I used to believe that I’m too preoccupied to cook at home, or that there wasn’t enough time in the day. We often overcommit ourselves in the belief that we’ll be better off in the long run and that we’ll be able to handle it all.
However, few things are more important than our personal well-being. It became clear to me that I would have to start saying no and removing unnecessary demands from my schedule. Nobody has the time for that, as the adage goes. To my surprise, meal planning had taken on a life of its own and become something I looked forward to.
This is what I do every weekend to get myself ready for a productive, healthy week ahead.
Start by creating a food plan checklist.
In order to plan my meals, I make a list of the things I can make ahead of time and note when and how I’ll accomplish it. Preparing a game plan the night before aids in getting you motivated to achieve your goals the following morning.
Set out to prepare these items for the upcoming Lighten Up Part 3 clean eating challenge:
Serve these strawberry rhubarb and chia parfaits for breakfast or dessert.
Prepare an Asparagus Salad in your kitchen.
Green Smoothie Bowls, of course!
Lentils should be cooked according to package directions (for Lentil Stuffed Grilled Peppers)
Banana, sliced and frozen (for Strawberry Ice Cream)
Cook the artichokes (for Spinach and Artichoke Turkey Burgers)
Cut celery (for snacking)
Set aside pasta while you chop up the red radish (for Spring Vegetable Pasta Salad and snacking)
Chop the green onions (to put on everything)
As a second option, you can throw a party.
I’ll play some music in the kitchen, whether it’s the Beatles or “Classic West Coast Rap” on Songza. It’s a hit with the neighbours. Alternatively, listening to a good podcast can make meal prepping a lot more fun.
How to Make a Week’s Worth of Healthy Eating Easy
All storage containers should be ready to go
Take care to thoroughly clean each container before you begin packing.
Glass Pyrex containers, which may be used in the oven, microwave, freezer, and dishwasher, are excellent food storage solutions. Using the same container for cooking, refrigerating, and reheating your meals saves you time and effort.
Preparing a Healthy Meal Plan for the Week
You can’t go wrong with the classic Mason jars, either.
Clean and prep all herbs and ingredients
For the next 3-4 days, I prefer to prepare all of my fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Soak a batch for about ten minutes in a solution of three parts water to one part vinegar. Rinse them thoroughly, slice them up, and store them in separate containers. It’s now time to get ready for the meals, drinks, and snacks that will be coming up.
Additionally, this is a great way to make use of any leftover items. Having pre-washed and ready-to-use vegetables makes it easy to use in other recipes when you need to buy more than you need. You can find some of the cherry tomatoes in salads this week while others go into baggies to be eaten as snacks.
Cook many dishes at the same time
Cooking while multitasking is a must! The advantage of making meals in advance is that you may maximise your time and resources. The time you’d waste if you had to wash and prep your ingredients, preheat the oven, or wait for the water to boil every night would be enormous.
For Lighten Up Part 3, here are a few tips on how to multitask:
- When boiling artichokes, use the same pot to cook eggs.
- At the same time, roast strawberries, rhubarb (or apple), and asparagus.
- Combine oven-roasted turkey burgers with grilled bell peppers for a quick and easy meal!