How To Start Food Prepping – Plus 1 Day Meal Plan Idea To Get You Started!
Food prepping can be very overwhelming for some (especially if you’re new to it). As a nutritionist, this is something I hear all the time from clients, friends, family, and it was the same story I told myself years ago! But whether you want to eat better to have more energy, lose weight, fix a health condition (which is why I changed my diet and lifestyle years ago) you need start prioritizing food prep into your lifestyle.
The key to food prep is to KEEP IT SIMPLE! Remember, simplicity is key!!!! Simplicity is a rule I personally live by. So many of us have thousands of decision to make every single day, many of these are food related. So why not reduce decision making fatigue and start following the philosophy of simplicity.
When having to make too many decisions you can often feel overwhelmed, which can lead to stress, emotional eating, poor food choices, which can make you become nutrient depleted, in turn, deficiencies can lead to more feeling of stress/anxiety (it goes round and round). So this is why I recommend you start incorporating SIMPLE food prepping techniques into your lifestyle.
Why not challenge yourself, and give these techniques a go for 4 weeks! I challenge you! Send me an email at the end of the 4 weeks and let me know how you got on, I’d love to hear from you!
1. Write a food plan for the week
Print off a weekly food plan menu (I have attached an image below of the one I use, I bought this from Kikiki and it stays on my fridge – yes geek I know, but it helps my husband and I know what to cook during the week, reducing decision making fatigue and saving us SO much time).
Once we plan out the meals we want for the week we then write a shopping list based on these meals, then head out to a health food store and the supermarket to buy the ingredients.
2. Start simple
Try out 2 new healthy recipes this week. Double the quantities so you can have enough left over for lunch or dinner the following day. Here are some recipes to get you started …
– Paleo Chicken Curry (you can have this on cauliflower rice or brown rice – which won’t make it paleo)
– Curried Pumpkin Soup
– Baked Eggs & Veggies
– Tamari Chicken Drumsticks with Roasted Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts
3. Go for whole foods
Ask yourself, how nutrient dense is this food?. Try to avoid all packaging, keep it fresh where possible. Or if you have to buy something in a packet, read the ingredient label, can you understand/are you familiar with all the ingredients on that label?
4. Clean out your kitchen
Start fresh! Get rid of all old foods which have passed their expiry date. Throw out all the junk/processed foods which contain gluten, refined sugars. This step is key to setting you up for success! If you don’t have unhealthy options freely available to you, you won’t be as tempted to eat them!
5. Add in the good foods
Start with 12 new ingredients which you can easily use to make healthy meals out of during the week. Here is a list of 12 foods you can start adding to your shopping list today.
– Green vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts, leafy green such as spinach, kale, rocket, courgette)
– Coconut oil
– Nuts & seeds (almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, nut butters)
– Wholegrains – oats, quinoa, brown rice
– Fruit (bananas, frozen berries, apples, pears, kiwi fruit)
– Brown rice cakes
– Cans of beans (Organic & BPA free – chickpeas, black beans, butter beans, lentils)
– Protein (a whole chicken roasted, smoked salmon. If you are vegetarian tofu or tempeh)
6. Choose simple cooking techniques
Eating is supposed to be enjoyable. So keep it simple by prepping ingredients which you can make in large quantities and in a short-time period. Good options include:
– Veggies: roasting, steaming, stir-fry
– Protein: roasted (a whole chicken will last a few days in the fridge), boil up lots of eggs, pre-cook quinoa/tofu
– Grains: roast lots of sweet potatoes, pumpkin, potatoes, boil up 1 cup of quinoa (this will double, you can toss 1/2 – 1 of this through a meal)
Here is an example of what you can make:
Nourishing Lunch Bowl:
– 2 cups of steamed non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, courgette, capsicum, mushroom, etc)
– 1 handful of spinach
– 1 serving protein of choice (chicken, salmon, tofu, tempeh, boiled eggs)
– ½ – 1 cup grains (quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato)
– Avocado or a handful of nuts/seeds
– Add a pinch of sea salt, pepper and drizzle this in fresh lemon juice, olive oil
Simple Stir-Fry – serves 1
– 2 cups of non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, green beans, onion, cauliflower, mushrooms), chopped
– 1 serving protein of choice (chicken, salmon, tofu, tempeh), thinly sliced
– 2-3 kale leaves, de-stemmed and torn into small pieces
– 1 tbsp tamari/soy sauce
– 1 tbsp coconut oil
– ½ tsp turmeric
– ½ tsp chilli flakes
– Sea salt and pepper
– optional extra to serve: quinoa or brown rice
1. Add coconut oil to a frying pan, and melt over medium heat. Add protein source and cook until cooked through.
2. Add non-starchy veggies, turmeric, chilli flakes to the pan, stir together and cook for 3-5 minutes until softened (but not too soft otherwise you’ll lose all the nutritional value of the veggies). Add the kale in the last 1-2 minutes until wilted.
3. Serve this on its own or with cooked brown rice or quinoa.
¼ cup nuts, 2 boiled eggs, 2-3 brown rice cakes topped with either avocado or hummus or both.
Let me know how you get on. If you need help or would like a specific meal plan to follow to help you reach a health goal please get in contact with me today.
Send me an email right now so we can book a session and help you get started on your health journey asap – [email protected] 🙂
Hi I’m Natalie, a Registered Clinical Nutritionist, health influencer, blog writer & recipe creator. My own health complications prompted me to make positive diet & lifestyle changes, revitalize my health leading to a career change from the corporate world to nutritional medicine. I believe in a wholefoods approach to good health, focusing on simple strategies for modern, busy people.