How to Meal Prep like You Mean It - WellBeing by Well.ca
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Food

How to Meal Prep like You Mean It

Woman making smoothie in a kitchen

Meal prepping can be intimidating. While some might see it as a logistical nightmare, some might see it at some type of meditation. I love the structural aspect of it and how accomplished I feel once it’s done! Start off simple and you’ll master meal prepping in no time.

5 Tips to Get Started with Meal Prep
  1. Reuse and recycle

Equip yourself with helpful kitchen essentials and containers. I recommend getting a set of stackable glass containers. You can use them to freeze, refrigerate, microwave, and transport your food!

  1. Keep ‘em Crunchy! 

We’ve all had boiled boring greyish broccoli before. Not the most appetizing thing in the world, right? The secret to crunchy veggies is the right cooking technique. Blanching is all the rage.

Steam or boil them for a short amount of time (typically 1-5 minutes depending on type of vegetable). You want them to still be al dente. In the next step drain your veggies and blanch them in ice cold water (when I say ice cold I mean ice cold, add a bag of ice cubes to a bowl of cold water and create a cryotherapy kind of treatment for your veggies).

This is a very basic technique but super effective to retain color, taste, texture, and nutrients of vegetables. After a few minutes of ice bath, store them in the fridge, freezer, or use them right away.

  1. Soak it! 

Soaking legumes, seeds, and grains can help reduce antinutrients and increase the bioavailability of vitamins and minerals! Why is that?

Sprouting kickstarts the germination process, liberating the powerful life force inside. Cool, eh? Another reason why I love this process is that it shortens the cooking time. Soaked chickpeas, brown rice, and other legumes and grains cook faster. Just make sure to rinse after soaking before moving on to the next step!

  1. Make it Grain

Grains are filling, versatile, and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You can use pre-cooked grains for stir fries, grain salads, or even sweet breakfast porridges. Cook a large batch of your favorite grains such as brown rice, millet, or quinoa ahead of time and you have the base of your meals for days. When you need them simply add your favorite dressing, a bunch of veggies, and tofu or tempeh and e voila!

  1. Blast Music

The first step in my meal prep routine is always finding a good jam! Turn it up, move, sing, have fun! Meal prepping doesn’t have to be boring and montane. Another favorite of mine is listening to podcasts while chopping away. You’ll see, time will flyyyyyyyyyyy.

The Step-by-Step Guide for Your Weekly Meal Prep

The first thing is to figure out how many meals you need that week. Are you eating mostly at home or are you eating out? Is it just you or are kids part of your meals?

I’m going to guide you through one week of prepping meals (Monday to Friday) assuming I only cook for myself and that I’m going to eat out once or twice!

Number of meals to prep:

Breakfasts: 5

Lunches: 4

Dinners: 4

Now that you figured out the number of meals let’s chat about meal types. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks should be included.

Breakfast

Brekky is the favorite part of my day. I’m an all-day breakfast kinda girl so this is clearly where my passion lies. Two of the easiest breakfasts to prepare are ONOs (overnight oats) and smoothies or smoothie bowls.

I need five breakfasts, so three of them will be overnight oats and two will be smoothies!

For smoothies I’ll take two biodegradable bags and add one cup of frozen fruit and half a banana into the bags, label them, and pop them into the freezer.

Let your creative juices flow for ONOs. You can combine any flavors you want.

The trick is to mix oats, liquid, sweetener, chia seeds, and spices together in a jar, pop the lid on, give it a good shake to combine, and store it in the fridge overnight. The next morning simply add fresh fruit, nut butter, or any other toppings of your preference. So good and ready in no time!

Add to shopping list: oatmeal, bananas, plant-based milk, chia seeds, frozen mixed berries, baby spinach, almond butter, maple syrup 

Lunch! When 12 O clock finally hits…

Lunch should be filling but not heavy. One option is to finish leftovers from dinner of the day before. I’m a sucker for leftovers but I totally understand if that’s not your jam.

Salads, noodles, and sandwiches are easy to prepare and don’t sit heavy in your stomach!

Add to the shopping list: rainbow of veggies, leafy greens, beans, tofu and tempeh, seeds, soy sauce and other condiments such as extra virgin olive oil and vinegar.

Winner, Winner, Chickpea Dinner

Sushi bowls, burrito bowls, you name it. Bowls are a great way to use leftovers! They look pretty and are real nutrition bombs! Reach for different grains, potatoes, chickpeas, veggies, tempeh, maybe even vegan cheese! Another fave is “pulled pork” with jackfruit!

Add to your shopping list: potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegan cheese, grains (millet, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth…endless options), abundance of veggies (should be on the list already), pasta, jackfruit, tomato sauce

Snacks, Snacks, Snacks

I know it’s easy to cut up some fruit for the week but who’s crazy about a brownish apple in a Tupperware? No one!

Boost your fruit with something like an energy ball, a delicious hummus recipe, or even trail mix!

Add to shopping list: Fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, trail mix, dates, chickpeas, tahini, lemons

Now you’re all set! Get your notebook, make a list, turn up the music and get preppin’. You’ll see how much time you’ll have during the week nights!

Julie Zeitlhuber, MSc. is a nutritional scientist and certified personal trainer who works at Vega® as an Education Specialist. When Julie is not geeking out over scientific articles, you will most likely find her cruising around on rollerblades or on her bike. Julie’s passion for food and nutrition started at very young age. Ever since she loves whizzing up nutritious and delicious magic in her kitchen and encouraging clients to take ownership of their health

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Please Keep In Mind

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness. You must consult with your professional health care provider before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking, varying the dosage of or ceasing to take any medication.

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