Build better meal prep habits and start living healthier now!
Join Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Stacie De Lucia, as she discusses meal prepping. Find tips for getting started, how to more efficiently prepare meals for larger families, and how to store different foods.
Start eating better now with this episode!
The biggest barriers to cooking healthy meals at home are often finding the time, each family member’s food preferences, and shopping on a budget without sacrificing quality. So the key to getting started is to think about your family’s relationship with food and starting from where you are.
For a single couple, you may simply need to block out two hours for meal prep each week while planning to incorporate a protein, vegetable, and carbohydrate into each meal. You can do sheet meals, use casserole dishes, or even invest in an air fryer or instant pot if you’re short on time. Portion out a few days ahead of time and keep everything on a tray in the fridge. That way, you have options to switch it up while having enough prepped food for three days. Breakfast is often made on the fly, so you don’t usually need much prep time for that, but you can look up easy recipes. It’s about planning ahead of time while keeping things flexible.
For larger families, keeping preferences in mind and planning for variety is always helpful. That will take away the risk of making multiple meals to please everyone and prevents you and your family from getting bored with the same food for days.
Stacie also recommends planning three days in advance because you don’t want things sitting on the fridge for a long time, especially if someone in the house is sensitive to mold or yeast. Batch cooking in an instant pot can help make a lot of food quickly, and don’t be afraid to throw something in the air fryer on days when you have limited time. It takes trial and error to figure out a balance, so if something goes to waste, compose it or give it to someone else.
Be mindful of the containers you use for storage. You don’t want any plastics to leech into your food, so use glass containers with lids with a good seal. Make sure you’re cooling things properly and not putting boiling hot food directly in the fridge. You never want to refreeze uncooked thawed meat, so if you thaw meat, cook it before freezing it again. Vegetables with high moisture content also don’t freeze well, but blanched veggies, stews, and peeled fruits do.
The rule of thumb for keeping leftovers in the fridge is three days. If you’re not going to eat it in three days, freeze it and eat it within three months. Utilize the “first in, first out” rule and move older food to the front and newer food to the back to ensure nothing gets lost.
If you don’t think you have time for meal prepping, look up food influencers who post tips and recipes on social media to give you ideas and motivation. You don’t have to start now, but it can plant the seed for when you do have time later.
There are also many different kinds of services that send you meal kits that either have some assembly, are frozen, or provide you with the ingredients you need to cook. Stacie recommends Hungry Root, Fresh and Lean, and Green Chef.
Take control of your eating habits and start living healthier now with this episode!
Stacie is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who studied at the University of Delaware and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Functional Nutrition. She has worked on organic farms in Hawaii and Italy, and is passionate about learning and teaching others sustainable agriculture and holistic healing through whole foods and lifestyle.