Have you ever wanted to be the person who’s always top of her food game – whose laziness never seems to strike, and whose perfect meals are always featured on Instagram? Well here’s a hint: meal prep! These individuals aren’t some modern-day myth with their lives together, who cook a healthy, gourmet meal every night. They simply take time one night before the week starts, and voilá, instant meal wizard!
1. Pick a base
With every great meal, there is a base. For healthy meal prepping, bases such as whole wheat pasta, quinoa, or brown rice tend to work best. These grains are not only filling, but are also a vital part of hitting all the major food groups at each meal. Choosing your base sets the mood for what you’ll be eating for the week, so choose wisely!
2. Choose a Protein
In any good dish, there should be some sort of meat, tofu, or tempeh to go along with it. Chicken, turkey, or tofu are some of my favorites! They go with almost all flavors and are known for being lean, low-fat meats and/or substitutes. For about four meals, I cook two fairly large chicken breasts in olive oil on a pan. Then, I cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and add it to all of my meals for the week!
3. Next up: Sauce
If you’re the kind of person that is fine eating the same thing every day for a week, then, by all means, choose your favorite sauce and drizzle it all over your meals this week! If not, however, choose a variety of sauces, such as an oil-based sauce, a teriyaki-based sauce, or a sauce like Cafe Yumm’s famous Yumm Sauce. My go-to’s are Yumm Sauce and Trader Joe’s Stir Fry sauce. These two distinctly different flavors keep me satisfied and still excited about what I eat!
4. Don’t Forget Veggies!
This is your opportunity to have fun with your meals. Choose vegetables that go with all of the meals you’re making. Some good options are onion, corn, tomato, avocado, beans, and peas. If you have a hard time figuring out what goes with which flavors, or are just frankly too lazy to go grocery shopping for that many different items, Trader Joe’s makes an “Asian Stir Fry” vegetable mix that is perfect for all things rice-bowl-related.
5. Final Touches
The key to meal prepping is dedicating a period of time to cooking larger quantities so that you don’t have to cook throughout the week. So, once you’re done cooking your grain, your protein, and your veggies, divide them all into equal portions for however many days you want meals for and package them into containers in the fridge. Keep your sauces separate so that food does not get soggy after soaking in sauce for an extended period of time. When the time comes, you can just pull out one container and your meal is all ready to go!