We often hear people saying that they want to eat clean and healthy food but they just don’t find the time to prepare the same which in turn leads to eating take-out or calorie-dense junk foods. It is often a hassle for people to juggle between their work life and planning and preparing healthy meals. Wouldn’t it make life easier to come home after a long day of work and have little or nothing to do to prepare your meal and enjoy it fully, when all your food prep is done and you just have to heat it up and viola! Meal prep is not as time-consuming or difficult, however, with the right kind of planning, it can be quite easy and a fun experience.
Here are some useful tips that not only people with busy schedules, but anyone in general can adopt and plan healthy, nutritious meals for their week.
Meal- prep day- The first step would be to plan a day in the week wherein you sit down and take inventory of the groceries and ingredients available at hand and plan the things you would like to make for the week. You can curate healthy recipes or meals and save the ones you like the most, creating your own weekly or monthly menu that fits right into your regular eating patterns which makes grocery shopping easy. Subsequently, you are not inclined to buy unnecessary food items or last-minute shopping and are more likely to choose the healthier alternative. Meal prep can be done every other day, weekly, every 15 days or monthly as per your convenience.
One size does not fit all Every individual is different and so is the food requirements, cooking abilities, personal health goals, availability of food, and work schedules, etc. Meal prep is supposed to be an individualized approach since there is no absolute correct method to follow. The meal prep should cater to individual and family needs and be modified accordingly.
Plan for Versatile Foods- While preparing a meal, an easy and practical tip would be to select food ingredients that can be used in the majority of dishes. For example, beans like chickpeas, and kidney beans (rajma) can be used in salads, and rice preparations like pulao, and wraps and can be eaten as a standalone as well. This provides you with a variety of dishes that can be rotated as per your preferences.
Storage- While planning meals, it is important to consider the shelf-life, refrigeration and freezing of foods to make a practical and doable meal planning. Highly perishable foods should be kept at the forefront to avoid spoilage and wastage of food. Labelling food containers can help keep track of usage and rotate ingredients accordingly. Meals that require chopping and cutting of vegetables can be done prior and stored in air-tight containers and refrigerated for 2-3 days until required. This saves a lot of time while cooking.
Batch cooking- Cooking in batches is helpful when preparing foods that you regularly consume which you can combine with other recipes, for example, roasted chicken with quinoa and stir-fried veggies. During meal-prepping, it is important to choose a variety of ingredients which also take care of the nutrition part. A healthy meal-prep should include adequate carbohydrates like whole grains, millet, legumes and protein.
Meal prep has many benefits-
- Saves time
- It is economical
- It is healthy and nutritious since the pre-planning of meals is involved
- Helps in portion control
- Avoid last-minute meal planning and rushed preparations
Meal prep is one of the keys to starting your journey towards good health as it prevents eating out or indulging in unhealthy food. Meal prep does not have to be perfect. It is about finding what works best for you and taking those small steps to reach your goals.
Shared by : Azhar Ali Sayed