With the New Year in full swing, it’s the perfect time to implement some new, healthy habits. Rather than jump on a juice cleanse or a crazy restrictive diet, why not spend your time and efforts meal prepping? As a Holistic Nutritionist, I know this is one of the most impactful habits you can implement because once that healthy food is made and waiting for you in the fridge, you are WAY more likely to eat it. This helps keep you on track when the week gets busy!
Here are five tips to meal prep like a pro
1. Pre-portion your smoothie ingredients
You probably already know that smoothies are a super fast way to get a ton of nutrition into your breakfast. They really only take five minutes to begin with, but on a crazy Monday morning, that can still feel like too long! One way to save time is to pre-portion out your ingredients in advance. Portion out your dry smoothie ingredients (everything that goes into your smoothie including the greens, the powders and the fruit, EXCEPT for the liquid) into little bags or Tupperware and store them in the freezer. Then, when you want your smoothie, simply grab one bag from the freezer and dump all of the ingredients into your blender, add liquid and blend!
Almost every smoothie I make has fermented vegan proteins+ in vanilla to balance my blood sugar and fermented organic gut superfoods+ in orange ginger to help feed the good bacteria in my gut!
2. Be strategic about the order you cook your meals
Whenever I cook, I try to make multiple recipes at once. If I’m going to be in the kitchen already, I might as well make the most of it, and then take a night off cooking the next night.
Here’s the thing though, I don’t cook one recipe from start to finish and then move on to the next; rather, I look at everything I want to make and often cook parts of multiple recipes at the same time. It’s way faster to do it this way!
Let’s say I am making some egg muffins for a snack and baking some chicken. They both require 350F, so I’ll prep both of them and get them cooking at the same time. Or, if I’m cooking something like spaghetti squash that takes 40 minutes to bake, I’ll get that going before I start everything so that it’s not a bottleneck.
My general rule of thumb is to start with whatever requires the hottest temperature or the longest cook time and get that going. Work your way down to whatever doesn’t need cooking (like a salad dressing or assembling a salad).
3. Bulk cook the basics & switch up the sauce
Meal planning doesn’t have to mean fancy, difficult recipes. You can just make a large batch of the basics on a Sunday, like chicken or salmon, lentils, roasted vegetables and quinoa or yams. Then, each day you can either add one side dish recipe or a new sauce or dressing to the leftovers. That way it feels like a different meal, but you’re only spending 10-15 minutes in the kitchen each night during the week.
4. Shop with a grocery list
If you’ve ever shown up to the grocery store without a list you know it’s the least productive way to shop. I always recommend you go with a list as it will save you time and money as you’ll only buy EXACTLY what you need.
5. Have a nutritionist send you a meal plan
This one is the best way to save time meal planning and something I can do for you! Each week, I take the time to plan out your recipes (and ensure there’s a proper balance of protein, fat and carbs), create a grocery list organized by section of the grocery store and you simply do the shop and cook! The meal plans have a focus on 30 minute meals and crockpot meals – you definitely don’t need to be a chef to make these recipes, but they taste delicious! Learn more about the HEAL Weekly Meal Planning Program.