A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish
If you are reading this, we can guess that, like each of us, you have already made it your goal to improve your health and longevity. And, a healthy diet and regular exercise are probably key components of your plan to achieve those goals. But, as we head into that time of year when things become hectic, we realize that executing those plans becomes more difficult. That’s why we are such big fans of meal prep. Not only is it critical for healthy eating, with the help of our very connected community, it is also relatively easy to do. Now that’s a plan worth executing!
Most nutritionists and dietitians are big fans of meal prep because it helps us avoid impulsively ordering or eating meals that are not as healthy as those we might plan and prepare in advance. As Beth Warren, R.D.N., founder of Beth Warren Nutrition, explains: “One of the biggest barriers against wanting to live a healthier lifestyle is the lack of preparation. [Meal prep] can definitely help people commit to eating healthier because it will already be done.” Here are what we think are some of the best tips that can help you meal prep your way to achieving your healthy-eating goals:
1. Chart Your Course. Whether you do it by hand or via an excel spreadsheet, create a chart of your weekly eating. After all, it’s always easier to stay on track when you actually have a track to stay on! It is also immensely helpful at the grocery store so that you purchase only what is needed. Here is one example of a balanced meal plan grid. Remember to: a) account for your social plans for the week (for example, your weekends may not be filled out); b) understand that one meal (for example, one of our delicious bone broths with a protein and carb add in) may satisfy all your nutritional goals for the meal; and c) select ingredients that are versatile and can be used in a variety of meals ( do not aim for meals with entirely different ingredients each day).
2. Stock up on Air Tight Containers, Make a List and Head to the Grocery Store. If you need them, purchase appropriate air tight, freezer safe single serving containers for your meal (see further tips and some examples below). Are you a one compartment or multi-compartment eco-friendly container user? Or, do you prefer to pack your meals in mason jars? Make a grocery list directly from your weekly chart and head to the grocery store to pick up all your ingredients in one trip.
3. Prep in One Day. Pick a prep day (we like Sundays) and prepare all your food at once. Even if certain parts of the meal have different cooking times, try starting them all at once and then set them aside and pack them after the entire meal is completed. And, if preparing your entire meal plan for the week just seems too overwhelming right now, consider prepping only your proteins in advance. Then, you can switch it up with easy to prepare veggie or carb add-ons every night.
4. Store Food in the Appropriate Containers. Portion controlled eco friendly glass or plastic containers are great to control your meal size and to keep your foods separated (ex, your chicken, cucumber salad and hummus lunch). While prepping a salad in advance is difficult (as salads tend to get soggy fast), it can be done if the salad is prepped for an early week consumption and is layered properly (for ex, use a glass mason jar and separate by individual portions, placing your salad into the jar in reverse order with all the wet ingredients and strong veggies on the bottom and the lettuce on top) (example below).
5. Freeze Most of Your Meals. Because most meals last in your fridge for 3 to 4 days, many dietitians recommend that you store most of your prepared meals in the freezer and you defrost them when you need them. Even whole grains like brown rice and quinoa can be cooked and frozen in freezer safe containers.
6. Blanch Your Veggies. One tip to extending the freshness of your veggies is to blanch them (plunge them into hot and then cold water). This helps destroy enzymes that cause your veggies to spoil quickly.
7. Need Inspiration? Turn to Social Media. If you have hit a block when it comes to meal prep, turn to social media where people are regularly posting their simple weekly meal prep ideas. Here are a just a few ideas from Instagram and one of our very own. With so much information and inspiration readily available, there really is no reason not to get on board the meal prep train!
Whether or not you are following a paleo diet, this colorful concoction combines baby spinach, bell peppers, a hard-boiled egg and mini turkey meatballs in durable glass containers.
In a word: YUM!
Don’t forget the fruit. Eat plain or add our Energize soothe or either of our alkalized waters for an incredible blended breakfast.
@marciacal01: Who wouldn’t eat salads every day when you see this in your fridge?
Soupure’s own bone broth and stir-ins packaged in a mason jar for convenient use. A multitude of bone broth varieties can be pre-made for today or later this week!