SALT LAKE CITY — Lots of people make commitments to ditch the fast food and make more homemade meals, but life moves so fast that can be a steep goal that is quickly forgotten about. Experts say meal prep can be a powerful tool in reaching your health goals.
On the Really Healthy Podcast, registered dietitian Melanie Douglass gives quick tips to simplify your weekly meal prep.
Wash and cut produce immediately
Douglass advises carving an extra hour out of your day, right after you go grocery shopping, to wash and cut all, or most, of the produce you bought. Doing this gives you plenty of grab-and-go snack options, she says.
Pre-chopping the vegetables you plan to use in dinners can save a lot of time, Douglass adds — all you have to do is throw it in the pan. You are more likely to eat the produce if you don’t have to spend time preparing it when you are already hungry, Douglass said.
Double it up
Douglass recommends doubling the portions of everything when you cook a healthy lunch or dinner so that you can pack the extra portions for a meal the next day.
Use Glass Jars
Not only are they appealing to your eyes and trending on Pinterest in the meal prep category, according to Douglass, but it makes storage easier. Jars can be stored vertically and take up less space in your refrigerator.
Douglass told listeners, you can make things like overnight oats, salads and even stir-fry in jars.
Bonus: They are made of glass rather than plastic.
Make one-pan meals
Doing the dishes is often the most dreaded part of cooking, Douglass said. She advised getting around doing too many dishes by making one-pan meals. All you have to do is make sure all of your ingredients fit on one baking sheet.
Some of the suggestions Douglass made include meals like salmon and asparagus or roasted broccoli, sweet potatoes and chicken.
As a bonus, Douglass said, the one-pan hack helps you accomplish the “double up” goal earlier stated.
Swap your sauces… or spices
If you are someone who needs variety in their diet, Douglass said this meal prep hack is for you: roast a whole pan of chicken, fish or tofu on your meal prep day but don’t add any flavor. When you are ready to eat it, add a new sauce each time, Douglass advised.
You can do teriyaki, curry, fajita seasoning or any of your favorite flavors. Make a pot of brown rice to keep in the refrigerator and you’ve got a variety of meals all week.
Plan your meal prep
This one sounds obvious but it may be the most important one, Douglass said. Plan when and what you will make before you go grocery shopping.
Douglass told listeners if you don’t plan you may end up with a bunch of wasted food a week later because you never had time to prepare it.
Last meal prep hack: Don’t meal prep
Douglass identified herself as someone who can’t stick to a plan, therefore, meal prepping does not work for her.
She told listeners it’s ok if you are someone who doesn’t meal prep. Instead, she says, you can take more frequent trips to the grocery store and pick up items fresh.
If you found these tips helpful, subscribe to the Really Healthy Podcast free wherever you get podcasts. The show is also available on the KSL Newsradio App. You can also find Melanie and Scott online here.
Watch the full episode below.
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