Let’s make eating well – for you and your family – as easy as possible. Simplify by using meal prepping.
You probably already know the best things to do in order to make eating right as easy as possible:
- Shop on the edges of the grocery store, where all the one-ingredient foods are (not the center aisles with the pre-packaged, ingredients-you-can-hardly-pronounce foods)
- Eat mostly plants.
- Don’t keep foods in the house that are generally less healthy for you (eg, potato chips, candy, etc.)
- DO keep easy-to-grab healthy snacks in the refrigerator
- Buy pre-cut fruits and veggies if you know that’s the only way you’ll find/make time to prepare them
- Keep your “healthy staple foods” fully stocked like: quinoa, brown rice, frozen vegetables, healthy meats and eggs, olive oil, tasty spices, apples, lemons, whole wheat wraps…
- Prepare extra portions of healthy meals, so they are easy to grab-and-go on busy days
So What Is Meal Prepping?
Never heard of meal prepping? Well, it’s basically scheduling and making meals ahead of time. You can prepare a whole week ahead or a few days at a time depending on how busy your are. It helps save you time in the long run and helps you keep up with a healthy diet. Think about it: If you have pre-made lunches, you’re not going to order in fast food or hit the vending machine.
I’m not going to lie to you, though. Meal prepping can be tough to do, but it is well worth the effort. And like anything, once you get into the habit, it will get easier and easier to do. For example, you’ll spend Sunday afternoon shopping, cooking, and packing all of your meals for the rest of the week. You might “waste” a Sunday afternoon, but you’ll save time and money throughout the rest of the week by not having to think about what you’re going to eat and then take the time to make it when you get home from work. Or worse, go out to eat and spend money on food that you have little control of how it’s made.
The most important benefit that meal prepping gives you is control. Control of what you eat, control of how it’s made, and control of how much you eat. Unhealthy temptations should be lessened since you can pick your favorite healthy foods to eat. You’ll know the food is fresh. And you get to decide the portion size and not allow yourself to overeat.
A Little Help To Get Started
Now here are a few simple recipes you can try to simplify even more. They are great for either lunch or dinner on the go. There are many other options out there. Try the recipes here as well if you’re looking for more ideas!
Burrito bowl. Set out at least 4 lunch containers and put the following in each:
- Brown and season turkey taco meat
- Add some chopped onion
- Toss in some salsa and sliced cherry tomatoes
- Maybe add a couple spoonfuls of corn
Set aside a separate container for guacamole if you can bring it fresh each day
DIY Pizza lunchables. Set out at least 4 lunch containers and put the following in each:
- Slice up whole wheat pita into smaller hand-held pieces.
- Put small containers of margherita sauce in each lunch container
- Include a small container of low-fat mozzarella cheese
- Slice up your favorite pizza toppers – like onions or mushrooms – and include those in the container
Just sprinkle the cheese and toppers into the margherita sauce, then dip the pita in to scoop it out. Include some easy fruit like grapes or cherries, and maybe a handful of almonds for a balanced meal.
Overnight Oatmeal. This is becoming more popular for a quick breakfast. You may need to adjust the ingredients so you get the texture you prefer. Put the ingredients inside a mason jar – or something similar – shake it up, and screw on the top. The oats should be ready for you the next morning!
- ⅔ cup of quick cooking steel-cut oats
- ⅔ cup of 2% cottage cheese or Greek yogurt
- 1 cup of low-fat milk or almond milk
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- ¼ t vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
You can also experiment with other optional additions: mashed banana; a little cocoa powder; peanut or almond butter; blueberries; etc. Personal favorite of mine is blueberries and strawberries with Greek yogurt and milk.
Quiche bites. These little “muffins” don’t take long to prepare, but are full of protein and very tasty!
- Preheat oven to 350
- Crack 6 eggs into a bowl and beat till mixed (you can substitute 3 egg whites instead, if you prefer)
- Dice your favorite veggies into a small bowl – carrots, peppers, broccoli, etc. – and mix into the beaten eggs
- Add 2 T of almond milk
- Spray muffin tins (either mini muffins, or big muffins)
- Ladle the mix into the cups and bake for 10-12 minutes.
- If you want a little added crunch, put whole-grain cereal on top – like Chex or Cheerios – or cut up Ezekiel bread – and bake for another 2 minutes
I’m sure you can come up with some tasty, easy recipes like this that you and your kids will love, and that will provide you with meals-to-go that are healthy.
Of course, eating right is just 1 part of what makes for a healthy lifestyle, but it’s also one of the most important. I’d love to have the chance to speak with you about what you’re already doing well – to encourage you and help you keep it up – and see if there are some other simple ways to improve your health and fitness. Feel free to join our Community Facebook group, Fort Wayne Road to Healthy, for more tips, support, and motivation.
About the Author:
Hi, I’m Josh Davidson, owner of Personal Training Institute of Fort Wayne. I have been involved in health and fitness for over 7 years. I would love to help you start living a healthy lifestyle. You can learn more about my staff and I as well as what we do by calling 260-338-2022 or visiting our website here. If you’re looking to start on your fitness journey, sign up for a free consultation and workout today!