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Meal Prep Tips: Getting Back to the Basics

Meal Prep & Planning: Simple tips for getting back to the basics.

Imagine if you will….You’ve started a new healthy lifestyle plan and it’s Sunday evening. You work tomorrow. You have your outfit picked out, your briefcase ready to go, but you have no idea what you’re going to take for lunch. And there’s nothing ready for the next day. Sound familiar?

What can fix that problem?  Meal Prep and Planning!

One of the changes that can feel daunting to a lot of people when switching to a real food lifestyle is the meal prep. It may feel overwhelming at first, but getting back to basics can help ease the transition and get you started towards your goal. Use these tips to support you as you start and maintain your healthier way of eating.

Above all, be patient with yourself.

Just like a child learning to ride a bike, when you learn a new skill, doesn’t it take a little time to adjust? Well, get ready to take off the training wheels and get started.

1.  Make a plan and shop. It’s time to build a menu. Organizing and knowing what you want to cook for the week is step one. And when you’re just starting out, keeping it simple is a must.

For each meal, choose one to three vegetables, one healthy fat, and one quality protein.

Meal Prep & Planning: Simple tips for getting back to the basics.

What does that look like for a day’s worth of food?  

    • Breakfast: could be a simple hash with colorful peppers, parsnips, onions, and kale, served with pastured eggs or sausage, sautéed and cooked in coconut oil. 
    • Lunch: Salad with your three favorite vegetables and lettuce, your favorite cooked protein, and homemade vinegar and oil dressing.
    • Dinner: Grilled organic chicken thighs, zucchini, summer squash and tomatoes sautéed in olive oil.

Lifestyle tip: Write down your basic meal ingredients to start a shopping list. Organizing the list by where it’s found in the store (protein in the meat section, vegetables and fruits in produce, oils and vinegars in the aisles) can make the shopping trip a breeze!

2. Prep. You’ve organized your menu for the week, shopped and and returned home with all the food. What do you do now?  Start prepping!

    • Vegetables can be cut for salads and saved in containers.  For grilling or roasting in the oven, cut in larger pieces and store. Then, when you’re r
      eady to use them, toss with a little olive or coconut oil, and your favorite herbs and cook. If you like carrots, radishes and celery sticks with guacamole or a non-dairy for snacks, go ahead and cut them and store in a glass container with a snap top lid.
    • Protein can be precooked by cooking in oven or on the grill. Eggs can be hard boiled and then chilled. This makes it easy to grab and go on those busy mornings.   
    • Dressings, sauces and dips can be prepared in advance and stored in small glass jars.

Lifestyle tip: Glass mason jars come in several sizes and make great containers for pre-cut vegetables. Just add a little water to the bottom of the jar, add your prepped veggies, and replace the lid. It makes it easy to find what you’re looking for in the fridge.

3. Build your meals and snacks. Now that food is prepped, pack it up in containers.

    • Dinners are now easy to create! The main ingredients can be left in the storage containers until you’re ready to cook.
    • Lunches are easy when you have a few stackable containers into which you can transfer prepped meals. Remember: 1-3 vegetables, 1 healthy fat and 1 protein, such as salads greens with peppers, onions, carrots and tomatoes, pre-grilled salmon, and an easy vinaigrette (in a separate jar) or pre-grilled chicken thigh, roasted peppers and onion and broccoli with a side of cauliflower rice.
    • Snacks such as nuts can be divided in containers for the week to make easy grab and go items.

Lifestyle tip: Glass containers with snap top lids in entree and snack size can be helpful additions to your storage containers. These can be used to build your meals for the week, so you don’t have to think about your meal and snack for the day. Add a little sticker for each day of the week!

Meal Prep & Planning: Simple tips for getting back to the basics.

Get the whole household involved in choosing the menu, shopping, preparing and cooking. With the right mindset, this can be a wonderful way to connect with the people you love and live with. Once you make meal prep and planning a part of your weekly routine, you will begin to see the benefits and you’ll figure out the way to do it that is best for you.

Remember, a little planning, organizing and patience (with the process and yourself) will go a long way.

Category: Information

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