Nutritional 'Did You Know': Mastering Meal Prep

Most of us live busy, over-scheduled lives. We are running from one activity to another and don't have much time left for things like healthy eating. So how do you keep your nutrition goals on track without time each day to construct the perfect meals and snacks? With a little planning, meal prep can take out the guesswork and help you stay consistent.

Before you can start mastering meal prep, you first must know correct portion sizes and what a healthy meal looks like. We want lean proteins, fats, carbs and vegetables in every meal. Check out this post to figure out correct portions - you can even use your hand to estimate!

Once you know the portions you should be using, it's time to start planning:

  1. When you have a little free time, maybe early morning on the weekends, take a look at the week ahead. Decide which days and meals you need to have ready to go.
  2. Make a menu. Decide what you will be making ahead of time and write down all the ingredients. One pot meals are a great option - think soups, chili or casseroles. Make a list for the grocery store.
  3. Time to shop. Hit up the grocery store and stick to your list.
  4. Cook your meals and pre-portion your snacks for the week. Make sure you put separate portions in separate containers or bags so there is absolutely no guesswork - just grab and go! Place your food in the refrigerator if you are planning to eat it that week, or the freezer for long-term storage.

Here are a few meal options:

  • Broccoli and chicken bake
  • Bean chili
  • Burritos
  • Spaghetti squash with meat sauce

And a few snack options:

  • Trail Mix: Combine nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Portion out ½ cup into separate bags.
  • Yogurt and berries: Buy a big container and portion out ½ cup into separate containers. Add frozen berries (which should defrost by the time you eat it!).
  • Hard boiled egg and crackers

Want more ideas? Check out this post from Iowa Girl Eats.

Allison Raines 
BHC Nutrition Coach

Ballard Health Club