If you’ve ever tried meal prep, you know how great it is during a hectic week. If you don’t make the time to prepare easy, nutritious meal options, you are often forced into making less healthy choices. It happens to me every.single.time. If I don’t find a way to prep for the week…..I almost always pick up some awful little thing to chew on….
If you don’t pack a lunch, you often reach for the vending machine or fast food, and in the evening, the take out or pizza often seem like the easiest way to go.
That’s why we basically belong to the church of meal prep. This Sunday ritual is what keeps us going the rest of the week, and our faith in its power to keep you healthy through the week is strong. Can you believe I worked religion into this?????
But there is a downside: meal prep can be time consuming. And, you do need all of those containers.
If you don’t particularly enjoy spending time in the kitchen and cooking, it can be a complete burden. After all, we just want to chill out on the weekends – not work more.
That’s why getting things done efficiently and effectively is the best away to stay consistent with meal prep, and perhaps, with these clever meal prep tips and tricks, you might even start to like it.
1. KEEP IT SIMPLE.
Like, super simple. You might be checking out some people’s Instagram posts showing off their meal prep fabulous-ness (it’s a word, right?) and thinking you need to live up to this standard. MEMO: there is no tiara given for driving yourself nuts doing this. The only goal here is to make enough healthy food to fuel you, and it doesn’t have to be much.
Moreover, if you’re perusing Pinterest for recipes and trying to build your grocery list around it, you’re going to end up spending tons of dough, and spending a LOT of time working through unfamiliar recipes in the kitchen. Don’t we ALL remember the first time we tried anything by Martha Steward???!!!! Days of prepping and cooking and burning……
Simplicity is defined by you. What do you know how to cook, and what do you enjoy eating? Think of a few things and start there. Most of the time, I just pick a few protein options and a few veggie options and think of what’s going to pair up well with those things.
2. USE THE SHEET PAN METHOD
You can cook nearly any vegetable or cut of meat this way, and it’s pretty hands-off. Plus, you can cook a few dishes at once if you organize the pans correctly and have varying sizes.
For example, if you can fit 3-4 pans (here) into the oven, toss a few salmon filets in one, a big batch of veggies you enjoy roasted together on another, and some fajitas on another.
You can even make sheet pan eggs. There, you have 2-3 protein dishes and 2-3 veggie dishes done. They might cook at varying times, but just be mindful of it and take them out/rotate when necessary.
When one dish is done, you can start another if you have more to cook. It’s like an assembly line, only it’s just you and the oven.
This method is going to make you feel like you’re cheating, and it’s a super easy way to get a lot done in a little time. While your food is baking, you can start additional prep or cook on the stove top.
3. HARD BOIL EGGS IN THE OVEN – NOT IN A POT!
An excellent source of protein, vitamins A and B and healthy fat, eggs should be a staple snack for any health fiend. The problem: You can usually only fit up to five eggs in a pot. To make a delicious dozen in one go, bake your eggs in muffin tins for just 30 minutes. Ta-da! You’ll get a perfectly hard-boiled batch. Pro tip: Do a small test run first to ensure your oven doesn’t run too hot or too cold before cooking a full pan of eggs.
4. MAKE SMOOTHIES IN MUFFIN TINS.
Never have the time to measure out a million fixings for a morning sip? Save time by buying the ingredients in bulk, blending your favorite beverage, and then freezing the mixture in muffin tins. Next time you need a shake, stat, toss two or three “smoothie cups” in a blender for a quick and easy breakfast. Pro tip: Upgrade to a high-powered blender (another option: Ninja Pro!) to blend frozen foods with ease.
5. SPIRALIZE OR DICE VEGGIES IN ADVANCE.
Too hangry to make dinner at the end of a long day? Cut veggies in bulk ahead of time to avoid wasting precious minutes chopping on busy weeknights. You can make this step a breeze with a simple Spiralizer (around $30 apiece). Zucchini noodles (“zoodles”) and butternut squash noodles will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days, and chopped vegetables like carrots, onion and pepper will last a week when refrigerated properly in a sealed plastic bag or container.
6. MAKE IT CRYSTAL CLEAR.
Control portions – don’t fall into overeating by portioning your nuts, pretzels, veggies or favorite nibbles into plastic baggies or portable jars. It’s easy to mindlessly munch when you’ve got an entire bag sitting in front of you, but having just enough ready to go for lunch or a snack will keep you from going overboard. The jars pictured above are the Blender Bottle Go Stack Twist ‘N Lock.
DO YOU USE ANY OF THESE TRICKS? ARE THEY TIME-SAVING FOR YOU? HAVE ANY WE CAN INCLUDE ON OUR SITE? PLEASE LET ME KNOW.