Meal prepping is one of the most effective, time-saving, health-promoting, routines I have currently. Cooking my food ahead of time allows me to easily stick to my nutrition goals.
This week, for my lunches, I prepped a quick, easy, and healthy salmon dish.
I typically get all my groceries from Aldi, Kroger, Walmart, or Publix. This week my food came from Kroger.
First, I cooked my salmon since it takes the longest.
This is the brand I got from Kroger. It comes frozen and has thawing and cooking instructions on the bag. It’s perfect for a good source of protein and healthy fats.
I cooked my salmon in the oven for about 14 minutes at 400 degrees. I usually season my salmon with garlic and Rosemary.
Next, I cooked my veggies. I found this pre-prepped stir fry which cuts down on even more time in the kitchen. My only complaint about this was there was no serving size on the package so I just portioned out 2/3 of a cup per meal. Be sure to check for serving sizes on everything you buy.
I added a generous amount of salt, pepper, and rosemary to my pan while it was cooking. Feel free to get creative with your seasonings.
Once my veggies were going on the stove, I added a generous amount of spinach into the pan for extra greens.
For additional sustenance, I got cauliflower rice in a bag. You just pop it in the microwave and it’s done in about a minute and a half. I typically split one bag between two meals. You don’t need to cook the rice until you’re ready to eat it. I just take the bags as part of my lunch.
Total prep time for six meals, with cooking, portioning, and cleaning was a little over an hour.
Here’s my finished product:
This was a really simple prep and has taken the hassle out of not knowing what I’m going to eat for lunch everyday this week.
When I was in college, a friend introduced me to a local meal prepping company. You could order breakfast, snacks, lunch, and even juices from them. You could either pick up your food from one of the gyms they worked with or they would deliver your goodies straight to your house. I thought this was the coolest concept in the world, so I ordered some stuff from them. It was surprisingly really tasty, healthy, and convenient.
I was browsing the company’s website one night, trying to figure out what I wanted to order for the next week when I saw that they were hiring. I was in college and was currently working at my campus’s rec center, but summer was just around the corner and I figured a little extra income couldn’t hurt. So I reached out to the meal prepping company and asked what the qualifications were.
Within minutes someone responded and asked me to come in to meet them.
Two days later, I stood in the downtown kitchen they were renting. I was prepared for an interview, to tell my strengths and weaknesses and why I felt like I would be a good fit for the team.
“Can you jump in and help portion out these meatballs?” one of the owners asked after our initial introduction.
“Of course.” I gloved up, grabbed a couple meatballs and began portioning them in the three dozen containers that lined the table.
I stayed with the company for nearly two years, until I graduated college, and moved two hours away. It was the perfect college job and I learned so much about nutrition, portion sizes, and my overall health journey.
I loved interacting with our customers, finding out their individual goals and needs and recommending the different portion sizes and protein options we offered. Meal prepping, I quickly learned, was essential for eating healthy in this busy, hectic life.
You should meal prep because…
Meal prepping makes your life more convenient.
I personally like to meal prep all my lunches for Monday – Friday. The middle of my workday is hectic and I’m usually eating on the go. Having my food already prepared and with me saves me the hassle of figuring out what I want to eat and when I’m going to have the time to get it.
Meal prepping saves you money.
It’s no secret that eating out adds up very quickly. $12 is pretty typical for a lunch meal and if you do this every day that’s $60 a week, which then turns into roughly $240 a month. That’s a lot for just your lunches. When you meal prep, you buy your food in bulk at the grocery store and that’s always more cost efficient.
Meal prepping allows you to know exactly what you’re putting into your body
Whether you count macros or calories or don’t, it’s still important to be conscious of what you’re putting into your body. When you eat out, it’s often nearly impossible to get an accurate description of what is actually in your meal. Usually it’s heavy on sodium, carbs, and saturated fats – all things you should be having in moderation. But when you meal prep, you can read all the nutrition facts in the grocery store before you even purchase the food. Even if you don’t want to track everything that’s in your food you should still be mindful and give your body as much nutrient-dense food as you can.
Meal prepping allows you not to eat a salad everyday.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good salad as much as I love a warm brownie, but people often have this misconception that in order to “eat healthy” they have to eat a salad every day, and I don’t necessarily believe that. Yes, salads are great, they contain the veggies and fruits and nuts that you should absolutely be eating. But what about that dressing you’re pouring all over your salad? My bet is that it’s loaded with sodium and high in saturated fat – which you should try to avoid.
When you meal prep, you get a balanced amount of protein, veggies, and carbs and you stay away from those dressings. Not to mention, salads can get boring really quickly and make you dread meal time. Our food should be our fuel and we should always be eager to fuel our bodies.
Meal prepping is an act of self care.
Life is busy and hectic, but ultimately we have time for what we make time for. If we want to be our most authentic, vibrant selves then we have to be intentional about carving out the time to take care of our bodies. When you make the time to prep your meals, you’re actively performing self care and looking out for your future self.
Meal prepping can be fun if you let it be. Grocery shop and prepare your food with a friend, roommate, partner, sibling, or parent. Turn on some music and assign tasks to each individual helping out. If you’re meal prepping alone, then plan out an idea of how you’re going to time everything so it gets done roughly at the same time.
Stay tuned for some of my go-to meal prepping ideas that are cheap, quick, and easy.