A Beginner's Guide: Healthy Meal Prep Recipes, Tips & Ideas
Learn to meal prep like a pro! We take it step-by-step to show you how partaking in meal prep each week can limit work throughout the week and prevent resorting to convenience foods.
Meal prepping can be the holy grail when it comes to reaching health and weight loss goals. Partaking in meal prep each week can limit work throughout the week and prevent resorting to convenience foods. Ease into food prep with this beginner's guide on how to meal prep for weight loss and health.
Tackling Meal Prep Step-by-Step
Step 1: Food Requests
If cooking for more than yourself, take special food requests of what others might want to see on the dinner table. Take their preferences in account but stay true to good health choices. If your child wants a frozen pizza, meet in the middle with homemade pizzas using whole grain tortillas, lean proteins, and nutritious veggies.
Step 2: Compile a Grocery List
After requests have been taken into account, formulate a grocery list that will aid in a swift store trip. Having a list in hand upon entering the store reduces the chance to roam aimlessly in the aisles and grab items that really are not necessary. However, leave a little wiggle room in your grocery list to take advantage of store deals and seasonal produce.
Step 3: Shop the Store's Perimeter
Like previously mentioned, the grocery list does not need to be completely stuck to upon entering the store. By shopping the store's border, you are more likely to choose nutritious produce, fresh lean meat, and whole grains rather than prepackaged temptations. If fresh zucchini was absent on your list, and was featured as a weekly deal, go for it!
Step 4: Meal Prep Time
Now that the food items have been retrieved, it's time to get to the fun part! Chop and assemble purchased goods to create those portioned or half-way prepared meals. Use sealed containers to keep food fresh once its ready to be put into use. Share the responsibilities with children, as getting them exposed to healthy cooking at an early age promotes and instills nutritious choices and living for years to come.
Step 5: Store Meals
When storing meals, it is always smart to have an organizational game plan. Storing cut peppers and onions for Fajita Friday in front of meat for Taco Tuesday ultimately results in digging and rearranging in the fridge come Tuesday. Know what days you want each item and plan accordingly. Store daily snacks in a separate area to reduce the opportunity for them to become lost in the fridge.
10 Meal Prep Recipes and Ideas
Having a little trouble coming up with nutritious meals? Don't fret! Below features 10 recipes and ideas that will beat that meal prep block!
1. Overnight Oats
Mix a half cup dried oats with ½ cup milk or water (use less or more water/milk for desired consistency), or multiply recipe for number of servings anticipated, in an air-sealed mason jar or bowl. Add in favorite toppings such as blueberries, almonds, and cinnamon. Stick in refrigerator overnight and eat chilled or warmed up!
2. Breakfast Burritos
Prepare a batch of burritos all at once and keep in freezer till use! Check out these nutritious, on-the-run breakfast burritos: Click here.
A batch of muffins comes in handy. Prepare favorite muffins and store in air-sealed container or freeze till use. Pair with Greek yogurt for a complete well-balanced breakfast to get your day started on the right foot!
4. Mason Jar Salad
Make these in bulk! Click here for 18 unique salad ideas!
5. Chicken Salad
Ditch the heavy chicken salad recipe and go with a lighter version. Replace mayo with plain Greek yogurt and add fresh grapes, slivered almonds or pecans, and lean shredded chicken. Eat with carrot sticks, in a lettuce wrap or whole wheat tortilla, or simply with a fork!
6. Taco Meat
Prepare ground turkey or lean ground beef for Taco Tuesday! All that's left to do come Tuesday is warm up the meat and assemble the tacos – fill whole grain tortilla with taco meat, diced tomatoes, chopped lettuce, and fresh salsa.
7. Shredded Chicken
Cook chicken breasts in a crockpot or in the oven. Shred chicken to keep on hand for a wide variety of meals. Since chicken is extremely versatile, add to salads, in fajitas, or into casseroles with veggies.
8. Crockpot Chili
Brown together onions and ground beef. Add to a large crockpot filled with chili and kidney beans and chili seasonings and spices. For a vegan option, skip out on the ground beef. Chili can also be bulked with fresh veggies such as bell peppers and carrots. Top with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and green onions to amplify flavor and protein content.
9. Trail Mix
Avoid added sugar and salt by creating your own trail mix at home. Use unsalted nuts and seeds and desired dried fruits. Portion out ¼ cup sizes into small baggies to avoid overeating, as nuts trail mix are calorically dense but rich in nutrients and healthy fats.
10. Fresh Veggies
Cut and store veggies for simple snacking. For example, keep bell peppers, cucumbers, and carrots on hand for a nutritious snacking choice. Pair with hummus or Greek yogurt dip for added protein and flavor.
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