Do you love the idea of a healthy, home-cooked meal, but only have time for takeout during the week? Effective meal planning is one of the keys to healthy eating. Smart planning means nutritious food will be available even when you’re very hungry and short on time.
We’ll save you time – and money – with these easy meal prep strategies.
Cook once, eat twice
Or even three times! Making a pan of chicken for the week? Use different seasonings for variety. Simply section each area off with aluminum foil to keep the flavors from mixing.
Prep your produce
When you get home from the store, wash, chop, and store your fresh produce. Everything will be readily available when you’re ready to eat.
Portion out snacks
Don’t mindlessly munch from the bag of tortilla chips. Portion out snacks for the week into baggies or containers.
Roast your veggies
Roast a few trays of veggies at the same time you cook your chicken. Each pan should have vegetables that take the same amount of time to cook for maximum efficiency.
Make smoothie packs
Gather up smoothie ingredients and freeze them in marked baggies. For extra protein, freeze Greek yogurt in ice cube trays then add them to the smoothie packs.
Freeze your smoothie
Blend up a batch of your favorite smoothie, pour into a clean muffin tin and freeze it. Then when you’re on the go, toss two or three of these “pucks” into the blender for a quick breakfast or snack.
Make your own quick energy bites
Protein based snacks keep you full, but pre-packaged energy bars can be expensive and full of sugar. Make a quick batch of energy bites and grab one or two when you need a quick snack.
Freeze your whole grains
Make a large batch of your favorite whole grain, such as brown rice or quinoa. Set aside some grains for the week, then put the rest into portion sized freezer bags. You’ll have a serving ready in the freezer whenever you need it.
Overnight oatmeal jars
Oatmeal packets seem convenient and healthy, but most are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients. Add 1/2 cup of uncooked oats and stir in cinnamon, nuts, dried fruit, coconut, chia seeds or cacao nibs. Top with 3/4 cup milk of your choice, stir again, and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
Hard boil eggs without a pot
Eggs are perfect for meals or snacks but it’s hard to find a pot big enough to boil a bunch at once. Baking your eggs in a muffin tin for just 30 minutes results in a dozen expertly cooked hard-boiled eggs!
Keep snacks simple
Fruit, nuts, pre-cut veggies, string cheese, hummus, brown rice cakes, and hardboiled eggs are all simple and nutritious snack choices. Avoid packaged snacks with a long list of unfamiliar – and unhealthy – ingredients.