Food prep is one thing I started doing this past year that has made a huge difference to improving the food choices I make, and this means achieving a healthier, leaner body.
Taking time out every Sunday or Monday to #1 shop and #2 cook up some staples for the week ensures that when I come home starving and craving something quick and easy I don’t resort to my old stand by crackers and cheese. Plus it totally helps with my kids lunches, there is always something healthy on hand which is easy for them to put together.
Here are my go to items for my weekly food prep.
I’ll be honest, the best recipes I re-use over and over come from sharing, searching, and tweeking to suit my own tastes, I’d love to have the time to create my own from scratch, but I just don’t. Instead I add in/ take out or find a substitute with what I have handy, and voila, keep that one for the records (well most of the time 🙂 Bon apetite!
1) Veggie Tray– Raw veggies make a great snack. They’re easy to prep ahead of time and you can throw them in your lunch box, the kids can pack them in their lunch or munch on them after school or you can enjoy some while making dinner with your bean dip! Left overs end up in the soup mid week.
- I alternate between carrots, broccolis, red peppers, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, celery, cauliflower and cucumbers. Oh, and homemade pickles. Make your tray a rainbow of different colors each time to get a full variety of different vitamins and antioxidants into your diet.
- I peel and cut my carrots and store them in a tupperware with some water. Every day I run cold water over the remaining carrots and change the water.
2) Breakfast Foods– There are tons of great breakfast options that you can make ahead of time so you don’t have to spend time cooking in the morning. This also gives you no excuse to skip breakfast!
- I make a batch of banana breakfast oatmeal cups very weekend and freeze them so they stay fresh and are ready to go.
- If you like oatmeal, you can prep some overnight soaked oatmeal so you just have to dump it into a bowl and microwave each morning, or you can make a smoothie cup, ready to blend and go.
- If you like baked goods, make a batch of healthy muffins.
- If you like smoothies in the morning, prep the night before with all the ingredients so all you have to do is add ice and blend.
3) Whole Grains – It’s easy to cook up a big batch of your favorite grain to have on hand. Cook it on Sunday and add to meals during the week.
- Try brown rice, quinoa, and brown rice noodles for wraps.
- If you have time, you can make your own bread and tortillas. It’s easy to do and you know exactly what’s going into them. I use a bread machine, makes life easy on me because my family really likes their sandwiches and takes less then 5 minutes.
4) Snacks – This one is especially important for me because I like to eat every 3-4 hours or I just don’t feel good. I like to have simple things I can grab on the go, throw in my gym bag if I am not coming right home, or just be able to eat when I do come home starving. There are tons of snacks that can be made ahead of time to help keep you from reaching for unhealthy choices. I try to make sure my snack has a good balance of Carbs, Protein, and a healthy fat to keep my blood sugar even and feeling satisfied between meals.
- Here are some simple ideas and my no- bake desert bars. Healthy_Snack_Ideas
5) Greens for Salad– I’ve found that having salad greens washed and ready to go will increase the likelihood that my family will eat a salad with dinner. You can use leaf lettuce, spinach, kale etc.
- To prepare my greens, I cut them, wash them well, spin them dry and store in a ziploc bag with a paper towel. Make sure to press out as much air as possible each time you open the bag.
- 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.
- I buy my spinach already washed, put a paper towel in the bag or container to keep it lasting longer.
6) No Bake Desert Bars- for when I am having a sugar craving. (Found here: 20_Healthy_Snack_Ideas)
7) Lean Proteins – If you’re a meat-eater, why not cook some of your meat head of time for less weeknight cooking.
- Choose your favorites like organic chicken, wild salmon, grass fed beef, burgers (meat or veggie) and try baking, roasted or grilling them.
- Put your crockpot to good use and cook up a roast or Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken.
- Use these cooked proteins during the week in sandwich wraps, on salads, in casseroles, etc!
8) Fruit Salad– Pretty much anything goes! This is a great way to get a variety of fruit into your diet. Can use in your smoothies, green drinks, as a snack or desert.
9) Beans / Bean Dip–
- You can add beans and legumes to casseroles, soups and salads or use them to replace meat in your favorite dishes.
- Try these Greek Bean Burgers for an easy weeknight dinner that you can make ahead of time.
9) Soup – I usually make this 1/2 way through the week with what ever left overs are kicking around and the broth from cooking my chicken.
- Choose low-sodium broth, or better yet- make your own. You can always make extra and freeze. Just defrost when needed!
- Add tons of veggies! Frozen veggies work great in soup and are packed with nutrients.
- Add some protein- choose your favorite meat or opt for some high-fiber beans or lentils
- Add some whole grains if you’d like! Use your left over rice or quinoa.
10) Hard Boiled Eggs – These are great for almost any meal. Boil them on the stove.
- Grab a couple for an afternoon snack.
- Slice them up and add to salads for lunch or dinner.
- Mash and make an egg wrap or sandwich.
Of course there are tons of other foods that can be prepped ahead of time for a healthy week…these are typically what I prep. And don’t forget to check to see if your salad dressing needs topping up too!