Advertising
Advertising

How to Plan and Prep Food for Healthy Meals All Week

How to Plan and Prep Food for Healthy Meals All Week

Meal prep is something that many people are interested in these days to help them live a healthier lifestyle with more ease and organization. This can help you face temptations to reach for junk food or hit the fast food drive-thru more easily, especially when hunger strikes and you find yourself unprepared without a proper meal or snack.

However, we all know meal prep isn’t the easiest thing to start if you’ve never tried it, and unless you have some knowledge about how to do it easily and without spending hours in the kitchen, it can seem incredibly overwhelming.

So, check out these tips and recipes for how to plan and prep food for healthy meals all week. You’ll not only have less stress around making your meals, but you’ll also feel great physically and mentally knowing you’re supporting your body with high-quality foods you prepared at home.

5 Tips to Plan and Prep Food for Healthy Meals All Week:

1. Make a list of what your goals are.

    Before you decide your meal plan, it’s important to consider what your goals are with your meal prep, or in other words, why you’re actually doing it. Are you trying to lose weight, eat cleaner, make meals simpler, save time in the kitchen, or all of the above? Evaluating your goals with your meal prep will help keep you from deterring from these goals when you go to select meals.

    This step is incredibly useful. Often, someone who is interested in eating healthier and simpler might not keep this in mind when they go to select recipes to make or go shopping for their foods. So, write down your main goals for your meal prep, and always keep these in the forefront of your mind during the meal prep process.

    2. Select recipes that will help you complete your goals.

      Next, it’s time to come up with some recipes to make for your meal prep. I suggest going to Pinterest, your favorite blogs, or even utilizing food brand websites that you love (and that align with your goals) to find recipes. Create a Pinterest board that’s just for meal prep recipes. You can even make it a secret board if you don’t want anyone to see it. When it comes to making your meals, remember that simple recipes with a short ingredient list are usually better than long recipes with odd ingredients.

      Advertising

      Popular meal prep ideas include a simple protein with veggies and a healthy source of carbohydrates with low to moderate servings of fat and usually no sugar or refined ingredients. If health isn’t a goal for you and you’re just interested in quick and easy meals, your options will definitely expand a bit for meal prep possibilities. Whatever the case, keep your goals in mind when you select recipes for meal prep and keep them all together in one place.

      3. Create a schedule. 

        Now it’s time to take those recipes and put them into a schedule for your meals during the week. Make a calendar for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. It’s usually easier if you rotate between the same meals during the week, or just keep the baseline of each meal the same.

        For instance, maybe every morning for breakfast you’ll choose between a green protein smoothie, or you’ll have some high protein overnight oats with fruit. Or, maybe you’ll prep a large batch of porridge to keep on hand all week long and just reheat it to serve with your favorite fruits and protein sources. Whatever the case, gather some ideas in mind and make the overall meal prep goal to be simple, effective, and useful.

        4. Utilize time-saving tips. 

          Frozen veggies and fruits, a slow cooker, blender, and some high-quality food storage containers make life so much easier when it comes to meal prep and saving time. Use whatever tools you can to make the process simpler and focus on doing more at one time versus lots of meal prep throughout the week.

          Next, select one to two days to do your meal prep on a day that’s slowest for you and when you have more time to prep your food. A popular day for many is Sunday, but if you happen to have more free time on a Wednesday or Saturday, switch up your meal prep day to one that works for you. Prep multiple meals at one time and use convenient, quick options to help you get the job done in less time. It may also be helpful to label meals with days and meal times you’ll eat those meals for quick grab-and-go options during a busy week.

          5. Shop with your goals in mind.

          Advertising

            Before you start your meal prep, it’s also smart to shop with your goals in mind. If you don’t know what you’re wanting from your meal prep, you can end up grabbing all kinds of things at the store that don’t actually support your meal prep.

            Trying to lose weight? Skip the impulse buys on the chocolate and snacks aisle. Looking to save time? Don’t buy items that require lots of time to prepare or hours to cook. Make a list after you select recipes that align with your goals, and stick to that when you shop.

            Now that you’ve got the proper tools and tips you need to make your meal prep a success, you might like some recipe ideas to help get you started.

            Check out these 3 ideas for healthy breakfasts that are quick to make and prepare for great meals all week long:

            1. High Protein, Low Sugar Overnight Oatmeal 

              Benefits:

              Oatmeal makes a great breakfast first thing in the day, and while warm oatmeal is great, ready-made overnight oats are even better, especially for meal prep! Oats provide fiber, protein, iron, and B vitamins, plus magnesium for all day energy. Adding yogurt will aid in digestion, boost the protein content, and also provide calcium, magnesium, and potassium for healthy minerals. Chia and flax are both great sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. They’re an excellent way to get enough fiber in the morning to help you stay full.

              Here’s how to make healthy and filling overnight oats:

              Place the following in a mason jar or a bowl in the order listed.

