I posted this back in December but with summer upon us I speak to so many people who find food prep the most challenging part of living a healthy lifestyle. I break down the process in easy manageable steps so anyone can reap the time freedom benefits of prepping their meals.
There are a million tips out there on how to lose weight and get healthy:
The list goes on and on. There is a billion dollars diet industry out there!! We have more information than ever before on health and exercise but there are more obese people in America than ever before. There are a million reasons why but I always like to keep things simple. For me the easiest way to control what you eat is to cook as much real food as possible at home.
I know that takes time and who has time right. But I look at it this way I would rather take the two and a half hours a week now to prep and cook real food than take the countless hours later visiting doctors and feeling horrible later.
So here is my magic bullet the number one thing I tell my clients and anyone who asks “how do I do that?” Here are my food prep basics:
1- shop once a week: whole foods that are not processed do not last as long as things in boxes and cans. This means that you really can’t stock up on fresh veggies and fruit because if they are not consumed they will go bad. After a couple of weeks of cooking for your family you will figure out how much you need to buy. The key is to save time and visit the grocery store once a week I like Saturday early morning or Thursday night (great time to avoid crowds)make a list stick to it and make sure you eat before you go, cravings because you are hungry are costly.
Quick tip: if fresh is not an option because of finances I would buy frozen then canned in that order)
2- plan out your menu: this takes about 10 minutes and I usually do it while I am writing my shopping list. My family sticks to the same schedule week to week and it looks like this :
Slow cooker Sunday
Monday Leftover slow cooker with a veggie
Wednesday stir fry
Saturday potluck (we usually order out or go out as a family)
3- cook proteins in bulk: this means grill a couple pounds of chicken, cooked some ground turkey or grass fed beef, make a chili in the slow cooker. Hard boiled eggs also store well or cook quickly to make a fast protein packed breakfast. Once these are done they are the base for each of your meals. This also makes it easy for you if you have kids eating at different times because of after school activities. Proteins can be reheated quickly and mixed with veggies to have a complete meal.
4- roast veggies: I love roasted broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts and they keep well in the fridge. Spinach and kale I like to sauté the night of with garlic and olive oil.
Seasoning is key. I love Flavor God seasoning or Mrs. Dash. Don’t want to get fancy salt and pepper always works
5-carbs are not evil: they are an important part of a balanced diet. What matters is the quality of carbs. I roast some sweet potato (I bake them as fries so my little one can enjoy them too)or squash, make some brown rice and always make sure I have oatmeal and Esiekal bread on hand.
6- Fats are your friend: fats are great a an important part of balanced nutrition. Much like carbs it is the quality that counts. I make sure I have a good coconut oil on hand for cooking, olive oil for dressing salads, lots of avocados and nut butters in the kitchen too.
7- I cook on Sunday and Wednesday each week for about an hour and a half. I put my slow cooker on Sunday morning before church.
It may seem like a lot of work but the small amount of prep will save you tons of time and stress in the long run. You and your family will always have home cooked whole foods ready for every night of the week.