Article by Mel
Have you ever gone on Facebook or Instagram and looked up the hashtag #mealprep? Or checked it out on Pinterest ?
Usually that brings you to a beautiful picture, showing food for 5 days. Breakfast, snacks, lunch & dinner. Every day the same food, the same portion size.
All precooked on Sunday from 1pm to 5pm after having done the shopping in the morning.
As impressive I find these meal prepping pictures, and most of the food really does look delicious: I do not want to eat the same thing every day for the whole week. Plus I have kids. I never know how much they’ll eat. And do they like broccoli today?
What if my father in law invites us over for dinner? And we get to take home the leftovers. Or what if we just really have to order pizza? These kind of meal preps really do not leave any room for flexibility. Plus all the meal planning, measuring and packing… I just don’t see it happening.
But let’s face it. Having meals ready to eat whenever you or the kids get hungry is such a big help. Plus, no need to have the quick fix like crackers or a chocolate bar to tie you over while you are cooking the meal.
So what to do?
Here are some ideas for “meal prep light”:
Cut up raw veggies, like cucumber, carrots, peppers and leave them in containers in the fridge for snacking to to throw in a stir fry or salad. (You could also prepare a dip or some hummus to have with the veggies as a healthy snack)
Cut up a melon or pineapple in bitesize pieces and store them in containers.
Precook some tofu or other protein option!
When it comes to tofu, I like to press mine first, then marinade it for a few hours and then stir fry it…. Sooooo muuuuuch work. Totally worth it to make a triple batch for the next few days.
Cook a big container of noodle soup or rice with veggies & a protein for school lunches.
The cut up veggies & fruits also make it really easy to throw some into a little Tupperware to go to work or school.
Make overnight oats for the week.
I like to fill little containers with a portion of nuts or granola to take a long and put on a soy or coconut yoghurt (I actually have a special little Tupperware for that. It has a larger container for yoghurt (I mix protein powder in it) and a smaller container on the lid for nuts or granola)
Another thing I personally like is pre-making some salads. I pretty much just grab a bag of mixed lettuce, put it in a gigantic bowl, add cherry tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and whatever else I feel like and chop it up.
Then it goes into portion size containers, the dressing goes in a little container on the side (unless you are fancy and have a special salad Tupperware…) and all I have to do is remember to grab some of my precooked protein and taattaaa – lunch is ready.
And you don’t have to do all this on Sundays. You can just do a few of these things here and there, when you cook dinner, just make some extra meat for another day. Always cook an extra portion of veggies… etc
There is something to taking 2 hours on a Sunday to do all this though: it sets you up for a worry free week. At least when it comes to food. And if you have done it once or twice, it won’t feel as daunting anymore.
Give some of this a try and let me know how it goes!