As the new year has well and truly begun, it's not uncommon to find yourself struggling to keep up with the craziness of life! Thankfully, meal prep is a simple solution that may bring a sense of ease and organisation into your life. Not only does meal prep save a lot of time, but it also allows you to create meals that are filling, nourishing and wholesome! Meal prep is also a great way to reduce food wastage, because you're most likely going to base your grocery list on your planned meals.
Keep reading for our top meal prep tips...hopefully you can integrate this healthy habit into your life!
Create a list of your favourite meals/recipes that you’re going to create for the week ahead. Don’t choose over-complicated recipes as they generally take longer to prepare and are harder to cook in large batches. If you need some recipe inspiration, take a look at our recipe tab. We've also found it helpful to ‘save’ photos of meals on Instagram and then trace back the recipe and print it off!
2. WASH + CHOP
Once you’ve purchased all your fresh produce, wash everything! This makes meal prepping easier as you don’t have to waste time with this tedious task. We recommend washing all your leafy greens (i.e. lettuce, kale, spinach) and storing in airtight containers to preserve freshness. In terms of softer leaves like herbs, we like to wash + dry them, wrap them in a damp paper towel and pop them in a resealable plastic bag in the fridge. The damp paper towel helps maintain freshness which will make them last longer.
3. MAKE TIME
For a successful meal prep, we advise dedicating 2-3 of hours in your day to get everything done. Also, to ensure you're using this time efficiently, try multi-tasking in the kitchen. This may involve cooking all your stove-top ingredients simultaneously (i.e. quinoa and rice) and maximising oven space by roasting all your veggies on the same tray whilst baking a muesli bar above.
WHAT TO EAT?
When planning meals, it's also worth considering the nutritional content on our plates. Throughout the week, we should aim to consume a variety of foods from the three main nutrients: carbohydrates (e.g. grains), protein (e.g. meat, legumes, pulses, eggs) and fat (avocado, nuts, seeds, tahini). This will help boost the variety of nutrients we're consuming and also increase meal enjoyment and satisfaction. But it's also important to remember that every meal does not have to be 'perfect'. If you're craving pizza or a burger one day, then go for it...life's all about balance!
Here are some examples from the categories listed above:
Grains: rice, quinoa, freekeh, cous cous, barely, bulger, millet
How to: boil or steam
Starchy Veggies: sweet potato, pumpkin, potato, corn, green peas
How to: roast with spices/herbs, boil
Other Veggies: Broccoli, eggplant, bok choy, tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, beetroot, capsicum, cauliflower, mushroom, fennel, asparagus, silver beat, kale, cabbage, etc
How to: boil, steam, roast, raw
Legumes and Pulses: chickpeas, black beans, white beans, borlotti beans, kidney beans, four bean mixes, lentils, split peas
How to: soaked + boiled, washed and drained if canned, sautéed with herbs and spices
Alliums: onion/spring onion, garlic, leek
How to: roasted, sautéed, raw
Seeds: hemp, sesame, pumpkin, linseeds, flax
How to: sprinkle on top, add to dips, roast with veggies
Herbs: coriander, parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme
How to: use as seasoning for roasted veg or keep raw and mix throughout
Dressings: lemon juice, tahini, apple cider vinegar, mustard, tamari
Miso roasted eggplant with roasted tomatoes, brown basmati rice and green string beans
Brown rice with sautéed kale, mushrooms and chickpeas, served with a lemon and tahini dressing
Cous cous salad with roasted pumpkin, beetroot, baby spinach, lentils and sun dried tomatoes
Thai green chicken and eggplant curry with boy choy
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