before cooking. That way you are only focusing on one thing at a time.
6. Behold, The Crockpot
Transform one skillet meals into crockpot meals. Take all of your favorite ingredients and throw them in a crockpot for a minimum of 4 hours. Meal. Veggies. Anything. Then portion it out into lunch and dinner servings for yourself.
7. Use your entire kitchen
Utilize ALL of your appliances – the stove, microwave, and oven simultaneously. For example, plan out what you can heat in the microwave versus what you can cook on the stove. Most veggies can be cooked in the microwave, like a whole sweet potato, while chicken roasts in the oven and you’re sauteing some greens on the stove-top. That way, three things are cooking at once but you’re only tending to one location.
Microwave: whole sweet potato, carrots, hard squashes
Stovetop: Steak, ground meats, onions & greens
Oven: chicken thighs, brussels sprouts, roasted zucchini, plantains, egg casseroles, bacon
No cook: use your spiralizer for zucchini noodles or cold cucumber noodles. Throw together a raw salad with tomatoes and avocado.
Crockpot: Add a bunch of greatness to the slow cooker and you’re done! Try my tuscan chicken recipe or pineapple chicken verde.
8. Invest in Food Storage Containers
After you’ve cooked all your meals it’s important to ration out your meals for the week. Organizing your meals after they are cooked saves a lot of time. Then all you have to do it reheat and eat.
9. Bring Quick Snacks
Snacks like plantain chips, guacamole, apples, bananas, kale chips, and other snacks are great for on-the-go. No refrigerating or reheating needed. Don’t forget your fruit and packaged paleo food.
In addition to your healthy snacks don’t forget water. Most of the time if you feel hungry but are eating nutrient dense foods it actually means you’re thirsty. Hydration is super important to keep our body working to the best of its ability.
My typical meal prep:
Breakfast: Squash & Broccoli Bake with sweet potato apple hash, or sausage & sweets bowl
Lunch: Chicken or pork, roasted zucchini, spaghetti squash, brussels sprouts w/ bacon
Dinner: Fish or steak, sweet potato, roasted cauliflower, warm kale & carrot ribbons
Now quit reading and get prepping.
- Rhode Island Style Fried Calamari (Paleo)
- Salmon Cucumber Noodle Salad (Video)