preparing meals is one of the most important things to do besides meal planning if you want to lose or maintain weight. Why? Because preparing healthy meals ahead of time, not only reduces valuable time spent in the kitchen during the week but it enables you to always have healthier options waiting for you at the beginning and end of each day, reducing temptation to eat anything you see or buy unhealthy takeaway food on your way home from a busy and maybe stressful day.
Where should I start? What foods should I cook? How do I meal prep without spending the entire day in the kitchen? How do I store my food to keep them fresh for the entire week? Worry no more my dear weight warrior! In this post, I unfold my tips and trick on how to prep healthy meals and save you time, energy and money! Follow me…..
The first thing you need to do is write down a healthy well-balanced meal plan. You want to make sure that you include foods from all the categories of the African food pyramid in order to nourish your body with all necessary nutrients it needs to function. I always include complex carbs like sweet potatoes, yams, and whole wheat rice that supply me with energy, lean proteins from poultry, beef or eggs, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from fruits and vegetables like spinach and bitterleaf, cabbage, watermelon and pawpaw,, and healthy fats from nuts and avocados. We’ve created meal plans to help you begin meal prepping with ease because we love you like that!
Health Habit 1: Always create a meal plan and make a grocery list before preparing your meals!
When you’ve come up with a healthy meal plan, a grocery list and shopped for your groceries, then you are ready to start prepping. The first thing you want to do is put all the groceries where you can see them. Next re-arrange your groceries into these categories:
1. Foods that need seasoning and baking, roasting or oven-grilling like meats, fish, burgers, etc and start prepping them.
2. Foods that need chopping, peeling, grinding, blending like carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, spices etc. and tackle these foods next.
3. Foods that need to be stored without cooking like apples, avocado, oranges (except for orange juice) etc.
After you’ve categorized your food, what you will do is bring out any kitchen equipment necessary during the process like knives, bowls, pots, storage containers, spiralizer etc. So now you’re all set and ready to cook up a storm. Ready? Let’s begin!
1. Peel and blend spices. The first thing you want to prepare are the spices for seasoning. If you have grilled fish or chicken on the menu, you want to season your fish and chicken to give it time to marinate while you prep other food. Store remaining spices in a mason jar for later use.
2. Cook the most time-consuming foods ahead of time. If time-consuming foods like Ekwang Kwuko or Porridge are on your menu, these are the foods you want to start prepping. Foods like salads that do not take time should be prepped last or just partly and the rest completed during the week.
3. Prep large quantities of various salad and store in mason jars or storage containers. Salads come in handy each time you feel hungry but don’t feel like cooking or are too tired to cook. All you need to do is grab a jar and fork in!
4. The last items you want to prep are fruits. I usually cut up those fruits that easily go bad and eat those first. Those that last longer are stored whole like apples and bananas. If you have toddlers or young children, it is recommended to cut up fruits into bite sizes and keep them handy so they can easily grab and eat.
5. Storing prepped meals. After you’ve prepped all your foods and packed them in air-tight containers, you will want to store them in such a way that they don’t go bad just after a day. You will normally store cooked food in the fridge or freezer depending on the type of food you cooked. It is advisable to store foods that easily go bad like vegetables on the uppermost compartment of the freezer. Soups and sauces can be stored in the freezer.
Health Habit 2: Store foods that will be eaten last on the top compartment of your fridge where it is coldest or in the freezer.
Health Habit 3: Foods stored in the freezer should be packed in smaller portions to avoid, thawing and re-freezing which increase the danger of food poisoning.
– Start small: If you are a newbie in the meal prepping whole, don’t try to prepp for a complicated meal. Start small, one or two meals plus a snack and a side will get you started just fine.
– Meal plan: There is no way you can prepp meals without thorough planning. So take out your paper and pen and plan! It’s vital!
– Make it a habit: Once you start, don’t stop. Like everything else in life “practice make perfect”. If you want to be a meal prepp pro, you’ve got to do it over and over again!
– Plan for storage: There is nothing as annoying as prepping meals for a week and later realising that you have no room in your fridge or freezer. Ouch! I know this first hand. Make sure to create space for storage and get enough storage containers too.
There you are…see yourself planning and prepping your meals for the next week? Tell us how you did in the comments area below!
Happy and healthy cooking xoxo.