People always ask me how to plan out their meals in order to ensure healthy choices throughout the day and week. Let's face it, we ALL have busy lives. I've actually tried to not use the word "busy" lately, because in reality, I do make time for things that are important to me, like working out, reading, spending time with my husband, and cooking! Meal planning is important to me because when I know I have healthy food at home, I eat healthy food! #duh
Meal planning has become a weekly priority for me, but I know that luxury is not possible for everyone! And trust me, not all meal prep is making gourmet meals from scratch! Sometimes, I just scan my kitchen (ahem freezer) and create some random, healthy food that will keep my hubby and I fed and happy until our next meal. SO! Here are 5 of my easy meal prep tips!
1. Don't overthink it!
Sometimes, we complicate our lives by thinking too much. When you are meal planning and prepping and don't have much time to devote to it, think quick and easy meals that hit all the food groups. My go-to meals are lean protein, veggies, and some kind of healthy carb. So that can either be grilled chicken with rice and salad, or ground beef patties with roasted sweet potatoes and green beans, or tuna salad with some veggies and crackers! Anything goes, as long as it covers those food groups: lean protein, veggies, and a healthy carb.
Shakeology has been a life-saver for me, especially since starting my new job as a renal dietitian. Sometimes, I have to be at work as early as 6am, and it has been SO easy to whip up a shake on my way out the door. I also have been making my shakes mid-morning at work as a snack if I take my magic bullet with me. The best part? I KNOW that I am getting a healthy dose of good nutrition and a ton of superfoods no matter what else may happen the rest of the day.
3. Freezer food to the rescue!
Don't knock freezer food, it can actually rescue your meal prep woes! I always keep a huge bag of frozen veggies in my freezer, as well as frozen grass fed beef, ground turkey, and chicken breasts. I also like to have frozen berries on hand to top my oatmeal with. I will also freeze leftovers, like this lentils and brown rice dish I made a month ago! I froze whatever was left, and it helped me when I was in a food emergency last week!
Freezer food can really help you when you are in a bind! Defrost a meal or some meat, cook it up, add some veggies and some seasonings and you are good to go!
4. Think greens/veggies.
What I always make sure to have on hand is vegetables, whether fresh or frozen. It's so easy to whip up a quick salad, or add some steamed veggies as a side dish (see above!) You can even dip some veggies in hummus as a quick, delicious, and filling snack! Greens are SO nutritious and keep us full, plus they are so pretty to look at when you stare at your plate! The greens/veggies I love are spinach, kale, arugula, cucumbers, broccoli, carrots, and sugar snap peas!
5. Have your essentials always on hand!
One of the most popular recipes on my blog has been my spicy sausage and taters dish. Here is the link in case you haven't tried it yet!
This is seriously one of the easiest meals to whip up, plus it tastes amazing! It is so versatile too: you can have it with eggs in the morning, or pair it with a salad for lunch!
The key with this meal is that I always make sure I have spicy jalapeño chicken sausages from Trader Joe's on hand, plus some kind of taters (yukon gold or sweet potatoes). I ALWAYS have these on hand. This meal is so tasty and quick, and it's a great way to get some protein and carb into my day without overthinking it. Some other essentials I always have on hand include: eggs, carrots, hummus, gluten free bread, peanut butter (DUH), kale, and spinach. By keeping my home constantly stocked with these foods, I have an emergency stash of healthy options waiting for me when I am in a hurry or don't have time to go to the store to get my groceries!
I hope these tips help some of you with meal planning and prepping! I'd love to get some more ideas from you all on how YOU meal prep! Share one of your favorite meal prepping tactics in the comments below! :)