True to the motto “abs are made in the kitchen,” homemade meals are more balanced and healthier. You know exactly what you are putting into your body. When eating out even if you go for the healthiest of choices, you don’t know how the item has been cooked, how much oil or butter has been used for example; adding extra calories without realising it!
• It saves you time during the week.
• Prepping meals is cheaper than eating out.
• You are prepared to fight cravings with healthy snacks.
• Many people find cooking relaxing and a good chance to unwind.
What is the best way to meal prep? Take time one or two nights a week (for instance, Wednesday and Sunday) and prepare snacks and meals for those long workdays. Need more guidance? We have seven tips for you on meal prepping:
7 MEAL PREP TIPS:
1. COOK BIG PORTIONS
The simplest tip first: start cooking bigger portions! Baking a roast chicken and potatoes for your dinner on Sunday? Make two or three extra servings; that way you already have tomorrow’s lunch – without any additional effort.
2. OPTIMAL STORAGE
Always have enough containers in the house for storage and transportation, but stay away from plastic. Look for environmentally friendly (or BPA-free) alternatives instead.
Glass bottles are good for transporting smoothies, jars are great for overnight oats with fruit or nuts and stainless-steel cans are good for salads or curries.
3. SMOOTHIE TO GO
Did you oversleep and now you’re running late? A smoothie only takes minutes to prepare and can replace one of your daily meals. Cut up some fruit and vegetables, divide them into meal-sized portions and freeze them if you want.
This allows you to store them for a long time without losing their valuable vitamins and minerals. Add a scoop of protein powder to top up your daily protein intake for the day!
Just mix the ingredients together in the morning and your healthy breakfast is ready in no time!
4. HARD-BOILED EGGS FROM THE OVEN
Eggs are a great source of valuable protein and fats; make sure they’re on your healthy shopping list. The hard-boiled version is a great way to pep up salads or avoid food cravings as a snack.
The problem is that most pots only hold up to five eggs. But, you can get around this by baking them in the oven. It’s quite easy to do: Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F).
Fill a muffin pan with twelve eggs and bake them in the oven for about 30 minutes. That’s it! Now you have a dozen hard-boiled eggs to use as you please.
5. THE FREEZER IS YOUR FRIEND
Have you cooked too much but don’t want to eat leftovers all week long? No problem: Many foods (curries, stews and soups) are easy to freeze in meal-sized portions.
6. HEALTHY SNACKS FOR IN BETWEEN MEALS
We are often tempted to reach for sweets in the afternoon. Your body needs quick energy on long workdays. Be prepared for these cravings: Fill some jars at home with raw nuts, Greek yogurt, or dark chocolate.
Or, whip up a big batch of protein balls on Sunday for the coming week. These help you beat the afternoon slump (and don’t ruin your figure).
7. VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE
Do you eat the same thing every day? That can get boring pretty quickly! Meal prepping can help you eat well and add a little variety to your diet.
Prepare individual ingredients you can combine as you like. Grilled chicken or tofu goes well with rice and broccoli, but it also tastes good in a mixed salad.
Add herbs and spices, food doesn’t need to be flavourless because you are watching what you eat.
One more thing: It’s okay if you don’t feel like doing meal prep one day or you prefer to eat lunch in a restaurant with a friend or co worker. Just make sure to stick with your healthy routine on the other days of the week.
If you want to eat well and follow a balanced diet, meal prepping will help you do it. Plus, you’ll save time and money doing it.