How to meal prep your way into 2020.


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How to meal prep your way into 2020.

A New Year means a fresh new start and for many of us this translates into a number of health and fitness resolutions, including preparing more meals at home.

Taking control of your nutrition and enjoying more home cooked meals has multiple health benefits – not only do meals we prepare ourselves contain fewer calories but generally more lean protein and veges, helping to support weight control. And recent research has confirmed this with a study published in the Journal Public Health Nutrition finding that those who enjoy more meals each week that are prepared at home have a better diet overall. And while this sounds good in theory, the reality is that for busy people this can be easier said than done.

So if you too would like to eat better in 2020, here are some of the simple steps to take control of your food prep and meal planning each week.

1. Keep your key staples on hand

The key to nutrition success at home is making sure you have the healthy foods on hand you need to prepare quick and easy meals and snacks. This means shopping or ordering your food online regularly; keeping a supply of frozen options handy as well as tinned options such as beans, fish, soups and vegetables so you can prepare healthy meals quickly.

Personally I make a big effort to stock up with fresh fruits and veges each week at the local markets and also keep frozen options such as bananas, vegetables and 1-2 precooked meals on hand so I can throw together breakfast smoothies quickly, and always know that I have a backup meal on hand for nights there is literally no time to cook. 

2. Cook less

You would have thought that meal prep would mean lots of cooking but a smarter way to take control of your meal prep is to cook less frequently but in larger volumes. Here you ensure that you utilise ingredients you have purchased in bulk but are able to cook 2-3 meals at a time – think baked goods such as muffins or banana breads for healthy snacks through the week; pies and slow cooked casseroles for multiple meals and leftovers and loads of grilled and roasted vegetables in advance so your daily meal prep becomes more about throwing together rather than cooking from scratch.

You will also save much time, money and stress when you cook multiple meals at one time.

3. Do what you can the night before

While hours spent packing meals into tiny containers looks great on Instagram, the reality is that this is not practical, or even the best option for keeping meals fresh throughout the week.

As we are generally spending time each evening at home either eating, or cooking or in front of the TV before we retire, an easy habit to build is to spend a few minutes each evening planning and packing your food for the following  day. This may mean packing some leftovers for lunch; preparing your smoothie ingredients for the next day or getting your snacks together but this simple step can quickly completely transform your food intake on a daily basis. 

Recipe: Banana & Berry Mini Muffins

Makes 24

Ingredients

2 cups wholemeal self raising flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 very ripe bananas

1/2 cup chopped fresh berries

2 eggs

50g butter

1/2 cup milk

A few drops of vanilla essence

Dark choc bits (as desired) 

Method

1. Combine wet ingredients with sifted flour and sugar.

2. Bake at 160deg for 20-25min. 

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here.

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