Why Meal Prep?
By PW Nutritionist Stephanie Evans
We have all been there. Rushed for work in the morning and grabbing breakfast in the form of a pastry or bacon sandwich from a nearby café. It may seem like an ideal choice at the time but these high carb, low-nutrient foods soon leave you feeling sluggish mid-morning.
By the time you get to lunch you realise you forgot to prep a sandwich or pack last night’s leftovers. This leads you back to grabbing something on the go which more often than not is higher in fat, calories and convenience.
Not only is constantly eating on the go bad for your health, it also takes a toll on your wallet. Whether you buy a croissant on your daily coffee run and lunch a few days a week – it all adds up! This is where getting into a good meal-prepping routine on a Sunday afternoon can be a life saver not only for your waistline but also your bank account – and not to mention saving on food waste too!
How to meal prep?
The first question we get when we mention meal prepping is often ‘but isn’t it difficult?’ and ‘it requires so much planning’ but in reality, it just takes up a few hours of your time once a week - saving you many more hours in the long run! So, how do you meal prep?! There is no right or wrong and it doesn’t necessarily mean eating the exact same meal every day for the next week. Yes, you can meal prep full recipes, but you can also prepare batches of separate ingredients to mix and match in dishes to switch things up each day!
What food can I meal prep?
This bit isn’t as difficult as you may think. You can basically meal prep any food which you know will hold up well in storage and tastes great after a few days in the fridge. These include cooked meats, roasted veg, soup (a meal prep must!), cooked carbohydrates (think rice, pasta, couscous) and raw veg such as carrot, peppers and tomatoes all do well for meal prep options! Avoid foods with a high-water content, or those most vulnerable to oxidation (turning brown). For example, chopped apples, ready-dressed salad and soft foods such as potatoes and bread. On the odd occasion you have forgotten one your deliciously prepped meals, our Slender Blend meal replacement is the perfect alternative! Keep a few sachets in your desk for occasions such as these!
Ideas for meal prep.
Next up is to consider what you are meal-prepping. Is this just lunch? Or do you want to include breakfast and dinners too! Batch making meals such as lasagne, chilli and soups are ideal to store in individual portions in the freezer for longer periods of time if you don’t want to eat the same thing all week. For breakfast, great meal prep ideas often involve preparing a large batch of overnight oats or chia pudding in advance. These will likely keep in the fridge for around 2-3 days and our Slender Porridge would be great made up in this way! If oats aren’t your thing, you could opt for portioning out your smoothie fruit in zip lock bags to store in the freezer. This can easily be whipped out in the morning, mixed with your choice of milk (and perhaps some added whey protein to make it extra filling) for a quick 2-minute breakfast on the go! Or for an ultimate quick meal – simply have a serving of our Slender Blend meal-replacement shake!
When thinking about lunch, you may need to consider your access to a microwave for re-heating meals. If you don’t have an option in the office at work, then opting for cold meals such as our Chicken and Harissa salad or Mediterranean Roasted Veggie Quinoa would be great choices to prepare – these are not only nutritious but also delicious! Just keep in the fridge until lunch time (with your dressing in a separate pot) and you are good to go!
Meal prep can help with weight loss!
Did you know, meal prep has been shown to help people wanting to lose weight? Preparing make ahead meals can help you stick to portion sizes on days you might normally add an extra spoonful on your plate. Not only does it take away temptation, but it also focuses your food on fresh, healthy ingredients which will keep you nourished and satisfied (without those midweek slumps throughout the week). However, a good tip is to not under portion your meals. Making sure you are kept full and satisfied is a must, otherwise you will find yourself heading to the vending machine on your afternoon break!
Finally, if weight loss isn’t your goal but you have been trying to make more muscle gains in the gym, then meal prep can make tracking macros so much easier! If you are carefully watching your protein to carb ratio, then planning your meals in advance takes the daily stress out of what to eat!
Top tips to meal prep well:
- Buy high quality food containers (BPA free and avoid plastic if possible)
- Be prepared for your prep! Choose your recipes and plan your week before you head to the supermarket!
- Schedule in the time to cook! Sunday evenings are most popular. Make sure you give yourself enough time to avoid rushing!
- Cook food you will actually enjoy! Choose meals you love to eat and give yourself food to look forward to!
- Have snacks at hand! Finally, we all have days where we need an extra snack or too. Having a few healthy snacks about will save you in your time of need! Why not try our PW Slender Bars as an ideal handbag snack for on the go!