If you are just embarking on the clean eating journey, then you may be feeling a little overwhelmed about it. You’ve probably seen countless photos of meal prep – all planned, prepped, cooked and portioned perfectly into matching containers and you’re wondering how on earth they find the time to do it!
It doesn’t have to take more than a few hours a week, in fact setting aside some time to get organised with your nutrition each week will actually free up your time on a daily basis. No more gazing blankly into the fridge wondering what to have for dinner, giving up and ordering an unhealthy takeaway option.
Here are 10 tips to help you kick start your healthy eating
- Be prepared. This is number one because it really is the most important. As the saying goes, if you fail to plan then you plan to fail. Know what you’re going to eat, when you’re going to eat it and preferably have it already ready to eat! It’s much easier to resist grabbing that muffin in your 3pm meeting when you already have a healthy snack waiting back at your desk.
- Make a shopping list and stick to it. Plan what meals you are going to prep and cook for the week first. Work out portion sizes for ingredients like meat, so you can add up how much you need of it and buy that for the week. Pop some meat or chicken in the freezer too for later in the week and let it defrost in the fridge for 24 hours before you need it.
- Shop the outer aisles. On your shopping list you should have mostly fresh, whole food. If you are easily tempted, then just don’t buy the processed, sugary products; if they are not in your pantry then you can’t eat them!
- Get creative with herbs, spices, homemade sauces and ingredients. Just because you’re eating clean, does not mean you have to eat boring, bland food! You can do a lot with spices and herbs, so start building up a collection of them. Make your own sauces at home to save yourself the artificial ingredients and sugar from store bought ones.
- Make one meal go a long way. Cook simple meals and just change the flavour element e.g. cook a few days of grilled organic chicken and a variety of veggies, then just change the veggies each day and add a homemade sauce or spice for taste bud variety. Prep and cook the same meals to take with you during the day. Then, cook one or two different meals at home daily (like breakfast or dinner) so you don’t get bored.
- Cook in bulk. Soups, slow cooked casseroles, hamburger patties and stir fry dishes are all great meals that you can freeze. Become a Tupperware guru and own lots of containers, glass preferably or BPA free plastic (never reheat in plastic though). You can safely store cooked chicken and meats in the fridge longer than raw, so cook these ahead of time too.
- Multitask in the kitchen. Channel your inner female and save yourself time! Roast veggies in the oven whilst you grill chicken in a pan, boil eggs and steam veggies on the stove top. Pop something in your slow cooker in the morning so it’s ready for dinner that night. The more you prep, the more efficient you’ll become at it!
- Find out what works best for you. Cooking meals the night before or prepping and cooking all your meals on one day on the weekend. Maybe freezing your meals works best. Figure out how you can best make time and then make it a habit.
- Have fun with it but keep it simple. Don’t try for gourmet Masterchef meals mid week. Save those more exotic dishes for when you have some time to enjoy the cooking process.
- Don’t worry about being ‘perfect’! Have some easy to grab options like protein shakes, hard-boiled eggs, small containers of raw nuts, a piece of fruit, cut up veggies in the fridge and frozen meals. Have frozen vegetables on hand for emergencies and a tin of tuna in your bag for a go-to-protein hit.
Download a free ebook here for some great clean eating recipe ideas to help make meal prep a breeze!