Meal prepping for your whole week doesn't have to be a challenge!
Successful meal prep revolves around having a plan. Trying to wing it could leave you floundering in the kitchen and put you right off.
How to write a meal plan
The keystone for meal prep is knowing what you want to make – keep it simple, yet healthy. When preparing a meal plan, choose meals which you have previously cooked and are well versed at. Your goal for a good meal is to create a combination of 1 Protein + 1 Starchy Carb + 1 Veg/Fresh Produce. Here are some general ideas:
- Carbs: Quinoa, Brown Rice, Sweet Potato, Lentils, Whole Wheat Pasta
- Protein: Chicken, Turkey, Meatballs, Lean Beef, Lamb, Salmon, Tuna, Eggs, Beans, Tofu
- Veggies: Broccoli, Green Beans, Brussel Sprouts, Snap Peas, Kale, Spinach, Salad, Crudites
If you need a little inspiration, grab a cookbook or search on the internet – there are countless recipes out there. Learning how to cook meals by repeating them will boost your confidence in the kitchen and help you become less reliant on shop-bought processed food. Once you make a start and get an idea of what works for you and your lifestyle, you can fine-tune the process as required, to fit your lifestyle and taste. After you put together your meal plan, write or type it out, and stick it to the refrigerator. It is important for your menu plan to stay visible.
Writing a shopping list
Once you have chosen your meals, begin mapping out your grocery list. It’s easiest to do this at the same time as the meal plan to ensure no ingredients are missed and reduce the need for last-minute trips to the supermarket. Over time, you will find your grocery shopping will become focused and intentional. There will be a lot more fresh produce and less processed goods. A good list is worth its weight in gold. You can make a copy of your master list i.e. core ingredients you use on a regular basis and reuse it weekly. Include healthy staples such as lean meats, fish, complex carbs like grains, brown rice, healthy fats such as avocado and of course plenty of colourful fruit and vegetables.
Preparation and cooking
What is batch cooking? Basically, it’s preparing most or all of your meals and snacks for the entire week on 1 day out of the week. Sunday is usually the most popular day to meal prep – it’s closest to Monday to keep your food fresh throughout the week, and it’s a weekend so most people are not working. It will take you around 2-4 hours to prepare all your food for the week but this will cut your cooking times dramatically during the week.
- Protein / Meat: Try and use the oven or slow cooker to cook in bulk if possible. Cooking multiple dishes at the same time will also reduce your gas/electric bills and whilst it cooks you’ve got heaps of time to prep other food.
- Carbs: If it’s rice, pasta, potatoes etc then get this cooking asap, use a timer like a rice cooker if possible. Others may be easier to cook on the day but there is nothing better than cold roast potatoes!
- Veg: Wash, Cut and Season. Cook in steamer (to retain nutrients or blanch in pan of water (ensure you keep the water as you’ve accidentally just made vegetable stock so use this in any soup dishes/sauces etc). If not cooking then pat your veg dry and store in a container for cooking or eating later on. The key is to ensure that they are completely dry before you store them. If you store them wet, they will spoil much faster. Veggies with a higher water content like peppers will not store as long as something like beetroot. But they should last you 5 days without any problems.
Experts say that it takes 3 weeks to form a habit. If your first attempt hasn’t been successful don’t throw in the towel. You should adapt and savour success. Igluu can help you to achieve your fitness goals and provide you with the tools to start your journey to a healthier lifestyle. Our products are available to buy on our website here or on Amazon here.