You know it's true: if you prep well, you eat well. Having washed, pre-cut veggies and fruits waiting for you on your refrigerator shelves will make you less likely to go running to the nearest chip bag when hunger strikes. Having a few healthy meals prepped and ready to go for the next week's dinners all but guarantees that you'll make healthier eating choices. While the concept of this practice might be simple, finding the time to execute this meal mission is significantly harder.
Here are our top 5 meal prep tips that won’t rob you of your entire weekend. After all, you shouldn't have to choose between eating healthy meals and enjoying your Sundays.
1. Go big and go home.
For streamlined Sunday meal prepping, quantity is key. Buy a whole chicken, or a large family value pack of your favorite protein, and let your slow cooker go to work. If you're going meatless, buy and cook a large batch of lentils or beans all at once.
2. Nix the procrastination
We know - the last thing you feel like doing after you've shopped, driven home, and unloaded the groceries is continuing to deal with your produce. However, taking just ten minutes to wash and chop your fruits and vegetables immediately after coming home allows you to process your groceries just once; no putting it away only to pull it out later. Plus, you're much less likely to succumb to the dreaded "out of sight, out of mind" phenomenon.
3. Baby steps
There's no rule that says you have to do all your meal prep at one time. You can cook your brown rice or quinoa while you relax or do other chores. Your meat can marinate overnight, or while you run errands. You can chop vegetables during your weekly phone chat with your family, or while you catch up on podcasts.
4. Contain yourself
Make sure you have several containers that are the right size for the number of people in your family. Glass is ideal, as it can go right from the fridge to the microwave or oven.
5. Assembly required
Once your veggies, protein, and grains are ready to go, simply portion out the amounts for each day, and customize with various sauces or seasonings. Additions we like include pre-made curry sauce, marinara sauce with Italian seasonings and mozzarella cheese, teriyaki sauce with canned pineapple tidbits, or garlic with fresh herbs and lemon juice.
By following these food prep steps, you'll make healthier eating choices all throughout your week, save money on eating out, and save time on busy weeknights. And don’t worry, it takes a lot less time than you think.