Beginners guide to simple food prep.
The busier I get I'm constantly being caught short relying on convenience food to get me through. Many of the processed foods we fall back onto consist of empty calories, little nutritional benefits giving us even more cravings for more processed foods not to mention making us feel sluggish and bloated. Don't feel guilty about not making every single meal. I don't even do that but I do make sure majority of the food I'm eating is made from at home so I know what is in it.
1. Saturday morning you pick.
Invest in a couple of great recipe books (Hemsley + Hemsley & Madeline Shaw) or look online and make a list of recipes you'd like to create. I like to write down x3 breakfasts, x3 lunches and x3 suppers. I'll go to the market, supermarket or order online (if you're super organised and can get next day delivery!) Trick is to cook ONCE and eat TWICE so think about when you could eat the leftovers.
2. Sunday you start.
Spend a couple of hours on your Sunday (it really doesn't need to be any longer than that) on prepping your meals for the week. Stick on the radio or Netflix and enjoy it. Promise this will become second nature and the more you do the quicker you'll become a pro.
Always make sure you have your dry staples e.g brown rice, quinoa, lentils, tinned chickpeas, mixed seeds & nuts, tinned tomatoes, coconut cream and so on so you just need to order your fresh foods like veg, fruit and meats that expire within 5 days or so. I tend to pop a date in my diary to remind myself to order these supplies once monthly because I like to buy in bulk. Amazon is great for low cost high quality dry staples.
3. Prep fridge.
It sounds simple but the more organised and pretty your fridge is the more appealing it will be to you. I see it all too often old packets of brown herbs stuck to the back of the fridge and sad packets of soggy salad.
As soon as you unpack the food from the shopping bags don't just chuck it in the fridge. Take the veg out of the packets, cut it up into pieces and have it ready in bowls. Hard-boil a couple of eggs so they are there ready in tupperware boxes when you want a snack. Chop up your onions, peppers and chillies and pop them in the freezer in separate labelled bags. Most frozen fruits and veggies will last up to 6 months but always check the smell and appearance before eating. It's key to make the food in your fridge visible so you know what you have. It will inspire you more to cook.
4. Use your freezer more.
Many of us just use the freezer for ice and a bag of frozen peas. I encourage you to really use it for your prepping. It's so great for freezing fruit, vegetables, soups, falafel mix, bean burgers, cooked quinoa, cooked lentils and the list goes on!
If you like your green smoothie in the morning the freezer is great because you can pre cut your apples, bananas (peeled), berries, washed spinach and kale in little freezer bags or tupperware and label them 'Tuesday's smoothie'. This way they are good to go all you need to do is pop them in your Nutribullet.
Cooked lentils and cooked rice last up to 3 months whereas quinoa lasts up to 2 months in the freezer. Let them cool before you pop them in the freezer and don't refreeze once defrosted and write the date on the labels. Do check smell and appearance before eating.
4 easy staples to start with:
Lentils, rice and quinoa -
are great bases for meals to have throughout the week in your fridge. Brown rice is much better than white because it is higher in fibre but usually takes longer to cook than white. Quinoa is a fab protein which can be used for savoury bases or sweet in the morning by serving it warm with a little nut milk, cinnamon powder and berries.
Chia pudding -
is perfect when you want that sweet protein fix in the morning or as a snack. Again it is as simple as pouring chia seeds into a jar with a plant based milk, little vanilla essence if needed, cinnamon powder and blueberries to top it off. Great recipe here.
Roasted veggies -
Roasting a large tray of colourful vegetables last well and can be added to any meal hot or cold. We're coming into Autumn/winter so its the perfect time for sweet rooted vegetables to curb your sugar cravings and keep you grounded. Remember the more varied colours the better e.g purples, blues, reds, oranges, yellows and greens.
Overnight oats -
Overnight oats are the simplest of breakfasts and will last for a couple of days. Literally you just put all the ingredients into a jam jar and let it set overnight. Click here for four overnight oat recipes to get your started from Plenish.
For more support in implementing this habit into your life get in touch.