Quick & healthy time-saving meal prep tips

It’s the New Year and New Year’s resolutions are still top of mind. The year may change, but certain resolutions seem to always stay the same. Living a healthy life isn’t a yearly commitment, it’s a lifetime commitment; but let’s be honest, it’s nice to have the annual reminder. So here’s a gentle nudge towards a healthier 2016.

We all start our week with the best of intentions, “I’m going to eat healthy this week, I’ll make a lunch instead of buying one, I will not skip breakfast.” Then the alarm goes off, Monday morning kicks in, and all of our lofty plans begin to fade away. Meal prepping is a great way to start your week off right. Pick one day a week to be your prep day, then for the rest of the week just grab and go.

Below are three easy ideas to simplify your hectic week and keep your goals.

1. Pre-mix your oatmeal
Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast option and it’s also incredibly easy to make ahead of time. You can use reusable containers, mason jars, or simply a zip top bag to store your ingredients until you’re ready to eat, then transfer the ingredients to a bowl and add water. You can also get creative and try several oatmeal combinations by mixing in different add-ins like dried fruit, nuts, something sweet like brown sugar, or something spicy like nutmeg. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Slivered almonds, coconut flakes, brown sugar
  • Dried cranberries, walnuts, cinnamon
  • Banana chips and dark chocolate chips
  • Raisins, pecans, drizzle of honey

2. Freeze pasta sauce in an ice cube tray
With all of the appointments, practices, and traffic that fill our days, sometimes the last thing we want to do when we get home is make dinner. Pasta is as simple as boiling water, literally, and pasta sauce can be just as easy to make and even easier to store. First, choose your favorite pasta sauce recipe, then pour it into an ice cube tray or a cupcake pan for a larger portion size, last, put the tray in the freezer. When you’re ready to serve, simply defrost in the microwave or in a saucepan then pour over your favorite pasta. Just like that, you have a quick and easy dinner!

3. Smoothies
Smoothies are delicious, full of nutrients, and can be a meal replacement. Most smoothie recipes can be made ahead of time by throwing the solid ingredients into a zip top bag and freezing them. Once you’re ready, place all of the frozen ingredients into the blender, add ice, and a liquid of your choice and you’ve got a fantastic on-the-go meal. Be creative with your smoothies; choose different combinations of fruits, greens, flavors of yogurt, and types of juice and milk. Here are some tasty combinations to try:

  • Banana, strawberry, vanilla yogurt, orange juice
  • Frozen fruit medley, chia seeds, almond milk
  • Apple, peach, spinach, Greek yogurt, coconut water

There are plenty of ways to meal prep. Share your methods and recipes in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!

Samantha Rhone, Toll Brothers Marketing Representative, contributed to this story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *