When we begin to eliminate processed foods from our diets, and we start eating more whole foods we start feeling amazing…and we end up spending a lot more time in the kitchen.
Cooking food from scratch takes longer than cooking processed foods. But it’s totally worth it, and there are ways you can create short cuts.
Meal planning and prepping!
This is one of the first things I work on with my health coaching clients for a reason. Meal planning and prepping can help you save money and reduce food waste, but it’s also the best way to stay on track with healthy eating.
A few tips to get started:
- Look at your weeknight schedule before meal planning. On busy nights or nights you know you’ll be exhausted, plan a meal that’s easy to throw together.
- Use the same ingredients to create multiple meals. This will help you save money on groceries and avoid throwing out food that goes bad.
- If you don’t want to spend 1-2 hours meal prepping on the weekend, meal prep as you make your regular meals on Sunday or Monday.
- Use BPA-free containers, glass containers preferably.
Meal Prep Guide:
Overnight Oats – Fill glass jars halfway with old fashioned oats. Add 2-3 tbsp. chia seeds, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract and 1-2 tbsp. pure maple syrup or honey. Fill the jar the rest of the way with unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Stir to combine. Refrigerate overnight. Eat cold or warm. Top with almond butter, fresh fruit, nuts or unsweetened coconut.
Vanilla Chia Pudding – In a glass jar, combine 1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/3 cup chia seeds, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract and 1-2 tbsp. pure maple syrup. Refrigerate overnight. Top with almond butter, fresh berries, banana slices, nuts or other toppings.
Smoothie Packs – In glass jars or plastic zip top bags, add banana slices, kale or spinach and berries. Freeze. When making a smoothie, add smoothie pack, almond milk and vanilla plant protein to blender. *Make sure you use a plant protein powder made with minimal ingredients and without artificial ingredients. This is my favorite.
Prep grains and vegetables. I love prepping brown rice and quinoa because I can transform them into multiple meals. But you can prep whatever grains you love. I usually prep whatever vegetables I have on hand by sautéing them or roasted them. I love prepping peppers, onions, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, carrots and kale.
Prep your favorite proteins. Throw a few chicken breasts in a crockpot or the oven with chicken broth, salt and pepper, then shred it. Or open a can of black beans or chickpeas. You could even hard boil eggs, or cook tofu, tempeh or ground turkey.
Create your meals. Combine a grain, vegetables and protein.
Add spices to make each meal more flavorful. I love adding chili powder, cumin and chipotle to brown rice, black beans and vegetables. You can top it with guacamole or plain Greek yogurt.
Repurpose your meals and ingredients. To avoid getting bored with eating the same meal over and over again, use the same ingredients to create new meals.
Turn the brown rice mixture into burritos, tacos, stuffed sweet potatoes or breakfast burritos.
Add the quinoa, vegetables and chicken to a soup, casserole or white chicken chili. Add the chicken to whole wheat pasta, marinara sauce and vegetables. Use the chicken in fajitas.
Sliced peppers with hummus
Greens Drink (this is my favorite greens powder to add to water)
- Pre-Workout Energy Balls
- Post-Workout Vanilla Protein Balls
- Cashew Cookie Balls
- Chocolate Superfood Snack Balls
- Vanilla Almond Energy Balls
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls
*Prepping overnight oats, chia pudding, brown rice, quinoa, vegetables, chicken, black beans, sliced peppers and one batch of energy balls took me a little less than two hours. I love listening to audiobooks or podcasts while I meal prep to make the experience more fun.
Ready to stop dieting and create a long-lasting healthy life? Schedule a health coaching consultation today here.