* Cover photo credit Green Healthy Eating
Meal prep doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. Your meals for the week can be as creative or as simple as you want and the most successful prep usually keeps meals to five ingredients or less! However, it’s easy to forget healthy eating habits if cooking seems like a chore or when life just gets a little too busy, so how do we make sure we have well rounded meals without spending hours planning & prepping? We’re going to share some tips with you, but first it’s important to understand what our meals should contain in order to keep our bodies happy and healthy.
What makes a full meal?
Protein: Chicken, Bison, Ground Beef, Fish, Turkey, Etc.
Veggie: Broccoli, Brussels, Peppers, Asparagus, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Etc.
Carb: Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Regular Potatoes, Oats, Pasta, Fruit (yes, fruit is considered a carb), and starchy veggies such as Butternut Squash, Spaghetti squash, Carrots, etc.
Fat: Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Etc
Having at least one thing from each of these sections in each meal will help to ensure that our bodies will have all the nutrients it needs
* Credit Laurie Christine King
So, how do we make this quick and easy?
Go to the grocery store and buy a few things from each “section” that makes up a meal. Note that you can often save prep time by purchasing pre-cut, pre-cooked, etc that might be found in a deli or frozen section – just be sure to check ingredients lists to make sure it doesn’t include anything else other than the raw ingredient!
Here’s an example of a weekly grocery trip:
- Egg whites
- Green Beans
- Brown Rice
- Sweet Potatoes
- Olive Oil
- Nut Butter of choice
With these ingredients, you have all that you need to make balanced meals for the week
Breakfast: Combine egg whites with peppers and bake for a delicious egg souffle.
- This doesn’t take much time at all. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a glass dish (be sure to spray with a non-stick spray) combine your egg whites with your veggies and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Slice souffle into the number of servings you need. You can easily tweak this for your individual macro goals by including whole eggs in lieu of egg whites (more fats), adding carbs (potatoes baked with the eggs add carbs), and infinite other variations.
Lunch: Shredded chicken with sweet potatoes and asparagus
- Throw the chicken in the crockpot with a little broth and some seasoning. Allow to slow cook throughout the day. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop sweet potatoes into chunks, drizzle with oil of choice. Spread on pan and bake for 20 minutes or until soft. Chop asparagus and drizzle with a little oil of your choice. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until soft or stems are slightly browned (if you are short of time, most stores have precut veggies and potatoes). Sweet potatoes a little heavy on the carbs for you at lunch? Substitute a salad with a simple dressing of olive oil & balsamic vinegar or even a veggie based noodle like zucchini spirals or cauliflower rice which sauté in very short time!
Snack: overnight oats
- Add old fashioned oats in a bowl with a little water or almond milk (just enough to cover the oats) let sit refrigerated overnight. The oats should soak up the liquid. The next day add your toppings. Try things like stevia, berries, nut butters, nuts, vanilla, even chocolate chips if you manage the servings and macronutrient load!
Dinner: Ground Bison with rice and green beans
- A quick toss in the fry pan for the bison, it should only take about 10-15 minutes to cook. While waiting on this you can throw the rice into the rice cooker and the green beans into the instant pot to steam. Once rice is done, top it with bison and add your green beans on the side. No instant pot or rice cooker? No problem! Most stores now have steamer bags of green beans so all you have to do is toss these in the microwave as well as minute cups of rice. These really help when meal prep needs to be minimal for the day.
Prepping in BULK
While some people enjoy having everything sorted into their rightful containers for the week, not everyone has the time to do this. You can also prep all your proteins, carbs and veggies in bulk and leave them in larger containers until you are ready to use them for the week. This also allows you to be able to mix and match your meals if you would like :)
As always, if you need help with your nutrition or have any questions, talk with us next time you're in the gym, or email us firstname.lastname@example.org