The Wholefood Approach
Today we cover the topic of Meal Prepping!
Meal Prepping is a planning method which allows you to simplify cooking. It works around when you have extra time, and saves you time when you just don’t seem to have enough of it. We have all been in situations where you get home after a long day and the last thing you want to do is cook, this usually results in making unhealthy choices that don’t fill your body with the nutrients it needs, and after a long, tiring day – this is when your body needs healthy food the most!
There are two types of meal prepping – one is to completely cook dishes in advance so you just need to heat it or dish it up once you are ready to eat. The second is preparing a range of ingredients to minimise cooking and preparation time when ready to eat.
Meal Prepping 101
- Decide what meals you would like to prepare in advance – either breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.
- Select a day of the week (or even a couple) where you have time to meal prep.
- Decide what you are going to cook.
The great thing with meal prepping wholefoods is depending on the meal they typically last in the fridge for over a week! This means you can make a couple of dishes and mix it up throughout the week.
If you wish to keep the meals longer than a week, you can store them in the freezer.
Some typical meals you can meal prep include:
- Overnight oats – mix all ingredients besides the plant-based milk, then add the night before.
- Warm oats – cook a big pot of warm oats, then each day scoop out serving and simply heat up.
- Breakfast wrap – cook ingredients to go into the wrap, in the morning heat up and place in wrap.
- Yoghurt and fruit – cut up a big bowl of fruit, keep in fridge until ready to serve with yogurt. Avoid cutting apples and bananas in advance.
- A range of sandwich fillings can be made in advance, such as this Chickpea Sandwich. Simply make in advance and then assemble on wholemeal bread/bun when ready to eat.
- Buddha bowls – perfect for meal prepping. See below.
- Salads and dressings
- Mexican bowl
- As above, buddha bowls, salads and dressings, mexican bowl, sushi.
Buddha Bowls make the perfect meal prep option, because you can use a range of ingredients and not feel like you are eating the same thing each day. Here is an example of a meal prep for 3 different dishes (if you make a double batch of everything, you can get 6 meals out of this):
- Select 2 different grains and cook them up. Dish out each grain into 2 containers, for the third container mix the two grains together or use salad.
An example would be brown rice and quinoa.
- Select a range of veggies that you can roast. Cut these up and put into the oven. Add different veggies to each container.
An example would be sweet potato, squash, pumpkin, beetroot, zucchini, cauliflower.
- Select 2 different beans. Dish out each bean to two of the containers, leaving one without a bean.
For example kidney beans and black beans.
- Steam some greens such as kale, spinach, mustard greens, or simply chop and add to each container.
- Finish it off
- Container 1 – make up an avocado sauce on the day – simply mash half an avocado and tablespoon of tahini. Add a little water to thin it into a runny sauce and add some salt.
- Container 2 – Make the tahini, lemon and maple dressing previously provided, this can be made in advance then simply drizzle on top when ready to eat.
- Container 3 (the one without the beans) – make some hummus which can be made in advance. See the recipe here. Add on top of dish when ready to eat.
The other option with meal prepping is to pre-cook some of the ingredients you may use throughout the week to save you time on some recipes. For example, you can batch cook a couple of grains such as rice, buckwheat, quinoa and keep in containers to use throughout the week. You can roast, steam, panfry and grill a range of vegetables to use in different dishes. Potatoes are great to cook in advance because they tend to take the longest to cook. Dry beans can be cooked in big batches and any excess beans at the end of the week can be put in the freezer which will last a long time. Tofu and tempeh can also be made ahead of time and simply reheated.
Recipes and challenges!
Today’s challenge is to choose a day and a recipe to meal prep!
Previously we spoke about habits and how important they are to ensure we are on the right track to achieving our goals. If you select a day where you have time and start to get into the habit of meal planning or prepping food for the week, it will set you up to make healthier choices. Think about a day and time now that best suits you, and work it into your routine each week.
Challenge #1 – Give the Buddha Bowl option above a go, or follow the video below to create a delicious week of meals.
Challenge #2 – Buy some dry beans and soak overnight, the next day cook them in a big pot of water, adding a variety of flavourings such as onion, garlic, rosemary, bay leaves, oregano, sage etc. Store in the fridge to use throughout the week, or put in the freezer for later use.
Try this recipe here for the most delicious BLACK BEANS you have ever tried.