Today I want to talk to you about “MEAL PREP”. Lots of people have heard this catch phrase but either find it intimidating or don’t know where to start. “I don’t have time!” or “That sounds like so much effort” are excuses I’ve heard again and again.
Please hear my response:
Yes, meal prep takes time. In fact, caring for your health takes time. It takes effort to plan and prepare meals in advance, set aside time to exercise, increase activity in your busy day, choose healthy options over quick and easy fast food, say no to another social evening in favour of catching up on sleep… You are absolutely right: it takes time and effort.
But what most people fail to realize is that the sickness and disease associated with poor nutrition and subsequent obesity take time and effort by way of doctors’ visits, hospital admissions, sick leave from work… not to mention the money spent on pills, and poor quality of life. I know, because this is what I see every day. My doctor life is spent treating people with chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, dyslipidemia, heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease…. So much of this can be prevented by healthy lifestyle choices and prioritizing your health.
How many of my patients complain that they’re taking TOO MANY PILLS? And yet, many of us aren’t willing to make the effort to prioritize our health when it counts.
So…. Still don’t have time to spend a couple hours on Sunday afternoon cooking healthy food for the week??
I know I’m coming across a little harsh.. but it’s because I feel that our society needs an overall wake-up call and I want to see HEALTHY PEOPLE walking around 🙂 I really dislike sickness and disease! Please value yourself enough to make your health a priority!
How to Meal Prep
1. Choose your protein.
– I like to bake three days of fish. I buy family-size Atlantic salmon (non-farmed) or Black Cod (frozen from Costco), sprinkle with a blackening rub or brush with my homemade miso glaze, then bake in the oven until just cooked through (don’t overcook because you’ll be re-heating!). Honestly though, if that sounds too complicated, sprinkle with a little sea salt, pepper and olive oil, and it’ll taste just as yummy!
– Other options include: baked chicken, lentils, chickpeas, hard-boiled eggs.
2. Steam some veggies.
– Steamed greens keep nicely, just don’t over-cook them. I think most people don’t realize how quickly vegetables cook when you steam them. Broccoli, kale, bok choy and green beans are some of my favourites because they keep well in the fridge. Steaming takes less then 6 minutes! You want them “al dente” – or cooked just enough such that they’re still bright green and crispy!
3. Prepare some carbs.
– My favourite sides are roasted sweet potato, mashed or roasted cauliflower, or boiled quinoa made with vegetable broth.
4. Assemble your meals.
– Ok, this is where you may need to make a financial investment. You need to buy tupperware. LOADS OF TUPPERWARE. I have a gigantic box of different sized tupperware and trust me, I go through them!! (Especially because I pack lunches for my fiance and then never see my tupperware again… ahem!! Are you reading this?! haha) Alternatively, if you’re on a budget, save your old yogurt containers – I do this also.
– Portion your protein into the container, then add your steamed greens (as much as you want!) and about 1/2 cup of your carb. Allow your meal to cool with the lid off before putting everything in your refrigerator. You can typically prepare about 3 days in advance. If making soup, stew or stir fry you could prepare 5 days in advance and it would probably still keep well in the fridge.
5. Prepare your snacks.
– This is key 😉 Most people fail in the snack department and end up in line at Tim Horton’s grabbing a muffin (EGAD! PLEASE DON’T! You might as well go eat a big slice of buttery cake! Come find me and I’ll share my yummy snacks with you! LOL)…
– Slice up a couple apples and seal them in ziplock bags (don’t worry, they won’t brown if the bag is sealed!)
– Place cut up raw veggie slices, like yellow or orange pepper, baby carrots, sugar snap peas.. into small containers.
– Portion out raw nuts: I like almonds and walnuts (approx 20 nuts is one portion size).
– Bake some healthy desserts and portion into tupperware (like my Chickpea Blondies!)