If your goal is to eat healthier and balanced, it’s best to start with some new meal preparation ideas. The reason for this is that the biggest challenge in healthy eating has to do with last-minute food decision making: What’s available to me?
The more indecisive you’re at that moment when you are hungry and tired from a busy day and a million other things come to mind, the less likely you’re to stick to a plan to eat nutrient-rich food that truly nourishes your body and gives it energy. When you think about it, at times when hunger is unbearable, you’re much more likely to choose something prepared quickly. And that, unfortunately, is rarely as healthy as you probably would want.
Healthy Food Days Aren’t Popular
This results in creating habits that are difficult to drop. Globally, people are struggling to eat healthily. Our research showed that only 2 out of the 20 most popular food days in the world represent healthy dishes. By adding Google search history of people across the globe to Instagram hashtags they use, both related to food days, we created a ranking in which fast food is dominant. The best-ranked food day related to the healthy dish is National Watermelon Day, who’s 10th with a total score of 61,227.
However, the more you plan ahead, the fewer last-minute decisions you have to make. What’s available? Well, all those healthy snacks and meals you prepared a few days ago! Piece of cake. How to eat healthy without thinking about it? It takes a little bit of an upfront effort that will conserve a lot of your mental energy later and eventually become part of a sustainable lifestyle.
We’ve collected 6 meal prep ideas and tips to help you get the best start to the week.
- Prepare the Oats to Stand Overnight
Overnight oats don’t require cooking and you can make large quantities at the beginning of the week that will last until Friday! All you need to do is mix oatmeal with some liquid such as skim milk, almond milk or yogurt, leave overnight, and add fruit or nuts as desired in the morning.
- Experiment With Salads in Jars
Preparing fresh salads in jars is a lot of fun, it also saves a lot of time, and is the best way to prevent salad to get dry. Pour the dressing over the bottom of the jar, then a layer of nutritious vegetables such as peppers or carrots, then your favorite ingredients (whole grain cereals, fiber-rich beans, dried fruits…). Save the top of the jar for leafy greens. For a meal prepared a few days in advance, place a thin paper towel up to absorb excess liquid.
- Choose Vegetables That Have a Dual Role
Buy foods that you can eat both raw and cooked to make sure to always bring in enough vegetables no matter how much time you have. If you don’t have time, you can nibble on fresh carrots with hummus. If you have time, you can make a smoothie of carrots, beets, and greens.
- Prepare a Weekly Amount of Cereal at a Time
Pre-cook cereals such as quinoa, brown rice, pasta or couscous, and farik for a whole week, and then pack them in one-serving portions. You can also freeze them for a few weeks if needed.
- Make Nice Parfaits for a Great Breakfast to Go
Greek yogurt parfaits are delicious, so you can make breakfast a few days in advance. Place in a food storage containers the plain Greek yogurt, shredded mango or frozen blueberries, finely chopped almonds or pistachios, all sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon. Then put them in a refrigerator. In the next few mornings, you’ll have breakfast to go.
- Make Some Simple Dish and Divide It in a Few Days
Make, for example, a dish of mixed vegetables with beans and grilled chicken and parmesan over, divide it into food containers for an entire week and refrigerate it. Thus, you can get up to five meals for the next week.