Meal prep is the key to your sanity in the kitchen, where no rules apply, and anything is better than nothing.
I have partnered with Dannon® Light & Fit® in order to share meal prep tips. I have been compensated for my time commitment. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.
Meal prep makes life a lot easier when it comes to healthy eating and the great news is that there are no rules! Some people might want to prep all their dinners for the week, some might only want to do lunch, while others just benefit from cleaning and cutting produce ahead of time.
I have a husband and 4 kids so packing lunches consumes almost more time than making dinner, therefore that is where I like to focus efforts. It’s amazing that just a little meal prep can bring more balance to my week.
Aim to stock up on at least a few different food groups, if not all of them.
- Protein– helps keep us satisfied and feeling full longer. There are many options from vegetarian sources like beans, nuts, nut butters, tofu and animal products like beef, chicken, turkey, ham and eggs.
- Carbohydrates (especially whole grains)- provide us with energy, fiber and antioxidants. I like to make one batch of a whole grain like quinoa or pasta. Brown rice crackers are also a great choice.
- Fruits– generally low calorie per serving and vitamin packed, fruit provides us with natural sweetness and fiber. The variety is endless- whole apples, peaches, nectarines, grapes and berries make the top of the list.
- Vegetables– also lower calorie and packed with vitamins, vegetables are an important part of our diet. Grape tomatoes, celery sticks, spinach salad, mini bell peppers, cucumber slices and baby carrots are easy to prep ahead of time.
- Dairy– you can bet there is always yogurt and cheese involved in our meal prep. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend increasing intake of nutrient-dense foods, such as fat-free or low-fat dairy products, like yogurt. Yogurt is nutrient-dense and can be a good source of protein, calcium and vitamin D.
If you are looking for a good choice to stock your fridge with, Dannon® Light & Fit® offers a delicious variety of products to fit any eating occasion. Light & Fit® Greek yogurt contains 80 calories and 12 grams of protein per 5.3 oz. My kids love their flavors especially the strawberry cheesecake- check out the other flavors here. With some fresh fruit and granola, it’s often the main course of their meal!
Some ideas for lunch and snack meal prep are :
- Wash and cut fruit such as melon, pineapple, grapes, strawberries
- Boil eggs
- Wash, cut and package veggies for lunches
- Stock up on individual yogurts and cheese sticks and take them out of the original package
- Divy up individual portions of protein such as hummus, cottage cheese, ham or turkey slices, grilled chicken, etc.
- Make homemade energy bite, granola bar, oatmeal bar, muffins etc. Freeze this item if needed.
- Make and freeze sandwiches- chicken and cheese, peanut butter, homemade Egg sandwiches can all go in the freezer
- Try a make-ahead breakfast burrito (this can also be frozen)
- Cook and store some sort of whole grain carbohydrate like quinoa or pasta.
Storing your food in small see-through containers in the fridge is not necessary, but it sure is helpful. It gives you a visual of what you have ready and as it starts to empty, you can take a few minutes to restock.
Doing the above really helps lunch come together in no time and it makes my dinner prep easier because I am not spending as much time on lunches. When I don’t do this prep, I always feel more frazzled and disorganized.
I challenge you to take a step forward toward meal prep each and every week. I’d love to hear, what works for you? Do you meal prep for breakfast, lunch or dinner? Dannon® believes in a “Do What Fits You” philosophy which supports that not one thing works for everyone!
For more inspiration on healthy eating, follow Light and Fit® on Instagram.