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March Break Meal Prep {Tips & Tricks} - Dietetic Directions - Dietitian and Nutritionist in Kitchener/Waterloo
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March Break Meal Prep {Tips & Tricks}

March Break Meal Prep

March Break Meal Prep {Tips & Tricks}

We are less than one week away from March Break; do you have your family’s activities planned? After reading this piece, I hope you feel empowered to add “meal prep” to your weekly routine by using my three simple tips.

Meal prepping is a powerful tool for busy people who come home without energy to cook. I think we all know that feeling! Meal prepping involves getting foods ready in advance so that meals can be easily put together. We invest time up front in order to save time in the end! It also makes it easier to eat homemade meals opposed to resorting to restaurant and take-out options.

 

Andrea’s Top 3 Tips for Meal Prepping Success:

 

Tip #1: Have a “Meal Prep” Plan

First, we need to brainstorm ideas for foods that can be prepared in advance. I recommend getting the family together and using a white board or large piece of paper. You can use four quadrants: one for meal ideas (chili, soup, tomato sauce, stir-fry, quiche, fajitas, pizza), one for protein options (hard boiled eggs, roast chicken, BBQ salmon, lentil salad etc.), one for veggies (cut salad greens, sliced peppers, celery sticks, roast veggies) and last quadrant for carbohydrates (brown rice, roast potatoes, quinoa, bulgur, muffins etc.). You can use apps or cookbooks for recipe or meal inspiration.

Next, select two or three foods to prepare and set aside 1-2 hours once a week (Sunday afternoons work well) to do your meal prep! Book it in your calendar and have this be a commitment to your health. You can use foods later in the week; for example, you could cut peppers and celery ahead of time and use them in tuna salad or add to a tomato sauce, soup or chili. You can also plan to store foods in the freezer.

 

Beets

 

Tip #2: Prepare

After we have come up with ideas, we now want to roll up our sleeves and get prepping! When you have your ingredients and cooking supplies out, you can double the recipe and do “planned leftovers”. This way you have a complete meal that can be defrosted on a busy night.   Our motto will be “cook once” but “eat twice”.

For those who are new to meal prepping, start gradually by preparing veggies in advance. Try cutting up celery, carrots or salad greens and putting them in a sealed, clear container in the fridge. The sight (and the convenience) of prepared veggies will increase consumption of these healthy foods! The veggies are also easy to now add to foods like pizza, quesadillas, soups, tomato sauce, stir-fry’s, chili, etc. If you dislike cutting onion (like me), cut extra and put in a plastic bag where it will be good for 4-6 days in the fridge or six weeks in the freezer.

Batch cooking may also involve preparing easy proteins. One of my “go-to” options are my hard-boiled eggs. You will then have them to use in salads, in an egg salad or as part of breakfast or a snack. Store hard-boiled eggs in the fridge for up to 5 to 7 days. If you are roasting or barbequing chicken, cook extra and use leftovers in wraps, chicken salad, salad topping or in a soup or casserole.

 

Pasta

 

Tip #3: Portion!

After you have taken the time to prepare foods, portion and store them in some good containers! I like glass containers for heating up and portioning pasta, stir-fries or chili for quick meals. Different sizes of containers will be helpful when estimating family meal portions. It is also important to have individual serving containers, this way you can pull a meal from the freezer for one. Remember to clearly label all freezer meals.   You can also portion veggies or fruits in single-serve containers and pop them into lunch bags later in the week.

 

Find out Andrea's top 3 tips for meal prepping success! Click To Tweet

Bottom Line:

Meal Prepping allows us to get foods ready in advance so that meals can be easily put together. We invest time first by making larger batches and planning ahead so healthy eating becomes the easy choice. Our motto is “cook once” and “eat twice”.   Make healthy eating convenient comes down to: planning, prepping and portioning! You will love the time-saver and stress-free eating when foods are ready and more convenient than take-out!

Check out Andrea’s Daytime TV segment on March Break Meal prep