“Food Prep” is planning, cooking, and preparing your meals and snacks for the upcoming week. It is best to set aside a few hours on the weekend (or when you have the most time) to do your grocery shopping and then prepare your food. Refer to the Grocery List and the Shopping Tips to help you on what foods to buy and the best places to shop.
Why should you “Food Prep?” Well…have you ever…:
- Ran out of the house without having breakfast?
- Been at work, starving because you don’t have a snack?
- Succumbed to the office “snack foods” because you didn’t bring anything?
- Had to grab last minute, unhealthy take-out lunch?
- Arrive home, exhausted and hungry, and realize there is “nothing” for dinner?
You have probably heard it before…
When you fail to plan…you plan to FAIL 🙁
By having healthy food in the house and your meals all set, you will make better choices overall. There is no guessing and no snack attacks. It is a HUGE time saver, and saves you the stress and energy of cooking every single day! The more prepared you are, the more likely you will succeed!
Tips on Food Prep:
- Decide what meals and snacks you want to make for the week (Refer to the Grocery List, Shopping Tips, and Meal Planning for help). Focus on “Staple Foods” that can be used in many meals in different forms. Choose at least 2 protein and carbohydrate sources (“Staple Foods”) for the week, and don’t forget about fruits and vegetables to go with them! Examples of Staple Foods: Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, Fish fillets (tilapia, salmon, etc-frozen or fresh), Lean ground turkey meat, brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta. All of the foods on the Grocery List would be considered a Staple Food!
- Go to the grocery store with your list and pick up all your healthy foods . Make sure your kitchen is fully stocked with everything you need. The worst is when you’re in the middle of cooking and realize you are missing ingredients!
- Make sure you are stocked up on tupperware to-go containers and have a cooler! That way you are able to take your meals and snacks to go with ease 🙂
- Once you’re home, write out your plan and start cooking! This is when you decide how much you want to make. Personally, I like to cook between 2 and 3 protein sources, 2 carbohydrates, my vegetables, and 2-3 baked goods. This might seem like a lot, but remember, this will last me the whole week! A sample week would be:
-Baked/Grilled Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
-Zucchini Turkey Burgers
-Grilled Seasoned Tilapia Fillets
-Whole wheat pasta
-Grilled asparagus, zucchini, and broccoli
-Baked Protein Bars
Some more ideas:
Breakfasts/Snacks: Hard boiled eggs, protein muffins, protein pancakes, crustless egg quiche, baked french toast
Lunch: Cold chicken/tuna salads, wheat wraps/soft tacos, burrito bowls, zucchini burgers
Dinner: Baked chicken/fish/red meat with rice or pasta, turkey chili, etc.
- Prepare your protein sources in different fashions. Most people want variety! My Tip: Prepare half of your protein with a specific “flavor” or way to complement a certain dish, and leave the other half with a more general “seasoning”. For example, when I buy my chicken, I might prepare half a certain way (like stuffed with Spinach and Feta) while leaving the other half with Mrs. Dash Table Blend/Garlic Herb seasonings. That way, I can use the Mrs. Dash chicken on salads, sandwiches, wraps, with brown rice or pasta, etc. and change up the condiments I use. Then I am not be limited to the same stuffed chicken breast for every meal.
- Meals don’t have to be complex and time-consuming! Multi-task; have protein bars and chicken baking in the oven while you are washing and cutting your veggies to be grilled.
- Store your foods in containers that are either clear or that you can label. I personally like to keep all of my foods separate until I go to pack my meals for the following day. Then I can mix and match depending on my schedule and preference. One day I might choose to have fish and veggies over brown rice; the next I might have tilapia fish tacos with a whole wheat tortilla. Keeping different options is key!
- Decide on a “Cut-Off” Day: this is the time of the week when the food needs to be eaten…or put in the freezer! My personal day is Thursday 🙂 Don’t let your food go to waste! Put your prepared meals in the freezer for the following days or weeks…This is great when you just want to have a meal ready in less than 5 minutes. Reheat for a few minutes and you’ve got dinner!
- If you don’t like the thought of leftovers, or you enjoy cooking something different every night, try just keeping a few ready made items. Baked/Grilled chicken breasts and baked protein bars would be my top 2 choices. The bars are great for on the go snacks, and chicken goes great with almost any meal or dish!
I hope these tips are helpful and your Sunday Funday Food Prep is a success 🙂