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Simplify Healthy Eating: Meal Prep Tips for Nourishing Meals All Week

Does meal prepping ever feel like an exhausting chore that drains your time and energy, leaving you dreading the entire process? Or perhaps you're trying to make healthier choices, but it all feels overly complicated and overwhelming?

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Getting sufficient protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals supports everything from maintaining energy levels and a healthy weight, to reducing disease risk and promoting longevity. But, in our hectic, modern lives, preparing healthy meals can easily fall by the wayside in favor of quick, processed convenience foods that tend to be high in refined carbs, sodium, and unhealthy fats.

Eating a balanced, nutritious diet is truly foundational for overall wellbeing, but sometimes, healthy eating can seem like another task on our to-do list. But, with some simple meal prep strategies and techniques, you can set yourself up for a week's worth of nourishing meals and snacks without spending hours in the kitchen each day. Having nutrient-dense ingredients ready to mix-and-match makes it easy to assemble flavorful, satisfying dishes in minutes, so you don't get stuck in a flavor-fatigue cycle.

Keep reading to learn five key tips to simplify healthy eating, making it easier to create nourishing meals all week long.

Prep Your Proteins: Lean proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, tofu, and lean beef or bison provide the essential amino acids your body needs to build and repair tissues, make hormones and enzymes, and carry oxygen throughout the body. They're also more satiating than carbs alone, helping you stay fuller for longer.

However, it can be hard to find the time and energy to cook (yet another) chicken breast during a workweek. Instead, pick 2 protein sources to be your go-tos for the week. Cook up a large batch of them over the weekend, and portion them out into individual servings to refrigerate or freeze for easy reheating.

For example, bake a tray of chicken breasts, air fry salmon filets, sauté a few pounds of lean ground turkey or beef, simmer a pot of lentils, roast chickpeas, or cook a few dozen hard-boiled eggs. Having these ready-to-go options on hand allows you to easily add protein to salads, wraps, grain bowls, and more all week.

Stock Up on Easy Veggies: Veggies provide crucial vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber that support overall health. Having pre-washed greens, pre-cut veggies, or frozen/microwavable veggie bags on standby makes it easy to quickly steam or sauté nutrient-packed sides or bases for meals.

Chop veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and peppers and store them in the fridge for meals, or roast them on a sheet pan to have ready for the week. Keep frozen veggie blends like stir-fry medleys, riced cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts to microwave for fuss-free sides.

Look at your grocery store produce section for pre-washed salad greens and veggies like grape tomatoes and cucumbers that don’t require any prep.

Plan Your Carb Sources: Whole grains offer much more blood sugar-stabilizing fiber than refined options, plus additional nutrients like B-vitamins, magnesium, iron and antioxidants. It can be helpful to have quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, farro or other whole grains already cooked to quickly reheat as a base for proteins, veggies and sauces or dressings.

Starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, butternut squash and beets can also make a nutrient-dense carb option. Roast or air-fry extras on meal prep day to reheat later in the week alongside proteins and greens.

Play With Spices: Having an array of dried herbs, spices and healthy sauces/condiments allows you to add tons of flavor to basic dishes without excess calories, sodium, sugar, or unhealthy fats. Stock up on vinegars, mustards, hot sauces or low-cal dressings to quickly perk up proteins and veggies.

Fresh or dried herbs like dill, cilantro, basil, rosemary and oregano are easy ways to make dishes pop and change up the flavor of dishes each week. It can also be fun to experiment with spices from other cuisines too like curry powder, garam masala, chili powder blends or Cajun seasoning. A sauce as simple as sriracha or salsa verde can transform basic grilled chicken, while citrus like lemon or lime juice also brightly accents roasted veggies and proteins.

Portion Out Snacks: During the workweek, it can be tempting to snack on vending machine treats or office snacks, especially when that 3pm crash hits. However, when healthy snacks and a plan are in place, you’ll avoid feeling that 10 out of 10 hunger that often results in sugary and high fat food choices.

To make it easy to make healthy snack choices, portion out grab-and-go snacks to keep on hand. Simple, portable snacks like fresh fruits, veggie packs with hummus or guacamole, Greek yogurt, or small bags of unsalted nuts and seeds can curb hunger and prevent overeating at meals. Spend a few minutes mapping out what meals and snacks you plan to have in your lunchbox each day so you're prepared with the right ingredients, and a plan, on hand.

By implementing these strategies and setting aside some dedicated weekend prep time, you can set yourself up with a week's worth of easy, delicious, nourishing meals and snacks. Having these healthy building blocks prepped and ready makes the difference between impulsively grabbing whatever's convenient and being able to quickly assemble nutritious dishes all week long.

Remember, simple steps build sustainable habits for lasting wellness!

Are you looking for personalized nutrition guidance? Authentic Health Nutrition now accepts most major insurance plans. Click here to book an appointment!

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