The situation is familiar to most. When you’re away from home for long periods of time, you lose control over when, what, and for how long you are able to eat. Meetings run late, traffic builds up, and before you know it, you’re pulling over at the nearest gas station to grab a quick snack to tide you over until dinner.
Skipping meals, bringing on unhealthy snacks, and under-preparing for long days out of the house are sure ways to fail at your healthy eating endeavor. Preparation is key if you want to stay on a healthy diet throughout the hustle and bustle of daily life. Continue reading and check our tips on how to meal prep for your working day.
How to Prepare Healthy Food Ahead of Time
Meal prep can be time-consuming at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll start to go more smoothly. Also, instead of spreading out the meal prep time throughout the week, you’re doing all of it in a concentrated block of 2-3 hours. Then, you have healthy, filling, and satisfying meals for the whole week to look forward to.
1.Write a menu
Write down every meal for the whole week, and include two snacks per day. For the first few weeks, keep things really simple and stick with familiar recipes. Now is not the time to start experimenting.
2.Reuse and repurpose ingredients
If you’re already baking sweet potato for a meal, incorporate it into a few meals throughout the week. For example, use cubed and baked sweet potato in a salad, as part of a grain bowl, and as a side dish alongside fish or chicken.
Make a grocery list based on your menu. Then, make a list of all the tasks you need to complete as part of your meal prep (cut and bake sweet potato, grill chicken, slice veggies, etc.). When you write your meal prep list, start with the foods that take the longest to cook, like whole grain rice or roasted vegetables.
4. Consider storage life
Be mindful of how long certain foods keep in the fridge. Some cut vegetables, like onions and peppers, may only last 2-3 days, while others — washed, dried, and cut lettuce — may last for up to a week.
To retain the quality of cooked foods, consider freezing meals and thawing them the day you plan to eat them.
Easy-to-prep meal ideas
The following meal ideas are perfect for meal prepping because they can be assembled quickly or made in large batches to last throughout the week. Consider adding these foods to your weekly menu.
Oatmeal cookies | Date bars | Egg muffins | Sandwich: whole grain bread with egg/tuna/avocado/nut butter | Chia pudding | Yogurt parfait
Chicken breast with vegetables | Salad with tuna | Tofu stir fry | Fish with whole grain rice | Cauliflower curry with rice
Chili | Soup | Meatballs with rice | Burrito bowl | Grain bowl | Chicken fajitas | Tacos (fish, meat or bean)
As long as you have a few different options of prepared grains, proteins, and vegetables in your refrigerator, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to pack a satisfying and healthy meal to take with you. If you didn’t manage to pack a lunch for whatever reason, opt for buying sandwiches made with whole-grain bread, or salads. Avoid getting fried foods, such as french fries or schnitzel.