People on social media and food blog writers continually promote the concept of meal prep to maintain healthier diets. Not only is meal prepping incredibly easy, but it also makes eating healthy convenient and fun. The problem that most people have, however, is that they don’t know how to prep healthy meals. They think it is a daunting task that involves hours and hours of prep. That’s a false notion and we are going to illustrate how to prep clean and healthy meals.
What Is Clean Eating?
If you don’t know how to eat cleanly, don’t beat yourself up. Put down the burger and lettuce explain (that was a little clean eating pun to start you off). It’s important to clarify that clean eating is more than looking at labels that say “heart-healthy” or “fat-free.” Major food manufacturers mislead consumers with these terms and people end up buying “healthy foods” that are not healthy at all. To eat healthily, follow the tips below.
Avoid Artificial Ingredients
Artificial means fake, and you shouldn’t eat fake food when so much real food is available. You can identify artificial ingredients by looking for terms like “artificial flavors” or “artificial colors” or artificial sweeteners. Don’t eat foods with artificial anything! They aren’t healthy!
Don’t Eat Processed Foods
Processed foods and artificial flavors go hand in hand because most processed foods contain artificial ingredients. Besides having little to no nutrition, processed foods contain an array of chemicals and preservatives that extend the shelf life. Do your best to avoid foods with shelf lives.
Don’t Forget Fruits And Veggies
Omitting fruits and vegetables from your diet is mistakes one, two, and three on your path to a healthier body. When it comes to meal prepping, you must include fruits and vegetables in your recipes. They should be your first priority! It is also imperative that you eat the rainbow to obtain different nutrients.
Count Your Nutrients, Not Calories
We aren’t saying that you should ignore your caloric intake; rather, we are saying that you should focus on getting your calories from nutritious foods. The calories you get from a hotdog are not equivalent to the calories and nutrients you get from a home-cooked meal that consists of vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
To set yourself up for meal prep success, it is integral to prepare you favorite healthy options in bulk. Don’t be intimidated by preparing a lot of food at once. It is actually a great way to save money, save time, and save yourself from eating unhealthy food!
You Don’t Have To Cook Everything
Most people overcook food, especially when it comes to vegetables. High heat kills a large percentage of the nutrients, which is why it can be beneficial to prepare a few raw meals like salads or smoothies. You can make smoothie bags or divide a large salad into several containers for a couple lunches during the week.
Knock It Out In One Day
It is best to meal prep for the week the same day that you head to the grocery store to buy all your food. Your ideas about meals are fresh in your mind, which makes the preparation aspect fun and exciting. Make sure to do this on the weekend, or whatever days you have off, because you’ll need free time.
Change Up The Standards
You don’t want to make the same salad more than twice. You have to alternate flavors in order to keep you interested in the food. Make a southwestern dressing and add chickpeas, which have been sautéed in taco spices, to the salad with pickled onions, cilantro, and salsa. Instead of doing fried rice, blend some cauliflower and use that as the rice base. Add diced vegetables, sesame oil, liquid aminos, and other seasonings to the pan and enjoy! Check our recipe section for more information.
Pick Your Meals
You can use recipes that you’ve created or find healthy recipes online. The important thing is to choose two or three recipes that have a healthy balance of vegetables, protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. If you want to dive in headfirst and wing it, include at least one item from each column of the following table.
|Green vegetables||Broccoli||Olive oil||Barley|
|Tempeh||Salad greens (arugula, red leaf, spinach, kale)||Avocado||Quinoa (not technically a grain)|
|Wild Caught Fish||Zucchini||Nuts||Wild rice|
|Chia Seeds||Sweet Potato||Macadamia nut oil||Bulgur wheat|
Don’t forget that you need to get solid containers for your prepped meals. Glass containers are best! You can choose containers that have divided areas, but that is up to you. If you have any meal prep questions, let us know in the comments.