One of the basic keys to eating healthy and not giving in to temptation is preparing healthy and delicious foods ahead of time. Having food prepared and ready to go saves time and effort, while also ensuring that you don’t give in and go for the chips simply because they are ready to go.
Imagine this scenario- you are getting ready for work in the morning and you are quickly whipping together some scrambled eggs. You open the refrigerator and see an onion and a bell pepper. You briefly consider chopping them up and adding them to your eggs but then quickly decide against it because you don’t have the time or the energy. Now, imagine the same scenario, but when you open the refrigerator, you see a Tupperware container filled with pre-chopped onions and peppers. Now are you going to add them to your eggs? My guess is you said YES because it would take less than 10 seconds to do so! That is the beauty of food prep. 🙂
Here are some tips to making food prep an easy and effective part of your regular routine:
1) Choose a day and time
The key to food prep is making it routine. Choose a day and time (for most people this is usually Sunday afternoon) and stick with it! Block out 1-2 hours on that day and listen to some music, a podcast, or prep with a friend. The key is to make it something you do regularly every week.
2) 1-3-1 Prep Technique
The rule of thumb I like to use is to prep 1 protein, 3 veggies, and 1 recipe. For protein, this can mean cooking a bunch of chicken breast, fish, tofu, etc. You want to cook them in such a way they are quick and easy to reheat. And then pick 3 different veggies. This may just be chopping them up so they are easy to use when you are cooking, or it may mean cooking them so they can quickly be reheated. Finally, toss in a full recipe of some kind that you can make a lot of and eat throughout the week- this can be a chili or a stew, a casserole, or a salad. Just make a big serving of it so you can use it for lunches and dinners throughout the week.
3) Vary what you Prep
If you make chicken breast and broccoli every Sunday you are going to get sick of it very quickly! So the key is variation. Using the 1-3-1 technique this could look like this:
Week 1- Chicken Breasts, brussel sprouts, broccoli, onions, sweet potato chili
Week 2- Tofu, peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower, quinoa casserole
Week 3- Salmon, green beans, carrots, zucchini, 3 bean stew
The idea is to make sure you are prepping different things each week so you are always looking forward to something new!
4) Don’t forget about breakfast!
Breakfast can also be included in your weekly food prep. You can make some overnight oats in mason jars, some egg muffins to eat throughout the week, or even your own homemade protein bars. But having breakfast prepped will ensure you eat it and that you eat something different and healthy!
5) Keep your prepped food accessible
When you open your fridge, you want your prepped food to be easily seen- front and center! If you have to dig for it or bend over to see it in the fridge, you may have just wasted your efforts. We generally go for what is easy to see, especially when we are hungry. So make sure you are not hiding away that prepped food!
So, make a point to give weekly food prep a try. It’s a great way to ensure you eat healthy, don’t give in to unhealthy foods solely out of convenience, and also allows you to try new recipes and fun, new food combinations!