Kids, school, work, social events, family life, & working out all make for a busy schedule that’s hard to keep up with. Eating right can make a big difference in my energy level to keep up with everything on my plate. A little preparation can make eating the right foods so much easier. I normally set aside a couple hours on Sunday, to prep & cook food for the upcoming week. I firmly believe that my weekend food prep plays a huge part in my ability to stay on track during the week.
I wanted to share some of the foods that I prep & give you a few tips about food prep, please share some of your ideas for prepping & if you’re new to food prep, please share how your first experience helped…
1) Snacking veggies – Try carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, snap peas, and cucumbers. They’re great for salads & go good with hummus. I peel and cut my carrots and store them in a covered container with some water. Every day I rinse the remaining carrots and change the water.
2.) Fruit – I always make a big bowl of cut up fruit, normally grapes, pineapple, strawberries, & maybe some melon. This great snack or side dish & can also be a quick breakfast with a greek yogurt.
3. Hard boiled eggs – Hard boiled eggs are a great source of protein & can be easily packed for a lunch or a snack for any time of the day. I usually cook a dozen because they last the whole week! A great tip is to peel them immediately after cooking, this will save you time when you’re in a rush.
4) Lean Proteins – I always cook up some of our favorite meats a head of time for less weeknight cooking. I always bake up several chicken Breasts, pattie out & season some turkey burgers (I usually keep them raw & throw them on the grill on the night I want to use them), & might make some mini meatloaf muffins or meatballs. Sometimes I cook chicken in the crockpot and & shred it to add to salads, wraps, casseroles, or soup.
5) Baked/Roasted Veggies – As long as your using the oven during your food prep time, you might as well wrap a few potatoes or sweet potatoes in foil and throw them in to bake. You can also chop up some of your favorite veggies and roast up a big pan. (Note: Sweet potatoes are a healthy carb & are a great fuel, plus they’re packed with fiber and vitamin A. You can roast them, mash them, or boil them. You can store them in the fridge for as long as 7 days, so make a few extra.)
6. Whole Grains – It’s easy to cook up a big batch of your favorite grain like brown rice or quinoa to have on hand. Cook a big batch on Sunday and add to meals throughout the week. Note: Quinoa is a super-food & a great vegan source of protein.
7. Spaghetti Squash – Spaghetti squash makes a great substitute for pasta. Since it takes a while to bake, making it in advance is a real time saver. I love adding spaghetti sauce & some turkey sausage or meatballs. It can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days.
8) Snacks – It’s important to have healthy snacks on hand that you can turn to during the week. There are tons of snacks that can be made ahead of time to help keep you from reaching for unhealthy choices. Try air popping some popcorn & make up snack bags, mix up some trail mix (add nuts and seeds popcorn, and a little dried fruit), make up some humus (to eat with the veggies you prepped).
9) Greens for Salad – By far the most important item for me to prep on Sunday is the salad greens. I’ve found that having them washed and ready to go increases the chances that we’ll eat a salad each day. You can use leaf lettuce, romaine, spinach, kale etc. To prepare my greens, I cut them, wash them well, spin them dry with my salad spinner (gotta love pampered chef) and store in a Ziploc bag with a folded paper towel. Make sure to press out as much air as possible each time you open the bag. (Note: If you’re prepping kale, wash and dry it, then rub it with some lemon juice and olive oil and store in an airtight container.)
10) Soup – I always make at least one pot of soup each week (it is usually dinner for Sunday night too) Soup is a great way to pack tons of nutrients into one easy meal & only takes a few minutes to warm up. Broth based soups are usually are lower in calories Add veggies…frozen veggies work great in soup and are packed with nutrients. Add in some protein, I like to add in some of the shredded chicken or sometimes I add black beans.
11.) Breakfast Items – Crock pot oatmeal, baked blueberry oatmeal, or mini egg muffins are great for a quick breakfast. If you want some of my favorite recipes let me know & I will be glad to share. Don’t forget you can add a side of your prepped fruit to any breakfast.
Of course there are a lot of other foods that can be prepped ahead of time for a healthy week…these are just some of my favorites.