Meal preparation, sometimes referred to as “meal prep”, is the preparation of meals for a period of time.
Along with my training and running schedule has come a few necessary additions to my routine: strength training, Pilates, and of course, meal prep.
Every Sunday I set aside a few hours to prepare food for the coming week. Honestly, my new schedule is too hectic not to. It’s either that or eat junk, and I’m not going through all this exercise and training to blow it all in the kitchen.
So what is meal prep? Meal prep is blocking out time each week to prepare meals for the upcoming week (at least in my case). Everyone’s version or approach is different I’m sure, but mine consists of preparing a few basics every week, plus a few “specialty” items for variety. My goal is to have the fridge stocked with enough items or dishes that I don’t even have to give what I eat a second thought.
For starters, I try to follow the advice ‘eat a rainbow’. I chop and cook a variety of fruits and vegetables: raw in the form of veggie sticks or salads, and cooked in the form of grilled veggies, fruit compote, salads, etc. These are my go-to basics. They end up as side dishes, or as toppings on salads, in a breakfast hash, on top of scrambled eggs or oatmeal, whatever.
Second, I cook batches of quinoa and rice and keep these on hand. These are the beginnings of hot breakfasts, lunch bowls, and dinners.
Thirdly, protein. My favourites are grilled chicken or flank steak, turkey sausage, and tuna cakes. Another good option is hard-boiled eggs.
And lastly, I prepare items for my kids school lunches: soups, scones, muffins…even frozen pancakes and French toast. And I try to squeeze fruits and veggies into whatever I can (but don’t tell them that).
Many of these items will be kept fresh in my fridge, but some are frozen so there’s always something to grab, prepare quickly, and eat. I don’t think I could stay on track diet-wise if I didn’t take the time to meal prep. I know I suffer for it if I don’t take the time out: mentally and physically.
Does anyone else do meal prep? I’d love to know how often you do it, and what your favourite items are. Please share. And happy (and healthy) eating!