“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail,” or whatever it is that your Dad/math teacher/overly enthusiastic uncle who watches too many conspiracy theories documentaries always used to say. They did have a point, though.
Meal prep is a vital component to living a healthy and nutrient-rich life. But prepping for the week ahead can be a bit of a daunting task, especially for those of us trying to stay hydrated, make it to the gym, reply to texts, reduce our carbon footprint, maintain relationships and still work full-time jobs. Where are we supposed to find the time in all the madness?
While we haven’t yet created an effective time machine (seriously though, scientists, where are we with that?), in the long run, meal prep actually does save us time – and money too! With meals already prepared ahead of time, we’re less likely to be tempted to eat out. As much as all of us hate to admit it, meal prep just makes sense.
You don’t have to be a professional chef to get it right. Nor do you have to spend hours at a time slaving away in the kitchen chopping up veggies (thanks to stores like Trader Joe’s and their pre-cut produce!). All you’ve got to do is follow a few simple rules by GOFA, and you’ll be all set!
Start with a plan
Before you even think about recreating that dish from Whole Foods that you love so much, take some time to plan some meals for the week and then make shopping lists of what you’ll need for each one. If you’re only just starting out, choose just two or three recipes per week so that you don’t feel overwhelmed with all the different ingredients but, at the same time, will have some variety to keep mealtimes exciting.
Keep it simple
Some of the healthiest meals are the simplest ones, like roast chicken and veg, or wholegrain pasta with slow-cooked protein and veggies, or this nourishing Buddha bowl. These recipes are easy to follow and need just four or five ingredients to make.
If, like us, your favorite time of the day is snack time, consider simple treats like these choc chip oat bars or chia seeds soaked in almond milk and topped with mango and coconut. Chopped-up fruit like berries and kiwi, as well as hard-boiled eggs, a handful of raw nuts, and hummus with veggie sticks, all make for excellent snack time solutions. Your lunchbox never has to be boring again.
Stick to your budget
One of the biggest excuses that so many of us use for not following through on our nutritional plans is because they’re too expensive to keep up with. Well, we’re here to tell you that you don’t actually need to spend top dollar on eating healthy, delicious foods if you can’t afford them. Stay away from organic, grass-fed produce and invest in staples like eggs, chickpeas, seasonal fruits, and eggs. Basic ingredients like these will go a long way in keeping your meal prep simple.
Keep your food looking good
We eat first with our eyes, so making sure that your home-prepped food looks good will keep you motivated to continue prepping and planning your meals. Store things like salads in mason jars to keep everything crisp. All you need to do is put some dressing at the bottom before layering everything else on top. No more soggy salads for you!
A Sunday well spent brings a week of content
Sundays are the perfect day to plan, prep, and fill your fridge for the week ahead. Try and get a few items going at once. For example, once your chicken is roasting away, start soaking the rice or chopping up the veggies you need for another recipe. Knowing that you’ve dedicated time on a Sunday for the week ahead is all you need to help you stay content and on track to smash your wellness goals.