I’ve been talking to friends and clients a lot about meal prep lately. "Meal prepping" and "Batch cooking" are buzz words right now in the wellness industry, and with good reason. We all want to eat good, healthy food, but can’t find the time, or don’t know what to make. Meal Prep to the rescue!
While it's true that cooking can take more time and effort than eating out, the benefits of being in control of what goes in your body are really, really worth it. If you’re in the habit of eating a meal out or ordering takeout more than twice a week, I encourage you to commit to cooking more. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to take that much time. When you make your own food, you will consume less salt, less sugar, less additives, preservatives and dyes, and gain more nutrients, satisfaction, and connection to your food. You’ll most likely even save money, find more time in your day, and stay on track with your intended diet. It’s a win- win!
Here’s the basis of meal planning: Choose your meals and cook all the food you’re going to eat for the week ahead, all at once. Now, this is totally flexible, and of course, you can tailor it to you and your family’s needs. Maybe healthy breakfasts and lunches are under control, but you're tired after work and don't ever feel like cooking. Or maybe dinners are handled, but you tend to eat donuts at work and fast food for lunch (oh no!). Or maybe the next three days are really busy, so you need all meals for just those days. You can cook full meals and keep in the fridge or freezer, prep the separate ingredients and assemble later, or you could simply wash and chop all ingredients to save time later. Totally up to you and your needs.
Each week I look ahead to see what my schedule is like and I prepare accordingly. For example, this week I knew it would be warm out and my husband wanted to grill lots of veggies in the evenings, so I didn't need to prepare any full dinners. However, I’d be working from home in the afternoons, and didn’t want to spend too much time making lunch (but still wanted something really nutritious and tasty). So I focused on preparing food for lunches and snacks I could easily put together at home. As well as granola, because as you may have seen on my insta, it's a staple in my house.
So set aside a few hours, put on some music, grab an apron, and get cooking! Every week your menu may change and the specific ingredients will be different, but here is basic guideline I recommend following to get started.
Basic Meal Prep Ideas
Roast some root veggies, like sweet potatoes, beets & carrots. I like to roast with coconut oil, sea salt, black pepper and dried herbs.
Wash and chop fresh produce, like watermelon, carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers & kale. These can be snacks, added to salads, bowls & stir-fry's, either cooked or raw. You're more likely to eat fruits and veggies if they're already ready to go!
Cook your proteins, like chicken, hard-boiled eggs, tofu or tempeh, beans & lentils. Note: fish tastes better right when you cook it, but the good news is it cooks very fast.
Cook some grains, like brown or wild rice, quinoa or soba noodles.
Make any sauces, dips or dressings you'll need.
Here is a recipe that lends itself really well to prepping ahead of time. It can be heated quickly in a sautee pan, or enjoyed cold, so bonus points for versatility! If you choose gluten free noodles, this meal can be gluten free, vegan and without the edamame, soy free. Feel free to swap any other veggies to customize as you like.
Broccoli Sesame Noodle Salad
1 tbsp. coconut oil
8 oz. Buckwheat soba noodles or rice noodles (both are gluten free, but read labels carefully as many soba noodles are made with a blend of grains).
Make the sauce by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl, adding water as needed to create desired consistency. Store in a jar or other airtight container.
Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water, and drizzle with a little sesame oil if the noodles stick.
Wash and chop all the veggies. Heat the oil in a pan, and add the broccoli and mushrooms, cooking for about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage, and option to add the carrots, or leave them out if you prefer them raw. Cook for another two minutes, and add the edamame or chick peas, cooking just for another minute or two. Turn off heat and stir in carrots (if not added earlier) and top with green onions.
Now assemble as desired. Either combining the noodles, veggies and sauce all together, maybe into 4 containers so its portioned out and ready to go. Alternatively, you can keep the veggies, sauce and noodles each in their own container and assemble whenever you like. Enjoy!
1 head of broccoli, ends trimmed and chopped into bite size pieces (including the stalk)
2 large carrots, slice in half lengthwise, and sliced into half moons
1 cup sliced purple cabbage
1/2 cup edamame or other bean, such as chick peas
4 oz. shitake mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
2 green onions, sliced thin to add on top
1/3 cup tahini
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. chopped ginger
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 tsp. sesame oil
a few tbsp. water
If this sounds a little overwhelming, you're not sure what to cook or how to get started, don't worry! I offer meal plans and recipes customized to your specific health needs. This means you eat food that leaves you feeling satisfied and gives your body the nutrients it so desperately needs to function optimally, while eliminating any food triggers that may cause irritating symptoms like bloating, eczema or fatigue. If you're local, let's cook together and I'll show you some meal prep tricks! Contact me with any questions, and if you try meal prepping, let me know how it goes!