Our top 5 meal prep tipshttps://navawholefoods.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Beans.jpg900600Nava WholefoodsNava Wholefoodshttps://navawholefoods.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Beans.jpg
Meal prep is a great tool when working towards achieving your fitness goals and maintaining health and wellness during your busy weeks. They say our results come from 20% exercise and 80% nutrition, so it is clear that what we eat has more of an impact on our health than any other factor. Being organised nutrition wise and having meals and snacks prepared will mean you are less likely to skip meals or reach for poor food choices.
It can seem like an over-whelming task, but these are our top tips to simplify it and make it a streamlined part of your week. Some people choose to prep full meals, while others choose to prep separate elements such as roasted sweet potato, cooked quinoa or even bake a healthy vegan banana bread for snacks. Whatever your style, our top 5 meal prep tips are sure to help.
1. Eat fresh local plant-based foods
Plant-based foods spoil slower than meats, so aim to buy in season locally grown produce. It is generally tastier, fresher and more affordable too. Get to your local farmers market on the weekend and stock up on a variety of vegetables, fresh herbs and fruit. Plants are rich sources of many nutrients that are vital for health, including unsaturated fats, vitamins (such as folate), minerals (such as potassium), fibre and protein. Research has shown that eating a plant-based diet is linked to lower risk of obesity and other chronic diseases, such as inflammation, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. So not only will your prepped meals stay fresher longer, they will be bursting with health-boosting nutrients too.
2. Treat yourself to good quality containers
Glass or stainless steel containers and jars are the way to go! We recommend you treat yo’self and pay a little more to buy a set of good quality containers that will last the test of time. Having enough on hand means you can prep and pack straight into them for individual portions that you can grab on-the-go. Glass jars are great options for overnight oats, bircher muesli, smoothies and even salads that you can layer up.
3. Schedule in two meal prep slots a week
One day a week is generally good enough to get you prepared for the week ahead, but a mid-week top up is good to schedule in too if you prefer having fresher meals available. Do as much as you can on the first meal prep day to make the rest of the week as easy as possible. We often find that Sunday afternoon or evening is a good time to roast up a big batch of veggies (such as sweet potato, cauliflower and zucchini), cook up a pot of quinoa for salads, make some portioned out bircher muesli breakfasts pots, pre chop vegetables for snacks and sort whatever other prep we need for the week ahead. Then putting some time in on a Wednesday night is ideal for topping up to get you through the rest of the week. See what days and times work best for you and stick to them!
4. Keep a serving of protein on hand
Portion out a scoop of your favourite protein powder into a container to keep in your bag or at your desk at all times. This way if you are ever in the situation without a prepped meal or are still feeling peckish after lunch, you can have a quick pick me-up to tide you over to your next meal. It is also an easy way to help reach your macronutrient goals and get sufficient protein in your diet. Protein is used by every part of the body to develop, grow and function properly.
5. Pre-chop fresh fruit and veggies
Having chopped fruit and vegetables makes meal time so much faster during the busy week. Keep fresh celery sticks in containers to take with you on the go or to snack on while cooking dinner. Pre-chop vegetables for use in salads, stir-fries, curriess or to roast up in the oven with olive oil and pink salt. You can also chop ripe fruit such as bananas and strawberries and freeze them to add to smoothies or smoothie bowls in the morning. Frozen bananas add a nice creamy texture and can be added to your oatmeal too for some natural sweetness.
We’d love to know what your favourite meal prep tips are? Let us know in the comments below.