Creating every meal from scratch can be a lot of work- that's for sure. We get asked all the time how it's possible to make eating real food easy & sustainable, and this is the answer: Meal prep!
We recommend spending one or two days a week prepping your food for the days to come. Spending a little time in advance will save you loads of time later in the week when you're running low on time and energy. Here are our basic tips for making the most of your food prep time.
PIMP OUT YOUR KITCHEN
Buy that fancy cooking utensil that you’ve been eyeballing!
- Collect quality kitchen tools over time, and look at them as an investment in your health. Helpful kitchen tools for cooking Paleo: Large crockpot, large pan, large pot, large cutting board, sharp chopping knives, food processor, blender, Garlic Zoom, vegetable spiralizer, casserole dish, cheese grater (for veggies!).
Buy lots of food storage containers: Glass is best (plastic can leach chemicals into your food that affect your hormones). Single serving containers for lunches and on the go food, and multi-serving containers to store large amounts of food will both come in handy. BPA-free plastic sandwich and snack sized ziplock baggies and heavy duty food freezer bags are also a must for storing all your yummy snacks.
Buy a big old lunch box or bag with space for ice packs to keep food cool during those long days that you are on the go. Something big enough to hold a days worth of food is best!
PLAN YOUR FOOD OUT FOR THE WEEK
Brainstorm your grub!
Browse cookbooks, blogs, magazines, or whatever inspires you and gets your wheels turning about food. Take note of the recipes that look great and their ingredients, and plan to make certain recipes for certain days.
Or opt to keep it simple and plan on eating the basics: grilled meat, veggies, salads, hardboiled eggs, and sweet potatoes. With all this on hand you can mix and match for days! Get creative with spices, sauces, and guacamole and you’ll have tons of good meals at your fingertips.
GO GROCERY SHOPPING
Hit those stores!
Plan out what day and time you are going to go shopping and which stores you need to hit to get all your loot. Schedule it in your calendar if you have to!
· PREP YO FOOD
Get cookin' good lookin'!
Plan out what day/time you are going to prep. Again, put it in your calendar if you have to.
We like the rule of “cook once, eat 2-3 times”. In other words, cook a lot of each meal so you've got ample leftovers for days to come. This way you don’t have to cook as often during the week.
Cook easy staples for the week: baked sweet potatoes, hardboiled eggs, shredded chicken, or anything that's easy but can be jazzed up later with spices, sauces, guacamole, etc. Keeping the basics on hand allow for simple thrown together (but tasty!) meals in a flash.
Make on the go snacks: home made fruit bars, trail mix, jerky, guacamole, etc.
Wash and cut up some fruit and veggies so you have them to snack on raw, toss into smoothies, throw on salads, or quickly steam or sauté with your entree.
Buy boxed, prewashed salad, lettuce, spinach, kale or greens of choice. The time you save not having to wash, dry, chop, and hope they don’t go bad before you eat them is well worth the money in the pre-boxed goods.
Make that one really amazing, fail-safe, go-to recipe that you love, so that you know you have at least one fancy and completely satisfying meal to look forward to.
Use the crap out of your crock pot- it saves so much time!
Parcel out your food into single servings into your to-go bags and containers so that when you are hungry or getting ready for the day, you can just look in the fridge and grab what looks good. No work! Its already done!
Cook a bunch of stuff at once to save time: boil eggs, sauté veggies, have chicken and potatoes baking in the oven. (Just make sure you don’t burn down the house! Safety first, right?)
Freeze anything you don’t think you will eat all of. Having food on hand in the freezer is another great tip for a fast, healthy, easy meal. Try to keep a stash of frozen proteins (fish, beef, chicken), a bag or two of frozen vegetables, and pre-cooked meals in there at all times so you know if all else fails, all you've got to do it defrost.
There you have it! And it's worth mentioning that figuring out the exact amount of food to buy and prep may take some time to dial in, so don’t get frustrated with yourself if the first few times doesn't go as planned, ie too much food that's going to waste. Remember that you are doing something great for your body and the cost of the food that went bad is well worth the experience you get in learning how to incorporate healthy practices into your life).
Hope this helps you make your life easier! Bon appetit!