Meal prepping is easy and isn’t quite the culinary obstacle course people make it out to be. Perhaps the only reason people feel daunted by it is the end result, when we see it done by others, ends up looking like so much effort and kitchen prowess is needed to meal prep. The truth is though, all it takes is time and little bit of planning.
With that said, you’re not alone with the challenges of meal prepping. If you have a busy schedule, don’t enjoy thinking of what to cook everyday for every meal, use this meal prepping basics guide to help ensure that you always have healthy and delicious food on hand.
1. Before you meal prep
Get ready for your kitchen to turn into a major food production. You’ll be bringing out a variety of fresh ingredients, prepping them to be washed, chopped, flavored and cooked. To help things run more efficiently, prep for meal prep by:
- Gathering all the ingredients you plan to use, including your flavorings such as spices, to help give you a clearer view of what you have to work with.
- Having clean cooking utensils at the ready (bowls, pots, chopping boards, knives, storage containers etc.)
- Make space in your freezer as you’ll be storing many ingredients here.
- Cook at the same time. While meal prepping, start with the ingredients that take the longest to cook but need minimal supervision (beans, grains, legumes) and prep other ingredients such as washing and chopping vegetables.
2. Start with a base
A base is usually the fiber in your meal which consists of whole grains, and provide a nutritious yet neutral tasting ingredient that you can easily change up with spices or sauces. Choose to rotate 2-3 bases throughout the week so that you don’t get tired of the same whole grain.
Some healthy bases include:
- Brown Rice
Not only are these grains filled with fiber, they also contain protein, are rich in B-Vitamins and each grain has their own unique texture to help bring alive any dish. To incorporate them into your meal prepping, choose at least 2 grains, and cook them simultaneously according to their package instructions.
All these grains require for cooking is a pot and filtered water and their good to go, allowing you to get on with the other ingredients in your kitchen.
3. Get Your Protein
Protein is a vital macronutrient that provides the building blocks for our muscles and tissues, gives us a full a satisfied feeling, helps to reduce cravings, and helps our body to repair itself from the wear and tear of everyday life and physical exertion. Meal prepping protein will be the ingredient that is most likely to ensure that you keep to your healthy diet as it will ensure you’re satisfied with your meal.
Whether you’re plant based, vegan, or have no dietary restrictions, here are excellent protein sources that you can meal prep with:
- Non GMO Firm Tofu: Marinated in soy sauce, crushed garlic, and chili flakes and pan fried.
- Beans such as white, black and kidney beans, which you can cook alongside your grains.
- Peas: steamed
- Chicken breast: Marinated with lemon, crushed garlic, olive oil, salt and cracked pepper and baked at 200 degrees Celsius for 20-30 minutes or until well cooked
- Pork chops: Marinated in lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper, baked at 200 degrees Celsius for 20-30 minutes or until well cooked.
- Tenderloin Beef, cubed: Marinated in olive oil, salt, and pepper, sautéed until you reach how well you like your beef cooked.
When it comes to protein, the idea is to marinate or rub them well with flavors that you enjoy. A simply savory mix of garlic, salt and pepper can liven up any ingredient, and we find this one of the easier yet delicious ways to prep protein.
Once cooled, protein, especially animal protein, can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days so we suggest picking 2-3 protein sources on rotation throughout the week, and putting the rest in the freezer. Simply bring out the night before and place in your fridge to defrost and have ready for the next day.
Veggies, Veggies, Veggies
You’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again, vegetables are vital to your good health and should bulk up the majority of your meals. Fortunately, there are hundreds of vegetables for you to choose from that will make ‘eating the rainbow’ especially easy when meal prepping as you’ll have plenty of variety to choose from.
Take your pick from crisp salad greens like romaine and arugula, to heartier nightshades like courgettis, bell peppers, and aubergines, to earthy roots like sweet potatoes and beets. Denser greens like spinach and kale work great raw or cooked, and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli are versatile and filling.
On top of eating fresh vegetables raw, try a mixture of one tray oven baking and one pot steaming vegetables to bring out their flavor.
For oven baking, chop and cube your vegetables in even sizes so they cook evenly.
- Sweet potatoes: mix with olive oil, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and thyme
- Potatoes: mix with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary
- Broccoli and Cauliflower: mix with olive oil, salt, and pepper
- Courgetti: mix with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano
For one-pot steaming, chop your vegetables in similar sizes as well for even cooking and simply pull out vegetables that are already cooked while waiting for the rest.
- Green beans
- French Beans
- For washing and drying:
- Romaine lettuce
- Kale, destemmed
Mix and Match:
When you’ve meal prepped, the idea is to simply mix and match your macros. Get your protein, fat and carbs on one plate for each meal of the day. Some great combinations include:
- Roasted broccoli and steamed beans with baked chicken breast and Farro
- White Bean, Arugula salad with baked pork chops and baked sweet potato
- Asian pea, tofu and beef bowl on brown rice
- Roasted vegetable salad with quinoa
A healthy and wholefood diet is well worth the effort that your body will thank you for. Make sure you’re getting the most of your food by digesting them properly and absorbing their nutrients. Have our Digestive Enzymes and Probiotic supplements before meals to ensure your digest your food properly and get the nutrients you need.