Day 15 of our 30-day nutrition challenge is prepare meals in advance when you have more flexibility with time.

Planning meals and thinking ahead means it’s not just time you’re saving, but also money. There’s little food waste and the added bonus of not having to think at the last minute what to make for dinner – when you’re starving and less likely to make the most nutritious decision.

Planning meals:

  • Saves money
  • Less food waste
  • You’ve all the ingredients so no unplanned visits to the shop
  • Less stress thinking on the spot what to make for dinner
  • Balanced nutrition with no two consecutive meals the same

Our top 10 tips to prep like a boss:

  1. When usually would be your least busy time – perhaps 2-3 hours when you can put a playlist on, listen to a podcast or audiobook, or just have some peace in the kitchen. Make this a scheduled time each week so it starts to become routine.
  2. Grab a scrap of paper or your phone and brain storm some meals you like to make. If you’re cooking for other people you live with – could you turn it into a team event? Every person nominates a favourite meal (and if you’re lucky they could cook their favourite meal so it’s not just down to one person).
  3. Begin by choosing the source of protein, and then trying not to have the same protein source two days in a row keep the meals more interesting. You could pick two red meat, two fish, two vegetarian and alternate each day.
  4. To make it a little more interesting perhaps write the meals on a chalk board – then there’s no “what’s for dinner” questions….
  5. Create a shopping list with all the ingredients you need 😊 Helping you to avoid impulse buying.
  6. Find/buy some sealed containers which can also be frozen.
  7. Choose batch cook recipes where possible – bolognaise, lasagne, roast chicken, side of salmon etc… so you just have to cook once but you get 2-3 meals out of each dish. Roast chicken can become paella with chicken, and stretching to a third meal with pasta and pesto. Most meat dishes can be in the fridge for up to 2-3 days, if you require them after that pop them in the freezer.
  8. Remember reheated rice/pasta has less of a blood glucose impact so now there’s even more reason to cook them in advance and freeze/cool before reheating (Nutrition challenge day 3)
  9. Think ahead about snacks too – to save you money and time. Our Nutrition Challenge day 13 Healthy snacks has some great recipes, but you can also do some basic ones like hard boil some eggs and when cool keep them in the fridge as a grab and go or to mash in a sandwich or add to a salad. Eggs are a great source of protein and nutrients, inexpensive and very under rated.
  10. If you’re a gadgets person how about a pressure cooker. Cheaper cuts of meat become tender and you can add everything into one pot to cut down on hassle and the washing up. Check out our podcast episode One pot cooking with The Lunchbox Dr for more ideas which is to be released soon as a podcast episode.

 

You can also find out more meal ideas in our Improving energy & concentration webinar and our Bitesize Nutrition podcasts.

Don’t forget to let us know what you think using #nutritionchallenge30

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