Busy schedules are often the main reason for not eating healthy. We find ourselves in the middle of the week with no food in the refrigerator and no motivation to cook after a full day at work. That’s why meal preparation is vital to our success in eating nutritious foods on a daily basis. Planning, prepping, and packing each meal, not only saves you time throughout the week, but also allows you to enjoy healthy foods, stress free.
PLAN. Behind every good meal prep, is a good meal plan. Planning meals prevents any “we have nothing at home, so drive thru” scenarios. Designate time once a week for planning out your meals for the entire week-breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Some tips to consider while planning:
- Include healthy food choices you know the whole family will eat.
- Batch cook plan for breakfast- this makes mornings much less chaotic.
- Plan for leftovers- for lunch or another night of the week. This is always a good option in saving time, money and minimizing plate waste.
After you’ve decided each of your meals, write down the ingredients and amount needed in each meal, and head to the grocery store!
PREP. Once you’ve gone to the grocery store, it’s time to prepare your meals.
- Cook all of your proteins or marinade the ones you don’t want to cook just yet, so you can easily cook them the night of. Freeze any meats you will not be using within the first few days of the week for best quality.
- Wash and chop all fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Batch cook breakfasts- scramble eggs, cook bacon and sausage, make breakfast casseroles or low carb muffins
- Put together all lunches for the week.
- Prep healthy snack options- hard-boil eggs, portion out nuts into baggies, divide hummus and vegetables in containers
PACK. Pack your refrigerator and freezer, based on when you will be eating each meal. Included below are recommended safest lengths of time to store certain foods, according to FDA guidelines.
- Cooked ground meats: 1-2 days
- Cooked whole meats: 3-4 days
- Cooked fish: 3-4 days
- Fresh eggs: 4-5 weeks
- Lunch meats: 1 week
- Hard-boiled eggs: 1 week
- Meats or meals that you are not going to use within 3-4 days. Move to refrigerator the morning of to thaw.
- Fruits: 3-4 months
- Vegetables: 8-12 months
For easy, nutritious meal ideas, visit https://www.vitalsignswellness.com/vitalmeals/ and sign up for Vital Meals.