              Advertising

              • 1/2 cup rolled (not instant or steel-cut) oats
              • 1/2 cup your choice plain Greek yogurt (or one small 5-ounce container) – choose non-dairy options if needed
              • 1/2 cup frozen berries
              • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
              • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
              • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
              • 1 packet of non-calorie sweetener of choice
              • extra toppings of choice (more chia, banana slices, a few nuts, or some cinnamon are popular ideas)

              Stir all the items together, seal the lid or cover the bowl, and place in the fridge. In the morning, the frozen berries will have created a delicious juice you can enjoy for extra sweetness! Make enough of these for however many days you want, but remember that the ingredients tend to get a little mushy after three days. Perhaps you can make these for three days and choose something else for the rest of the week, or just make some more again in three days.

              2. Meal Prep Protein Smoothies

                Flickr / aJ Gazmen

                Benefits:

                Smoothies are a great way to get an array of nutrients in the morning when they’re needed most to start the day off on a healthy foot. However, making your smoothie from scratch can take a lot of time. This is where smoothie prep bags come in handy. Keep in mind that it’s important not to just consume a fruit smoothie in the morning or your blood sugar levels will skyrocket. Be sure to get in some micronutrients from leafy greens and some protein along with fiber and healthy fats when you have your smoothie. It’s also helpful to stick to simple ingredients and prep enough smoothie bags for however many you’d like to have during the week.

                Here’s what you need per smoothie prep bag:

                • 1 cup of your favorite frozen fruits (berries are great)
                • 2 cups fresh spinach (or another green such as kale)
                • plastic, freezer safe baggies

                Make enough for however many days you want to have your smoothies. Store these bags in the freezer.

                To make the smoothies each morning:

                Advertising

                Grab a bag from the freezer and add it to the blender. Next, add your favorite source of protein (protein powder and/or Greek yogurt), 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 cup of non-dairy milk, 1 cup ice, and a sweetener of choice. Blend until thick and creamy and enjoy on your way to work!

                3. Egg and Veggie Muffins

                  Benefits:

                  These muffins make great grab-and-go breakfasts on hurried mornings when you don’t have time to sit down and eat oatmeal or make a smoothie. They’re also a great source of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and micronutrients from vegetables. Plus, egg and veggie muffins are easy to make all at one time, and they’re even freezer-friendly! If you make them at the beginning of the week and are sure to eat them in time, they’ll also last all week in the fridge.

                  Here’s what you need:

                  • 12 whole eggs
                  • 2 cups egg whites
                  • 4 cups frozen or fresh mixed veggies (broccoli, red peppers, onions, cauliflower, carrots, etc.)
                  • 1 tsp. baking soda
                  • 1/2 cup ground flax (this will help add fiber and replace the flour)
                  • 2 tsp. seasoning of choice (black pepper or red pepper flakes goes great here)
                  • plastic (freezer-safe) baggies

                  Here’s how to make them:

                  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
                  2. Prepare a 12-cup muffin pan with 12 paper liners or use non-stick spray.
                  3. Mix all the ingredients above in a blender until smooth and creamy.
                  4. Pour the mix into the prepared cups and bake for 20 minutes until set. The muffins should be golden brown on top.
                  5. Remove from the pan after 20 minutes of cool time, store 2 in a plastic baggie, and seal. Store in the fridge or freezer.
                  6. Each morning, grab a bag, open it, and reheat for 1:30 minutes in the microwave. If you keep them in the fridge, then just reheat for 30-40 seconds, and enjoy your two muffins for breakfast each morning with black coffee (or tea), and a piece of fruit of choice.

                  Want ideas for lunches and dinners? Here are over 100 creative, healthy, and delicious recipes you can make for your meal prep session. Here are 15 quick and healthy meal ideas if you happen to hate cooking.

                  Good luck with your meal prep!

                  More by this author

                  10 Blow Your Mind Dipping Sauce Recipes That You Need To Try 10 Blow Your Mind Dipping Sauce Recipes That You Need To Try How To Be Happy: 12 Things You Should Do Today 10 Delicious Ways to Increase Your Fiber Intake to Lose Weight More Easily 5 Important Things Most People Miss About Health and Nutrition Top 8 Effective Ways To Quit Coffee Painlessly

                  Trending in Food and Drink

                  1 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go 2 Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brain Health And Brain Power 3 15 Brain Foods You Should Be Eating Regularly to Keep Your Mind Sharp 4 These 25 Healthy Meal Ideas Can Be Ready in 30 Minutes or Less 5 17 Weight Loss Recipes That Are Incredibly Nutritious and Super Delicious

                  Read Next

                  Advertising
                  Advertising
                  Advertising

                  Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                  How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                  How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                  Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                  You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                  Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                  1. Work on the small tasks.

                  When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                  Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                  2. Take a break from your work desk.

                  Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                  Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

                  Advertising

                  3. Upgrade yourself

                  Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                  The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                  4. Talk to a friend.

                  Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                  Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                  5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                  If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                  Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                  Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

                  Advertising

                  6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                  If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                  Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                  Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                  7. Read a book (or blog).

                  The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                  Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                  Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                  8. Have a quick nap.

                  If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

                  Advertising

                  9. Remember why you are doing this.

                  Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                  What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                  10. Find some competition.

                  Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                  Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                  11. Go exercise.

                  Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                  Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                  As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

                  Advertising

                  Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                  12. Take a good break.

                  Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                  Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                  Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                  Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                  More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                  Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

                  Read Next