Eating healthy is a fundamental key that will help you reach your health goals. When I started eating healthy I not only felt better but I slowly gained confidence in myself, which helped me improve other areas of my life.
Learning how to cook and eat healthy eventually led me to the habit of meal prepping weekly. Picking out a few healthy recipes, followed by grocery shopping, and then setting a designated time/day to cook my meals for the week ahead helps me stay on track with healthy eating and also save money in the process.
If I don’t have anything at home that’s ready to eat and healthy I’m more likely to purchase something on the go. I’ve had my fair share of off weeks (and that’s okay—we’re only human) but when that happens I usually end up spending more money on food than I like and get a little off track with my eating.
I completely understand how overwhelming it can be to start something new, such as healthy eating and meal prepping. So to make this whole meal prep thing a little easier for you I have a few of my key tips and foods to prep in bulk, which will give you more options during the week!
- Pick 2-3 recipes. I typically pick lunch/dinner recipes to interchange throughout the week. P.S. If picking out a few recipes is a little much for you, you can start with 1 recipe. I also have a list of some items below you can bulk prep and easily pair together.
- Get your family and friends in on the prep. Invite your significant other, roommate, sister, friend (or whoever’s willing!) to help you by making 1 recipe. This leaves you with one less recipe to make and extra hands to speed up the process. Getting your family and friends involved might inspire them to make healthier choices too!
- Pick 2-3 snacks. My go to snacks are raw veggies like carrots, celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes. You can pair veggies with raw nuts, whole grain crackers, whole grain toast with peanut butter, string cheese, hummus, or a hardboiled egg.
- Pick a day and time to prep. Give yourself at least 2 hours to cook all your meals and prep them in containers. Clear out your fridge (with unhealthy foods!) so you have enough space to fit all your meals.
- Place your cooked food in individual containers. Even though this will take up a lot of space in your fridge it will be easier for you to grab when picking out your lunch and snacks for the day ahead! On top of that, when I have something ready to grab and warm up in seconds, this leaves no room for excuses or the temptation to go out and buy unhealthy foods.
LOW COST BULK PREP
- Oatmeal is my breakfast essential. It’ll help you kick start your morning with sustained energy. Prepare overnight oats in mason jars or cook whole rolled oats/steel cut oats. You can place your cooked oatmeal in individual containers to eat at work but I usually leave my cooked oatmeal in one large container and separate it in the morning to reheat.
- Beans. Pinto and black beans are packed with protein and fiber. Fiber found in beans help you stay full longer. If you want to skip out on prep altogether you can purchase canned beans. Place them in one large container to separate with your meal or pre-pack them with your lunch/dinner entrees (i.e. beans with baked chicken and brown rice)
- Quinoa or Brown Rice. These are easy and healthy carbs to make, which you can pair with baked chicken, beans, veggies, or tofu.
- Raw and Steamed Veggies. Purchasing frozen vegetables and steaming them is one way to have a serving of veggies ready to pair with protein for lunch or dinner. Raw veggies (examples in the “key tips” above) are not only an easy snack option but also a yummy addition to a salad. If I have some extra time on my hands during the week I’ll sauté the raw vegetables to spruce up scrambled eggs in the morning or any other protein dish.