Whether you’re prepping for a big meeting, rushing the kids out the door or cramming for an exam, we all know how easy it is to neglect to nourish yourself properly once the week has begun. After a busy day, whipping up a tasty, nutrient-rich salad for tomorrow’s lunch can feel like the lowest priority; but leaving the house empty-handed makes it all the easier to reach for quick-fix meals and snacks.
So say hello to your time-, money- and waistline-friendly solution: Sunday meal prep. We’ve compiled our top tips to help set your week on the right track:
Plan, plan, plan
That’s the meal prep mantra. If you know what you’re going to eat, and you shop and prep accordingly, you’re less likely to deviate from this. Simple. And as well as boosting your intake of healthy, nutritious foods, a meal plan will help you minimize waste.
One great tip is to adopt a ‘cook one, eat all week’ mentality: roast a chicken on Sunday with fresh herbs and lemon, and then strip off all the meat. You can then portion it throughout the week into salads, wraps, risottos… The more variety, the better.
Similarly, a bag of leafy greens doesn’t have to spell salads all week – use them to bulk up soups, in low-cal wraps, or blended into smoothies.
Stack it up
Good containers are the cornerstone of meal prep: as well as saving you time and money, assembling food in single-serve batches means you’re less likely to overeat. So stock up on sturdy stackable containers and jars, which will keep your food fresh and your willpower in check!
For a delicious noodle soup load a mason jar with pre-cooked noodles, vegetables, a protein of your choice (chicken or tofu are great options) and a rich flavor base – think soy sauce, ginger, miso paste. At lunchtime simply add boiling water.
Or if salads are more your thing, keep them fresh and crisp by adding your dressing to the jar first, followed by bulkier ingredients like grains and proteins, leaving the leafy greens till last.
The freezer is your friend!
Particularly when it comes to those busy weekday mornings. We recommend pre-made smoothie packs – prep your chosen fruits and greens and freeze in individual portions, so that in the morning you can just blend & go; that way there’s no excuse to grab that sugar-loaded pastry.
And with a bit of preparation even hot, comforting breakfasts can be ready in minutes. On Sunday cook a big batch of oatmeal, portion it into a greased muffin tin – adding toppings such as dried fruits, nuts, and nut butters – and then freeze; in the mornings simply pop one of your frozen oatmeal cups into the microwave for a nutritious breakfast that will keep you energized until lunch.
Preparing all these meals in advance might seem like hard work but you’ll be amazed how quickly this kind of habit-establishing can boost results and help keep you on track with your toning plan. Win win!