Tips for an affordable and quick meal prep
If you want to follow a healthy diet, planning your meals in advance is one of the key principles. It will not only save you a lot of time, but can also help to keep healthy eating budget friendly. Once you know how to prep your meals, you won’t need to spend time in the kitchen after a busy day at work, university or while looking after your children.
Plan your meals
Take some time to decide which meals you would like to prepare in advance. While breakfast and snacks don’t necessarily involve much preparation and can be quickly made every morning, lunches and dinners are likely to be more tricky.
If you do like a fancy breakfast, make your own granola which can be stored overtime in an airtight container.
Don’t worry about repeating meals if you want to keep it simple. Choose four to six mains you would like to prepare, depending on how much variety you like. Sundays are often ideal for the actual meal prep, so schedule time on Saturdays to set up your meal plan and get your groceries. 8fit does the magic for you and provides your personal shopping list with all the amounts and ingredients you need.
Don’t forget to get some food containers if you don’t already have them.
Keep it simple and flexible
Make the meals work for you. A lot of foods can actually be interchanged, you don’t have to stick to the recipes 100 %. For instance, you can swap quinoa for rice and vice versa as long as you use the same weight. Here are some more basic examples:
You can interchange rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa and millet. Sweet potato can be swapped out with regular potato and vice versa.
Extra tip: Cook rice (or alternative carb) all at once and weigh it when you actually need it. Brown rice essentially doubles in both volume and weight after cooking. 1 cup of brown rice will yield 2 cups; 1 kg of brown rice will yield 2 kg.
White rice essentially triples in both volume and weight after cooking. 1 cup of white rice will yield 3 cups; 1 kg of white rice will yield 3 kg.
When a recipe calls for chicken breast, feel free to have tuna instead. Don’t worry about replacing lean beef or fish with tofu and the other way around.
Nuts and seeds can be replaced with any other nut, seed or even peanuts, just use the same weight. You can also replace oils and choose the one of your preference. Just note that most oils are not heat-stable. Choose coconut oil or butter for high temperatures.
Legumes, vegetables and fruits
You don’t like chickpeas, but fancy kidney beans? No problem. Interchange legumes like lentils, chickpeas or any beans.
You have some bell pepper left over or can’t tolerate tomatoes? You can replace most of the vegetables with other vegetables as they are rather low in calories. Just be careful with the starchy ones, unless a recipe asks for them: potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, beets, parsnip, peas and corn.
Same for fruits, you can interchange most of the fruits as this doesn’t really have a big impact on the calories in your meal plan.
You don’t necessarily have to cook all your meals in advance. For instance, if you like your veggies to be raw rather than cooked, just chop some veggies when you need them and sprinkle the nuts, seeds or oil you need on top. If you prepared carbohydrate based foods, substitute them for other carbohydrates.
Otherwise, steam, fry or roast your veggies, whatever the recipe calls for. You can keep some of the veggies for 2 days in the fridge and freeze the rest. Take them out of the freezer the night before you need them.
Extra tip: Get a mix of frozen veggies which are already chopped to save extra time.
You’re better off to prepare protein-dense foods like meat or fish in advance, unless you decide to go for canned tuna or smoked tofu every day. Check the recipes you’ve chosen for the cooking method and store the foods you need for the next two days in the fridge and the rest in the freezer.
No time to cook at all?
If you only select the meals category “quick” in the 8fit app, you will only see the recipes that do not require cooking! All of these recipes can be prepared in less than 10 minutes.
Relax and approach your goal
Enjoy the rest of the week without being bothered by any meal prep or temptations because you haven’t planned your meals yet. Reaching your goal is 80% about having proper nutrition. Be proud of yourself!
Love and health,