Setting Up For Success: Meal Planning Tips for a Healthy Week
Spring has officially sprung, and I could not be happier. But, in all honesty, my nutrition has not been stellar, folks. I know, I know..as a Dietitian, my nutrition should ALWAYS be fantastic, right? Wrong. I speak for many nutrition experts when I say, we all struggle with staying on top of our healthy eating goals. Much like many of you, when I fail to plan, I plan to fail.
Eating healthy during the week can feel impossible – I mean, when you’re working, finding time to stay active, spend time with loved ones and get all of your day-to-day to do’s checked off the list, food can often be an afterthought. But, it does NOT have to be. If you’re not a huge fan of meal prep (aka a fridge full of 2-3 batch-cooked meals in matching Tupperware containers), THAT’S A-OKAY. It takes just a few simple preparation tips to make cooking and planning during the week so much easier.
Cue the Veggies – Of course, this is my first meal preparation tip. Vegetables are the first thing the body needs, and the last thing our brain wants in a busy week. When you’re rushing home at the end of the day to make dinner, washing, cutting, and cooking vegetables is usually not the first thing you want to do. So, take the veggie prep out of your weekly routine by preparing them over the weekend. Dice potatoes, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, and store in bags or containers in the fridge. These can be great additions to a balanced meal, and SO key to a one-pan recipe. All you have to do is empty your pre-cut veggies onto a pan, drizzle with olive oil and some of your favorite spices, pop in the oven…done and done! If you’re more of a salad person, wash and dry your salad greens, store them in a paper towel-lined bag or container and store them in the fridge. The paper towel is key, you guys. It keeps them fresher so much longer and prevents them from getting slimy. You’re welcome.
Cook Your Starches – Ok, I know I said no batch cooking, but this is an exception. Your starches are so versatile. Whether it’s beans, rice, quinoa or potatoes, these foods can be added to a variety of meals to keep them new and exciting. Having your starch cooked ahead of time saves you tons of time during the week. Simply warm it up and serve along side your vegetables and protein. This is what I like to call No Fuss Cooking. Don’t believe me? Check out these 3 quick ideas for quinoa:
Greek Quinoa Salad
Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bake
Breakfast Protein Bowl
Snacks Need Love Too – If you’ve worked with me, you know…I love snacks. To me, they are necessary. They are the fuel that keep you going, and when done right, they save you from the Cupboard of Crap when it’s calling your name when you get home from work, or after dinner. Having some snacks on hand, in the right portions is such an important meal prep tip and can keep you on track for the week ahead. Boil some eggs and keep them in the fridge, portion out individual servings of nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, fruits, or veggies and keep them in individual bags or containers. Having these grab-and-go options to take on the road will definitely save you from the convenient store or vending machine, and your wallet (and blood sugar) will thank you for it.
That’s all she wrote, y’all! Simple, quick, and oh-so efficient. Have any more time-saving meal prep strategies of your own? Share in the comments!