The Basics of Weekly Meal Prep

Weekly Meal Prep

When it comes to eating healthily and avoiding take-out food full of salt, sugar and saturated fat, preparing your meals in advance is the No. 1 key to success. When things get hectic, you’ll thank yourself for taking some time out of your weekend to make a few healthy, easy-to-reheat meals.

The more thought you put into your weekly meal planning sessions, the easier it will be to stick to your healthy eating goals on busy weeknights when the drive-thru starts calling.

It’s important to start the meal prepping process with plenty of portion-size containers. Dallas Weight Loss Surgeon, Dr. Dirk usually recommends his patients eat smaller meals more often, so choose containers that will hold exactly the right amount of food to fill you up without overeating. You’ll need to stock up on plastic or glass food containers for meals and zip-top snack bags for smaller bites.

Next, plan your meals for the week ahead. Choose at least lean protein, one vegetable and one starch per meal. Even if you don’t eat it all at once, it’s a good rule of thumb.

For your meats, try using different marinades or spices to keep things interesting throughout the week. In fact, you can even cook chicken three ways in one pan.  While it might take a few extra minutes, the best pre-prepped meal is the one you will actually eat — so make sure it tastes good, and give yourself some variety.

For vegetables, you can chop up some of your favorites to eat raw, or cook them to bring out their flavors. You can roast lots of different vegetables on one pan, and then separate them into portion-sized containers to provide variety throughout the week without taking up too much prep time.

Once you have your food for the week prepped, put it in the refrigerator or freezer, depending on when you plan to eat it. Then, you’ll only need to reheat and enjoy!


Healthy Meal-Prep Tips

meal-prep tips

Packing lunches and cooking breakfast can take up so much time that you may be tempted to just hit the drive-thru on the way to work or swing by the cafeteria at your school or office. Avoid temptation by making these easy grab-and-go meals in advance.

Breakfast

Smoothies: Over the weekend, blend together a variety of fruit, leafy greens, Greek yogurt and/or all-natural peanut butter and freeze the mixture in muffin tins to make portioning a breeze. When you’re ready for a smoothie, just pop out a few of the frozen disks and blend them up with the liquid of your choice for a fast, convenient breakfast.

Oatmeal cups: Muffin tins to the rescue again! Prepping a healthy breakfast in these perfectly portioned pans is a great way to get to work on time and eat a nutritious breakfast that will hold you over until lunchtime. This recipe for baked oatmeal cups provides fiber, protein and healthy carbs all in one handheld serving.

Steel-cut oatmeal: Steel-cut oats are the least-processed (and therefore most fiber-packed) kind of oats you can buy, but they also take an inconveniently long time to cook. Make your steel-cut oats in your slow cooker in advance and eat oatmeal for breakfast all week. Try healthy toppings like nuts, unsweetened coconut, natural peanut butter and fruit to mix things up.

Lunch

Mason jar salads: If you never pack a salad for lunch because you know it will be soggy by the time you eat it, try making your salads in a mason jar. Layering the ingredients in the right order prevents delicate ingredients, like lettuce, from getting soggy. When you’re ready to eat, dump your salad into a bowl for an easy, nutritious lunch.

Egg cups: Eggs aren’t just for breakfast anymore! Use your trusty muffin tin to make your own mini-frittatas in advance. Mix scrambled eggs with veggies, lean meat and just a little bit of low-fat cheese for a well-rounded lunch that’s perfectly packable.

Skewers: Skewers are another simple tool that can help you keep track of your portions and make lunchtime fun. Skewer ingredients like lunch meat, shrimp, grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, low-fat mozzarella balls and fruit on a kabob stick for a colorful and convenient lunch.

Happy packing!