With so much food on offer at every street corner it can be very easy to fall into the habit of ‘I’ll just grab something at lunch’ which can ultimately lead to selecting unhealthy food choices, especially if you’re starving and strapped for time. One way you can avoid this (and save yourself a few quid at the same time) is meal prep.
Planning is the key to successful meal prep and it needn’t take you very long. Here are my top tips for successful meal prepping.
1. Firstly you will need to invest in good quality containers to store your food. You can easily buy these on Ebay or Amazon, and most supermarkets will sell them too.
2. Create your shopping list. Here are some examples of nutritious foods you can pick up in the supermarket.
- Chicken breasts
- Beef mince
- Steak (sirloin or rump are the least fattier of meats)
- Potato (for example – sweet, white)
- Rice ( for example – wholegrain, basmati, jasmin, wild, quinoa)
- Noodles (for example – rice, egg, konjac)
- Beans (kidney, borlotti, chickpeas, these are also a great source of protein)
- Bread (for example – wholegrain, rye, seeded, sourdough)
- Unsalted nuts (for example – almonds, cashews, walnuts)
- Peanut butter
- Coconut oil
My weekly shopping list will include most of the above, but not everything. I also stock up on vegetables, salad, fruit, and water. I’m a creature of habit so my breakfast every day at work is the same (different at weekends when I have more time to prepare something fancy), and my lunches and dinners will differ. I alternate the foods above to give variety.
3. Recipes & cooking – I find Pintrest and Instagram fantastic for recipe inspirations, and I also love the body coaches lean in 15 recipes. Getting yourself a food planner is a great and fun way to note down recipes and shopping lists. Splitting your food ideas into breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks will also seem less daunting than trying to cook with no vision as to when you’re actually going to eat it. I like to set time aside every evening to cook my meals for the following day, but understandably this might not be do-able for all. Think about making extra portions that you can batch cook and freeze ready to take out when you need it (chili, stew, bolognaise can easily be frozen). Most foods can be cooked in batches, but be sure to eat within 3 days or so as you can never be too careful with freezing and re-heating foods, especially meat. The same principle goes with eggs of which are perfect for a snack or to have for breakfast. Overnight oats can be made the night before and can be eaten fresh out of the fridge the following morning. Leaving extras at work (microwaveable rice, cereals, oats) can be kept at work for emergencies (we all have those days when we run out of the door destined to forget our heads if they weren’t already screwed on). Snacks such as nuts, protein bars, bananas can be carried in your bag, and can also be left in your draw at work when the 3pm slump kicks in.
I hope that gives you all an insight and a few tips into meal prepping and staying on track with your healthy lifestyles.