Many people believe meal prepping is just a tedious, time consuming way to prepare the same boring meal to eat for the next 5 days in a row. This is not true! Meal prepping can be extremely beneficial for those with a busy schedule and a demanding lifestyle. Here are some beginner tips on how to create delicious, diverse meals for every day of the week!
1. Buy in bulk. Packaged fresh or frozen lean meats and fish sell cheaper in larger quantities. Look for organic, hormoneless brands that are safe to freeze for use at later dates. If your a smoothie person, purchase either your favorite fresh fruits to cut up and freeze at home or buy frozen pre-cut variety packs depending on price and quality. To buy the perfect amount of food, ask the butcher counter to scale out exactly what you need or use the consumer friendly scales in the produce isles. Freezing anything does not decrease the health value or alter the taste if properly defrosted!
2. Invest in portioned tupperware. To prevent overeating, make sure the containers you buy are perfectly sized for one meal. You can easily estimate portion sizes by comparing foods to household items. A 4-oz serving of protein looks similar to a standard smartphone, a serving of oil or butter compares to a single die, carbohydrate-rich foods like quinoa, rice, or pasta should fit into a tennis ball, and a cup of raw veggies should fit into a baseball. There are several purchasable tupperwares that premeasure these foods to fit correctly into each available slot!
3. Storing each food separately. To subside the bore of eating the same food every night, store each food made in the beginning of the week in separate containers to create different new and exciting combinations. This introduces the possibility of repurposing the same foods by preparing them several different ways. For example, prepared steamed broccoli and grilled chicken can be used one night in an extravagant caesar salad and the next night as an oriental stir-fry with the addition of soy sauce and sesame seeds!
4. Slow cook foods. Investing in a slow cooker or crock pot is the easiest and most painless way for daily food preparation. Grilling, fame-broiling, sauteing, or baking foods at high heat could be the most delicious ways to cook food (especially meats) but are sadly some of the most unhealthy ways. The protein and fat in the meat interact with several harmful compounds when cooked at high temperatures. Slow cookers create perfectly tender foods that are readily available right when you walk in the door and decreases the risk of creating harmful compounds!
5. Use storage bags. Storage bags encourage perfectly portioned sizes and long term freshness of bulk foods. You can pre-measure dry ingredients or produce in individual bags and write down the exact measurements of each along with their required expiration dates. They even fit easily in pantries and refrigerators for convenient storing purposes!
Article Written by Nicolina Iorio (Nutrition Intern)
For more on portion sizing: https://www.livestrong.com/article/248298-how-to-calculate-food-portions-without-a-scale/