January is the time where we all become a little more health conscious, and make plans to be the best version of ourselves. One of the biggest hurdles that many people face when eating healthy is the increased amount of time they’ll be spending cooking. Meal prepping is a great way to get yourself organized and save yourself a lot of time during the week!
While spending hours in the kitchen during the weekend might not be ideal, you’ll be thanking yourself for taking the extra time later! Meal prepping isn’t just about eating healthier, it’s also about convenience. Learn more about some of our favorite meal prep tips and tricks!
- Make recipes that have overlaps in ingredients. Try to find one or two common ingredients in each recipe so that you can build your meals around them to save money and prep time! A great trio would be our Chicken Fajita Sheet Pan, our Southwest Stuffed Peppers and our Quinoa Burrito Bowl. These three dishes all contain red peppers, avocados, cilantro, black beans and corn. To tailor these meals to your health needs, you can choose to make chicken optional if necessary.
- Don’t be afraid to make a spreadsheet. Make a table for yourself listing out what you’d like to eat for your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Having a chart that you can put up on your refrigerator can also help you be more accountable about what you’re eating!
- Never underestimate making a list. How many of you have come into one of our stores with a list of items in your head, but you ended up walking out with everything except that? Having a physical copy of a list can save you from having to make multiple trips to the grocery store.
- Prep your refrigerator. When you’re attempting to make a weeks’ worth of meals, you’re going to need to clear out a lot of space. If you follow tip number one, you won’t have to worry about having excess food in your fridge because all of the ingredients you buy will be used for a purpose.
- Don’t be afraid to use your slow cooker. Realistically, trying to make enough food for an entire week is a lot to take on when you’re extremely busy. You can let the slow cooker do all the hard work for you, and still finish up all the other tasks you have for the day! A few of our favorite better-for-you recipes include our Chicken Tortilla Chili, our Lemon Chicken Soup and our Tomato and Spinach Noodle Soup.
- Keep tabs on your calendar for the week. There’s no sense in making more food than you need to. If you know that you’ll be meeting up with friends or family to grab a bite to eat, don’t waste your time making food for an entire week when it won’t be eaten.
- Spice up your food! The biggest misconception about clean eating is either that you’ll be eating the same foods over and over again, or that the food is bland and boring. Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you have to stick to only salads and green smoothies. Use this opportunity to experiment with different combinations of seasonings, vegetables and proteins.
- Buy lots of Tupperware. Easy, reusable containers will become your new best friend when you’re prepping meals for the week! Not only will they save you time when it comes to easy clean up, but they’ll also help you on those days where you just need a grab-and-go.
- Manage your portion sizes for snacks too. Aside from the convenience of meal prepping, it also helps you avoid overeating. It’s so easy to mindlessly snack when you’ve got an entire bag sitting in front of you, but strategically rationing out your portions will allow you to have just the right amount.
- Put a label on EVERYTHING. Once you get into the swing of meal prepping, it’s going to get a little crazy trying to figure out which meal is which. Taking the extra step and adding a label to your meals can help save you time when you’re just trying to grab something and get out the door!
Setting new goals is the best way to start the New Year, and meal prepping can help you accomplish them! What are some of your health goals for the New Year? Let us know in the comments below!