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Meal prepping is one of those things – it seems simple at first but if you’re not organised, it can quickly spiral out of control and leave us feeling more overwhelmed than when we started. To help you along the way, we enlisted the advice of master personal trainer and performance nutrition coach, Lauren Irvine of LIFT Coaching. Here, she shares her all-important advice for planning ahead and eating well.
“When people hear the words ‘meal prep’, it often carries the stigma that you need to spend hours every Sunday in the kitchen,” Lauren explains. “Meal prep fans will try to convince you that you should prepare a full weeks’ worth of neatly stacked Tupperware meals that are ready with a simple zap in the microwave – but the truth is, with a few tips and tricks and getting organised with your nutrition by spending *some* time meal prepping (note, NOT your entire Sunday) – your mid-week self with thank you!”
“Whoever invented this magical contraption that can cook a meal big enough to feed the entire family at the touch of a button is a genius! Stews, soups, curries and veggie-packed creations have never been easier to whip up. Simply chop, season, and chuck in the slow cooker for healthy meals in half the (prep) time!”
“Microwave bags of rice and precooked meat are a heaven send when it comes to lazy meal prep. Do the same by batch cooking your meat/proteins and carbohydrates (think pasta, rice and potatoes) once or twice a week. Being able to dish them out easily and reheat alongside fresh veggies or salad throughout will not only save you time in the kitchen, but save you some cash, too.”
Whoever said frozen veggies were yuck? If steamed on the stovetop, frozen veggies are not only delicious but a great way to bulk up your meals and pack them full of nutrients. Contrary to popular belief, frozen veggies are not ‘less healthy’. In fact, because they are snap frozen at the peak of their freshness, they often have more nutrients compared to commercially bought vegetables that have spent time stored in a warehouse.”
Leftovers, anyone? For those days you simply can’t be bothered to whip out the chopping board, having a variety of ready-made meals in the freezer that tick all the nutrition boxes is the ultimate meal prep hack. This is such a simple yet effective meal prep strategy, as it doesn’t require any extra time in the kitchen – just twice the ingredients and double the pan size!”
“Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring or feel like a chore. The reason we gravitate towards processed foods is because they taste great – so why not mirror that enjoyment with healthy options? If you HATE brussel sprouts, then don’t eat them! Make a list of all the lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, wholegrains and unprocessed carbohydrates that you actually enjoy eating and incorporate them into your weekly diet.”
“Simple yet effective, having your groceries delivered to your home each week will help you avoid that dreaded weekend supermarket run while keeping you stocked up on fresh fruit, veg and the rest.”
“By filling half your plate with colourful, non-starchy vegetables, a quarter of your plate with a lean protein and the remaining quarter with an unprocessed carbohydrate source, you’ll not only be ensuring that you are consuming a balanced diet but will allow you to get an adequate micronutrient intake which comes from eating a variety of different foods.”
To learn more about meal prepping and simple ways to eat well, head to Lauren’s website www.laurenirvine.com
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