One of the most common questions we’re asked here at MNB is how we manage to eat healthy, find the time to exercise daily, catch up with our Sisters of Support and of course come into work everyday feeling inspired and invigorated enough to spread the message of Active Living. And you know what? Without one word of a lie, it all comes down to the P word… preparation! One of our favourite mantras after all is ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’.
That’s right, the secret to cooking up a healthy and balanced active lifestyle is preparation and when it comes to meal prep, a little goes a long way. It may seem like an arduous task, but spending a little bit of time in the kitchen on Sunday, getting organised for the week ahead can make the world of difference to the way you look, feel and perform, so we sat down and chatted to Rachel Aust – the beauty (and body) behind Eat Run Lift to talk The Art of Meal Prep…
Meal prepping is about taking the time to spend a few hours in the kitchen one or two days a week to prepare your meals in advance (with the exception of a few fresh ingredients). The beauty behind having everything pre-cooked, portioned and ready to go is that you can plan out exactly what you’re going to be eating so you’re far less likely to fall off your healthy eating bandwagon. Prepping your meals in advanced not only means that you can spend less time at those horrible self-scanners in the supermarket, “please place item in the bagging area”, but you’ll also end up saving time and money! Once your meals are all packed away in your fridge and freezer, lunch and dinner time instantly becomes stress free!
This is the process that I like to follow:
- Plan out your meals. Grab a notepad and plan 2 snacks to make, 3 main meals and 2 breakfast options
- From this rough idea of meals figure out what ingredients you’re going to need to buy.
- Go to the markets or grocery store and pick up everything you need. Make sure you pick up lots of reusable containers if you do not have them already.
- Clean out your fridge and your freezer, you’re going to need all the room you can get.
- Clear off a section of bench space in the kitchen and figure out your plan of attack. Having multiple things cooking at a time can drastically reduce the amount of time you spend cooking.
- You can get away with storing about 3 days worth of food in the fridge; any food that is to be eaten further away should be placed in the freezer.
meal prep recipe ideas
Hard boiled eggs, bean salad base (excluding spinach and avocado)
Steel cut oats + berries (these can have water added and be microwaved in the morning)
Chicken + sweet potato + brown rice, left over sweet potato (in case we want to add it to anything)
Beef + broccoli + beans, spicy mince + lettuce (for dinner that night to be served with tomato and avocado)
Fruit (pineapple, strawberries, blueberries), pumpkin seeds, almonds, a few tins of salmon to take to work to eat with the bean salad. As you can see some of the portions are bigger as they are for my boyfriend whose body needs a lot more food than mine. Other times we will go for salads , or cook up curries that are packed full of veggies, base it off healthy, balanced meals that you want to eat!
Meal prepping is such a simple way to eat healthy and reduce the amount of worry, time and money you spend on meals. This amount of food feeds my boyfriend and I for roughly 4 days and we eat 4-5 times a day (3 meals and 2 small snacks), giving us a neat little average of only $2.50 spent per meal we eat! Not only that, but it also means that we have to spend very little time in the kitchen for the next few days and dishes are a breeze! If you struggle to maintain healthy eating and find yourself falling off track, or you simply don’t have the time to waste in the kitchen every single night, try your hand at cooking up your meals in advanced and you mind just find it suits your lifestyle a lot better!