Food preparation is one of the most important elements to consider when implementing new food and nutrition habits into your life. Having healthy food readily available and at close range will help inspire you to eat the healthy foods you purchased and resist temptation to reach for unhealthy options or opt for takeaway meals. Keep healthy options in the fridge and pantry at all times! Here are some helpful tips and some good foods to prepare at the start of the week. These will last in the fridge or can be frozen for convenient, last minute meals.
1. PLAN AHEAD: Put time aside over the weekend to stock the fridge/freezer with everything you’re going to need for the week. If you’re well prepared, food prep can happen in less than half an hour! Writing out a meal plan for the week can also save time and stress throughout the week.
2. COOK IN BULK: Especially easy-to-freeze meals like homemade lentil bolognese sauce, soups or stews. Making 3-4 times the amount you need will mean there will be plenty of left overs to store away for later and grab when heading out the door to work or for quick dinners! Having pre-cooked grains and starches such as brown rice, quinoa or potatoes also make throwing meals together super quick and easy. Potatoes are also great snack choices! Cooking beans and have some leftover? Whip up a delicious hummus to use as a dip or sandwich spread throughout the week!
3. PRE-CHOPPED VEGGIES: The perfect snack! Prepare a large container of a variety of chopped veggies and store in the fridge. Keep it at eye level so whenever you are browsing for a snack, these bright veggies will catch your eye in no time. They are fantastic to nibble on with dip or lightly steamed with fresh lemon juice!
4. PRE-WASHED AND CHOPPED LEAFY GREENS: Keep fresh leafy greens in an air tight container, undressed, in the fridge ready to be used as a base for every meal. They can be thrown into smoothies for breakfast, the starting block for salads for lunch or chucked in the steamer with other veggies as a side with dinner. Steamed greens such as kale topped with nutritional yeast and balsamic vinegar makes a delicious entree!
5. STORE READY-TO-EAT MEALS IN READY-TO-EAT CONTAINERS: If food is already in ready to eat serves, you are not tempted to overeat on unhealthy choices which will happen in times when you are tired, stressed or simply cannot be bothered! Heat up a serve in the microwave while getting your fresh leafy greens or side salad prepared and your healthy meal will be ready in no time at all, with very little effort.
6. DON’T LEAVE YOUR FOOD PREPARATION TO THE LAST MINUTE: As the saying goes ‘proper planning prevents poor performance’. Don’t leave your planning until late Sunday night when you are feeling tired from the weekend and can’t be bothered. Food preparation is important, just as you and your health & well-being are important. You can put aside at least 30-60 minutes to help your brain and body thrive for the rest of the week!
By following these tips and meal ideas you have the tools to start the week off on the right foot with a fridge packed full of healthy options. There shouldn’t be any excuse for not being able to find healthy options if you are putting a decent effort into your food shopping and preparation. If you know you will choose to eat junk food over healthy alternatives, don’t have it in the house until you feel more comfortable resisting temptation.
Following a WFPB diet gives you the freedom to eat a large variety of wholesome foods without restriction. Your food does not need to be plain and boring – not every meal is a bland salad! Over time you will start to feel more comfortable cooking foods that may be unfamiliar to you, and your taste buds will change. But trust me, your body will thank you for it.
Til next time.