Meal preparation that is both efficient and healthy is not just for the fitness-crazed and the supermoms. With a little bit of planning, you’ll be able to create a rotation of nutritious, balanced meals that will save you time and leave you satisfied every day of the week. This is a process that will become second nature to you with time, but for now, take it step-by-step.
1. Start With Your Choice Of Tools
Before you get into the cooking and container-packing, you need to make sure you have all the right items to prepare your food with. Many underestimate just how beneficial using quality cookware is for preparing healthier meals. Make sure your pots and pans are large enough to accommodate batch cooking and are made from quality materials so that they are non-toxic and durable. This also applies when buying containers. You’ll be reusing them frequently, so you may want to forego the cheapest, plastic option for something more hard-wearing.
2. Spotlight Fresh and Bulk Ingredients On Your Shopping List
Once you have your cookware and containers sorted, it’s time to plan your meals. To make the meal preparation process as effortless as possible, consider scheduling your trip to the grocery store so that it part of a regular routine. This way you’ll be less tempted to make unhealthy purchases or spend extra money.
Bulk buying doesn’t exclusively refer to canned and non-perishable items. You’re likely stocking up for a week of work/school meals, not a bomb shelter. So, with your ingredients, aim for fresh produce and stick as close as you can to buying whole foods. This means unrefined, unbleached whole grains like brown rice and wholegrain pasta over the white stuff and swapping pre-made sauces for fresh, whole tomatoes instead. Remember that leftovers can always be frozen.
3. Balance Your Meal Into These Three Portions
Forget the complex food maps, calorie-counting, and restrictive diets. There is a simple way to build a balanced meal without researching the nutritional contents of every ingredient you ever use. All you need to include are three base items; protein, carbs, and vegetables. There are countless options for each, so choose the ingredients you enjoy most. In terms of sizes, vegetables should make up half your meal, while each of the other items takes up a third of your plate (or lunchbox).
4. Go For The One-Pot Solution
Aside from being considered a cozy and hearty choice, one-pot (or one-pan) meals are very practical and minimal-hassle. This makes them absolutely perfect for meal preparation, especially if you are strapped for time. Some popular options include meals like stir-fry, pasta, baked meals, and salads. As long as you have adequate cookware and pay attention to your portions based on point number 3, these meals can be great, healthy options regardless of whether you are living solo or part of a large family.
5. Plan Your Snacks
While creating fresh and nutritious meals is an excellent step towards better wellbeing, your progress can easily come undone if you find yourself falling for enticing sugary or fatty snacks every so often. To combat this, make sure you account for snacks when meal prepping also. From putting together your own trail mix of your favorite seeds and nuts to making your own muesli bars, there are plenty of easy, healthy snack ideas to curb any junk food cravings and keep you satisfied.
These are just the stepping stones to making meal preparation a part of your lifestyle. Now, the rest is up to you and your actions!