Thinking of giving Sunday meal prep a go? There are several great reasons to get started: you’ll eat better, avoid reaching for unhealthy options on the run, and save yourself loads of time. Here’s how to put the right plan in place and make it work for you because, as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Stick to straightforward recipes that require fewer ingredients and avoid complicated cooking techniques. A good place to start is to decide on your proteins and vegetables for the week ahead, then think about how you can add to them to create delicious, balanced meals.
With your staples selected, think about how you can cook your proteins and vegetables differently. So, if you’ve decided on chicken for dinner on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, split it into three smaller portions and cook each one slightly differently. For example, marinade the first in a honey garlic dressing, skewer the second and coat with a balsamic glaze, and prepare the third with Thai spices. To save time, cook all three portions on one oven tray.
Never attempt a grocery run when you’re hungry – research shows you’re more likely to make bad choices. That said, it’s a good idea to add one or two treats to your weekly shopping list as allowing yourself to indulge every so often is a great way to ensure that you don’t fall off the wagon completely.
Having a few backup meals stashed in your freezer is a great way to cater for evenings when you head to your favourite Elixr Pilates class straight after work, or something unexpected comes up and you arrive home later than planned. Clear containers work best for storage as it’s easy to see what’s inside and, if you choose glass over plastic, you’ll be choosing in favour of the planet, too. You’ll find an extensive list of freezeable and non-freezeable foods here.
Salads may be fresh, delicious and bursting with goodness, but chopping ingredients can be time-consuming, and eating the same combination of vegetables day after day can start to become boring. The solution? Prep a variety of salad ingredients, including spinach, cherry tomatoes, rocket, red and yellow peppers, olives, carrots and quinoa, and pop them in the fridge. Then add your pre-cooked protein (if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, add pre-made chickpea or lentil falafels or black beans), your favourite homemade dressing, and a sprinkling of nuts and seeds, and tuck in!
As much as you want to avoid eating the same greens day after day, it’s also important to enjoy your protein in a variety of ways. So, if you’ve prepped a tray of oven-baked salmon, avoid serving it with steamed vegetables three days in a row. Instead, keep the menu fresh and exciting by trying a salmon and quinoa salad, spicy fish cakes and Thai fish soup.
If you can’t do life before coffee, but you can’t get up in time to make it, think about trying cold brew coffee, it couldn’t be easier. Coarsely grind your beans, then add to water and leave for 12 hours. When the brew is ready, strain and store in the fridge ready to grab and go. And if coffee isn’t your thing, try iced tea instead.
Smoothies are a great way to start the day or give you a mid-morning or mid-afternoon boost. We love to include vegan protein powder, cacao (which has powerful antioxidant benefits), kale, celery, banana, a few berries and greens powder, to keep it low in sugar and full of flavour. By prepping your ingredients ahead of time and storing them in containers in the fridge or freezer, you’ll go from zero to smoothie hero in under two minutes!
If you’d like some expert advice on what you should be eating to help you live your best life, contact our resident nutritionist, Mogestri Pather on 0414 650 515.