If you follow me, you know that I am a huge proponent of meal prepping. Whether you’re in a hurry in the morning running off to work, or you’re thinking about ordering takeout when you return home because you can’t even begin to think about cooking, meal prepping is definitely for you. There are so many reasons why I love to meal prep:
- Making your meals ahead of time helps with managing portion sizes because everything is already pre-portioned out so you won’t end up overeating.
- It’s budget friendly—you will save money by not ordering in or going out for your meals. All those morning breakfast sandwiches, lunchtime salads and late-night food deliveries really add up over time.
- It helps you stay on track with your fitness goals by being more thoughtful about the meals you cook and what you put inside your body because you aren’t just eating mindlessly.
- It’s truly so easy! If you are thinking about what to bring for lunch, just make a little extra of whatever you are making for dinner that night and save the leftovers for the next day.
I like to break my meal prep down by meal, so let’s start with breakfast:
- I love eggs. I will make hard-boiled eggs every Sunday and will either eat them plain in the mornings or make them into egg salad, which is another easy and delicious meal prep idea.
- I also like to make egg muffins and use up some of the veggies that I have in my fridge! Egg muffins are perfect if you are on the go and need something quick and filling to start your day.
- If savory isn’t your thing for breakfast, another great option is making overnight oats or chia seed pudding. There are endless options here because with the simple base of oats, milk and yogurt, you can really add any fruits, nuts, nut butters, seeds or toppings you’d like! You can even add cacao powder for some extra sweetness.
- Another great meal prep breakfast or snack idea is a smoothie: I like to take a small container or reusable bag and portion out my frozen fruit ahead of time. This way, each morning I can just take out the portion of fruit and dump it in a blender with some water or milk and make a smoothie ASAP! As you are adding fruit to a bag, note the amount that you are planning to put in each smoothie. You don’t want to portion out more than you would normally eat/be comfortable eating if it wasn't blended.
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Now let’s move on to lunch and dinner. I like to break these up into categories: proteins, veggies and grains.
Lunch & Dinner
- For my protein: I like to boil my chicken breast and then shred it to put in salads, or you can grill it and put it in any bowl! You could also use rotisserie chicken. I also like to saute ground turkey because you can add it to any dish. You can mix up your chicken and ground turkey with different sauces and seasonings depending on what you are making for that meal. Meatballs are another great option here because they are so easy to grab and go and they are packed with protein.
- Here’s the easiest way to meal-prep your veggies: put them on a sheet pan. I like to take sweet potatoes, zucchini, onion and carrots (literally whatever you have in the fridge) and just throw them on a sheet pan with some olive oil and some basic seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder). Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. Seriously you guys, this makes cooking veggies in bulk SO EASY!
- For the grains, I like to make either brown rice, whole grain pasta or quinoa in bulk so that I can add it to any meal.
- All you have to do is take some grains, veggies and protein and add some of each to a container. I like to mix and match so not every day/meal is the same!
- Then I also like to mix up my sauces (but don’t put your sauce on until you are ready to eat it or else it will get soggy)! You could do a chipotle mayo or soy and sesame oil or caesar dressing. The options are truly endless! Sauces make everything.
I hope these ideas inspire you to get in the kitchen and start making some of your own meals ahead of time. I know it might seem overwhelming when you are making all of these things at once, but I can promise you, you will feel so much better about yourself when you are going through your week eating and nourishing your body with healthy and delicious food that you cooked yourself!
About the Series
Tune in every Monday and get tips to feel your best from Katie Austin herself. "I am beyond excited to announce the official launch of my weekly column in SI Swim, Katie’s Column. For those who don’t know me, I’m a fitness personality, creator of my own workout app (check it out here!) and host of my newly released Snapchat Originals and YouTube show called Healthy Hacks!! On top of that, I’m a 2022 SI Swim ROOKIEEEEE!!!!" says Austin.
"I want to bring you guys into my lifestyle. Each week, I’ll be sharing the best healthy recipes, free workouts, lifestyle tips, relationship advice and so much more! I want to bring you weekly positivity by sharing my accessible and realistic tips for you to feel like your best self every. single. freaking. day!"