I’m sure you’ve already heard about meal prepping and how it can simplify your life, but let’s be honest here. How many of you are actually doing it? I don’t blame you, it took me long enough until I jumped on the wagon, even if I knew the benefits of meal prepping for a long time. It can be a little confusing and even discouraging in the beginning, as it requires the creation of a new routine, but I challenge you to give it a try for a month. Chances are you won’t look back. Meal prepping will help you safe time and money, and increase the chances you eat nutritious food through a busy week. And while there is so much you can find on meal prepping online, in this post I want to share 3 simple hacks to get you started. Remember, you don’t need to create a weekly menu, research for recipes and start calculating how much protein and carbs you need in your daily food menu. All this will just increase the chances you won’t even try it. So let’s start instead with something easy and simple. Something you already are doing anyways. What we will do is, we will put it into a meal-prep context. You ready? Here we go!
1. Soak and cook some grains and legumes
Preparing your grains and legumes the right way will help you digest and absorb their nutrients better, so make sure you soak your grains (like quinoa, oats, buckwheat, millet) and your legumes (like beans, lentils, chickpeas). This step requires zero effort, just some thinking ahead. I like to soak my grains and legumes on Saturday night, this way I can already cook them on Sunday, when I usually prepare my meals for the week ahead.
2. Roast a big batch of veggies
I love oven-roasted veggies. It is so easy to do, and they taste so good. Having some oven-roasted veggies ready in the fridge will guarantee you will eat more vegetables, which is what we all want right?
3. Wash and correctly store your leafy greens
I have to admit it. It has happened to me that I would buy a big bag of fresh spinach, and would end up throwing away half of it. It would happen, because in the rush of preparing some food, I would simply not feel like washing and drying my spinach, even if I wanted to eat it, because I’m short on time, or simply super hungry! This has made me quite upset, and I promised myself I wouldn’t let this happen anymore. So now, when I buy fresh spinach, chard or kale, I ALWAYS wash it, dry it and cut it, and store it in a zip lock bag in the fridge. This way, whenever I cook I simply take it out of the bag and put it on my plate. Super easy, and a great way to make sure you eat more leafy greens! 🙂
To bring these 3 easy hacks into practice I want to share with you how I did my meal-prep last week, as well as what kind of food I ate. I understand that the other struggle is how to incorporate the various pre-prepped ingredients into a nutritious and tasty meal. So here is how I did it last week:
Basic meal ingredients:
It took me just an hour to prepare my basic ingredients, and with them I had two lunches and one dinner. Not so bad right?
I cooked some quinoa (tip: always add some vegetable stock when cooking, it will give your grains a nice flavor) and lentils. I also soaked some cashews for a few hours; washed and drained a big batch of fresh spinach, and roasted some carrots and beets.
Meal ideas out of the basic ingredients:
Now you might be wondering how did I make a tasty meal out of these ingredients. I’ll share with you two meals I made that took me 5 to 10 minutes to prepare on the day, were tasty, and offered a good balance of nutrients.
Super veggie bowl:
For this lunch I simply put some fresh spinach in my bowl and topped it with cooked quinoa and roasted veggies. I only needed 5 minutes to quickly chop up some organic tofu and make a lemon-tahini dressing. I then sprinkled some sesame seeds on top and that was it! The secret to making this bowl taste good is to make a tasty dressing, so play around with it!
I applied the same principle for my dinner. Again the base of my bowl was fresh spinach, and I added some steamed broccoli (which you can also steam in advance), half an avocado, the cooked lentils and these super delicious veggie bites (which I bought ready and just heated up). I made a cashew dressing with the cashews I soaked, using some lemon and nutritional yeast and that was my dinner. It took me 10 minutes to make and I had a variety of food on my plate that also tasted great!
Don’t forget that the more you experiment with your food the better you will get at finding combinations that are tasty and easy to prepare. Those are just some examples that work great for me.
I’d love to know about your experience with meal-prepping and how you make sure you get some nutritious food during a busy week, so share with me in the comments below. 🙂