In a busy world, prep cooking healthy meals for the week is the only way I can stay on track. Who has hours a day to spend making meals?
Like most people, I have a lot going on. I have days that I'm up at the crack of dawn and don't get home until 9pm or 10pm. If I want to eat healthy, I have to prep cook my meals for the week. I also don't want to spend my entire Sunday doing this.
Once I figured out my rhythm and was able to keep my prep cooking at 60 minutes or less, I started to love doing it!
MICHELLE'S TIPS FOR PREP COOKING FOR THE WEEK IN LESS THAN 60 MINUTES:
1. PICK ONE DAY A WEEK TO GROCERY SHOP AND PREP COOK. Sundays is my prep cook day. I shop and prep my meals for the week on Sunday mornings. Since I track my nutrition and fitness weeks starting on Mondays, this aligns perfectly for me. If Sundays isn't the best day for you, thats OK, just pick a day that you can commit.
2. PLAN OUT YOUR MEALS FOR THE WEEK BEFORE YOU GO SHOPPING. Efficiency is critical for meal planning. By planning out your meals for the week, you will be less likely to deviate from your shopping list, will make prep cooking much easier, and your weekly meals will be much more cost efficient.
I select a few recipes for the week that incorporate similar ingredients to help keep my meal planning cost efficient. For example, this week I planned the following dinners:
Chicken Vegetable Stir-Fry, Chipotle Chicken Bowl, Fish Tacos, and Coconut Curry with Chicken and Stir-Fry Vegetables.
Since there's plenty of overlap with ingredients, my prep cooking will be much less time consuming.
3. COOK MEATS AND STARCHES FIRST. When I start prepping, cooking my meats and starches is my first step since they take the most time.
Today, I did my ground turkey on the stovetop while cooking rice and quinoa on the two back burners and sauteed my Asian vegetables on the other front burner.
At the same time, I had my chicken breast tenders and my sweet potato cubes in the oven on separate trays.
Don't be afraid of multitasking!
4. WASH, CHOP, AND CONTAINER FRUITS & VEGETABLES. The rest of my fruits and vegetables I wash, chop, and container so they are good to go for the week. These fruits and vegetables will either be added to what I prep cooked when I pull together the actual meal or will be eaten throughout the week as snacks.
When you have fresh fruits and veggies on hand and ready to go, you're less likely to reach for junk.
5. PREP YOUR SNACKS FOR THE WEEK. Scoop single servings of protein powder into snack or sandwich bags to take with you to work. Throw an assortment of chopped veggies into sandwich bags or containers to snack on throughout the day. Hardboil your eggs if you need to or portion out your nuts or nut butters.
6. DIFFERENT WAYS TO PREP COOK. During my sales rep days, I would portion and container ALL of my meals and snacks for the week on Sundays. I would pack my lunch cooler the night before full of my containers for the next day so I only had to grab my cooler and pour my coffee in the morning.
Today, I'm able to be a little more relaxed and I just container my food in categories and take what I need from each container when I'm preparing a meal or putting together a travel container if I'm going to be on the go.
Figure out which way is going to be most effective for you and get started. You'll be amazed at how much time you'll save by prep cooking each week.