4 Tips For Easier Meal Prep

4 Tips For Easier Meal Prep

meal prep with a personal trainer in westfield, nj Out Run Your Fork Personal Training and NutritionHow to meal prep for success! These 4 tips for easier meal prep will have you eating good and feeling great in no time!

After spending weeks promoting the benefits of meal planning and prepping, it is time to take a deeper dive into how exactly to do this! Don’t worry if you don’t like to cook, none of these tips require any advanced cooking skills! All are approved by a Out Run Your Fork, a personal trainer and nutritionist in Westfield, NJ.

Tip 1: Cook Once Eat Twice

Dedicate 15 – 30 minutes / week and organize your meals for the week. You can scroll through the Fork Approved Recipe Book to find some great ideas! While you are doing so, keep the phrase “Cook Once, Eat Twice” in mind — meaning don’t plan to cook every night, plan to cook larger meals so you have leftovers for another night! Also, if you know you will be eating out one night, plan for it and include that on your weekly plan. Ideally you should be making more meals than eating out though. 

Tip 2: Create A Shopping List

When meal prep you must create a shopping list and stick to it! Your shopping list is your line of defense against impulsive decisions at the grocery store! Not only will it help you stay focused in the store but studies show it will reduce your expenses by 20-25%! Sometimes online grocery shopping via Instacart or Whole Foods, etc. makes this much easier! Whatever you do though, do not enter a grocery store without a list!! 

Tip 3: Keep It Simple

Dedicate time during the week to meal prep. You don’t need a ton of time and you don’t really need a ton of different ingredients. You can get pretty far with a green, a grain and a main. Depending on your personal preferences there are several different ways to prep food for the week. Here are some tips from a personal trainer and nutritionist on how to plan and keep your resolutions moving forward!

Batch Cook

  1. Batch Cooking is when you cook a bunch of veggies and/or lean proteins for the week and a great way to ensure you will have healthy meals ready and available. Here are a few tips if you decide to go that route: 
    • Cook a few different proteins at a time, each with different seasonings. For example, cook ground turkey with a sriracha spice and grilled chicken with bbq sauce.
    • When roasting veggies make sure to know the difference between fast and slow cooking veggies so you can cook a variety at the same time! 
      • Fast Cooking: asparagus, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes
      • Slow cooking: carrots, cauliflower, onions, potatoes and parsnips
    • When prepping veggies, also keep in mind how long they will stay fresh in the fridge. Choose to eat the ones that go bad quicker earlier in the week.
      • Chopped or spiralized zucchini and butternut squash noodles stay fresh in the fridge for about 3 – 4 days 
      • Chopped veggies like carrots, onions and peppers stay fresh for about 1 week

Freezer Friendly Meals.

  1. Choose a few recipes that include a lean protein and veggies and prep with olive oil and seasoning and then put into a double freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months! When you are ready to use pull out a day ahead of time and let it thaw in the fridge for 24 hours!

    Soups!

  2. Soups are another easy way to prepare a meal that will last for a long time! Once the soup is done let it cool and then fill mason jars with a single serving and either store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months!

    Jarred Salads!
  3. Mason Jar Salads for dieting Out Run Your Fork Personal Trainer and Nutritionist Westfield, NJNot many people have time to prep a salad with several ingredients each and every day. Creating jarred salads is an easy way to have a delicious and healthy meal available for you during the week! Simply add some salad dressing (homemade if possible) to the bottom of 4 – 5 mason jars and begin layering, first with ingredients that will not get soggy sitting in dressing such as beans, cucumbers, onions or tomatoes. Next add a protein, then lettuce and then top with whatever additional crunch you prefer on your salad. Then seal and stick in the fridge for up to 5 days! When you are ready to eat simply shake the mason jar up real good and dump out onto a plate and enjoy! 

    Overnight Oats.

  4. Prepping overnight oats is SO easy and can provide a very nutritious and satisfying breakfast in the morning. Overnight Oats are also veryOvernight Oats from a Nutritionist and Personal Trainer in Westfield, NJ Out Run Your Fork versatile and can be made a variety of different ways depending on personal preference. Typically prepared overnight oats can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 nights. Here’s a Great Recipe >>
  5. Hard boil Eggs.

  6. Hard boiling a few eggs at the start of each week ensures you have easy access to a quick source of protein throughout the week. Whether you eat it on its own or add it to toast, or a salad – its an easy way to have a grab and go snack ready for your busy week!

Tip 4: Stock Up On Non-Perishables

Not all non perishables are bad – so stock up! While fresh foods obviously contain the highest nutrient levels, there are some non perishable items that are better than others and good to have on hand — especially as we enter our first covid winter and are trying to stretch out our grocery store visits. Some examples include:

    • Low Sodium Vegetable Soup: Easy options for a quick and nutritious meal
    • Canned or Dried Beans: Great sources of protein and fiber. Make sure to drain to cut down on sodium. 
    • Good Grains: Quinoa, Oats and Brown/Black Rice: Great sources of fiber and can be easily prepared and stored in large batches.
    • Canned Tuna / Salmon / Chicken: Healthy source of lean protein that can be easily added to sandwiches, salads or crackers. To cut down on calories choose a meat that’s stored in water, not oil and if possible, opt for low sodium. 
    • Canned Tomatoes or Tomato Sauce: Low in calories but high in Vitamin C and fiber. Note, the canning process has been known to strip the tomato of their vitamin and mineral count and given tomatoes high acid levels they pull more of the toxins from the can than other canned products. When possible choose a BOXED vs. canned option. If can is the only option always choose BPA free! 
    • Protein Bars: There are SO many out there that have the same nutritional profile as a candy bar so you have to be careful. When choosing a
      protein bar out run your fork personal trainer and nutritionist westfield nj
      home made protein bars

      particular brand look for the following: 

      • At least 10 grams of protein
      • A MAX of 13 grams of sugar
      • A MINIMUM of 3 grams of fiber but no more than 10 grams
    • Nut Butter: If possible, try to find a nut butter that contains no added sugars or preservatives. 
    • Frozen Fruit
    • Frozen or Canned Veggies
    • Whole Wheat Crackers and/or Rice Cakes: Either can be used as a substitute for bread!
    • Spices: Turmeric, Red Pepper and Cinnamon especially! Cinnamon helps with blood sugar stabilization, Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and red pepper flakes can increase your metabolism
    • Lentils: Great source of plant protein and Vitamin B and iron

To easily summarize these tips I’ve outlined think – PLAN, PURCHASE, PREP and remind yourself that it is impossible to be a healthy person if all of your food comes from a box or a restaurant. Following these strategies will make eating correctly much easier as you will be setting yourself up properly for success. Good luck! 

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Yours in Health,

personal trainer westfield nora gallagher Out Run Your Fork Personal Training and NutritionNora Gallagher, certified Health and Nutrition Coach with Out Run Your Fork Personal Training

Out Run Your Fork Personal Training and Nutrition
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