Saturday, September 10, 2016

4 Healthy Make-Ahead Meals and Snacks

Life is crazy. When the going gets tough, so does the diet. The food industry makes it really easy for us to grab-and-go delicious foods that suppress hunger pangs, but these options aren’t always healthy. You can, however, stock your refrigerator and pantry with nutritious options that work with what little time you have. So set aside some time this Sunday to think through your grocery list, hit the store, then come home and prep whatever you can for the week ahead.

Easier said than done. Right?

Meal and snack prep can take hours. Some of us have that time, some of us don’t. But there are a few things you can do that don’t take much time at all—but they’ll still save you time (and calories) throughout the week:

meal planning tips and tricks
1) Freeze seasoned chicken breasts.

meal prep tips and tricks
Buy a bulk pack of chicken breasts. Put 2-3 chicken breasts in a freezer bag, add 1/4-cup of olive oil and a tablespoon of your favorite (low-salt) seasoning. Or get creative with fresh ingredients like garlic and honey. Label the bags and put them in the freezer. When you need a meal, pull them out when you eat breakfast. They’ll thaw by dinner time.

2) Make egg cupcakes.
Buy a carton of eggs and scramble them all in a bowl. Lightly grease a cupcake pan, then fill it with the eggs. Add your favorites, like green peppers or onions. Maybe some ham or a sprinkle of cheese. Bake the cups until the eggs cook through, then use a spatula and transfer them to a cooling rack. You can store them in the refrigerator or freeze them. They’ll be great for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

meal prep tips and tricks
3) Fill freezer bags with smoothie ingredients.
Smoothies are easy to make, but not so easy to prep when you only have a few minutes. Luckily, smoothy ingredients freeze well. Wash and dry your favorite fruits, then freeze them on a parchment-covered pan.

meal prep tips and tricks
Once frozen, divide them evenly among small freezer bags, adding in spinach or kale for an extra boost of nutrition. When you’re ready to make the smoothie, pour the ingredients into the blender, add a dash of milk (maybe even some protein powder) and enjoy.

4) Create your own snack bags/cups.
This is where the food industry really gets us good…they make unhealthy options look healthy with fancy packaging and confusing terminology (“low-fat” and “heart healthy,” for example). Next time you hit the grocery store, purchase a pack of snack bags or a few snack-size cups with lids. Then purchase a few things to put in them: Your favorite nuts, maybe some dried fruits or a small bag of chocolate chips. Or maybe you have a trail mix that’s healthy, but too tempting. Divide that up.

meal prep tips and tricks
Put a scoop of hummus or nut butter at the bottom of each snack cup, then add in a serving of your favorite dipper (baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, celery).

meal prep tips and tricks
These are just a few ideas that might help you make your week a little healthier. Of course, if you have major dietary concerns, you should always seek help from a registered dietitian or nutritionist. These professionals will dive deeper into your specific needs.

So, are we convinced that healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard? With a few small tweaks to your weekly routine, you’ll find this out for sure.

Question: What are some of your favorite make-ahead meals and snacks? What's your best tip for streamlining your healthy eating throughout the week?

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...