How to Make Healthy Meals without Meal Prepping
Do you hate to meal prep? If you’re nodding your head yes then you’re in the right place.
First, we should establish the difference between a meal prep and a meal plan. You can have a plan and do zero prep or you can have a plan and you can prep. Your plan can be as simple as going shopping on a specific day or it can be as detailed as writing out each meal you’ll make throughout the week. The goal? Make it work for you - no matter what you decide.
If you hate to meal prep, try these simple steps to make healthy meals throughout the week:
Stock up on pantry and freezer staples like canned beans, quick-cooking whole grains, pasta sauce, frozen berries, frozen vegetables.
If you’re taking the time to cook, why not do a mini-meal prep in the process? Double-up on servings when cooking roasted vegetables, whole grains, and veggie stir-fry dishes. Package the extra in a reusable container in the fridge to prepare the next day.
Cut corners. Yes, really! You don’t have to make everything from scratch. There are so many delicious and nutritious foods from innovative food companies on the market today. And you can take advantage of frozen and canned produce with a long shelf-life that requires minimal prep. Some stores are carrying frozen meals or frozen meal-starter kits that are won’t make you cringe when you check the nutrition facts panel or ingredient list. A general guideline is to keep it simple when buying convenience products. In other words, if you’re buying frozen vegetables, the ingredient list should simply be frozen vegetables. If you’re buying jarred sauces, avoid those high in saturated fat and sodium. And if you’re buying frozen meals or meal-starter kits, don’t be afraid to add more produce, whole grains, or protein to make a complete, satisfying meal.
Use a meal formula and stick to it. Whenever you’re at a loss for what to prepare, use this simple formula and find a food to fit in each category: protein + vegetables + whole grain + garnish of healthy fats. Proteins can include meat or meat alternatives, vegetables and whole grains are where you pull on pantry/freezer staples, and the healthy fat could be anything from oil used to saute to adding nuts, seeds, or avocado to your meal.
Don’t be afraid to make the swap! If you’re not baking, simple swaps with like-for-like ingredients can help you stay flexible without significantly changing the final result. Think whole grains like brown rice for another type like farro or quinoa, swap veggies of your choice with ones you have on hand, and so on.