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Tuesday 15 January 2019

How To Meal Prep In Less Than 2 Hours A Week : Some Helpful Tips !

Laurentine ten Bosch writes: 
"Take a moment to imagine this common scenario; you arrive home after a long day at work and you’re exhausted. You still have a mental to-do list inside your head that needs to get done before you retire to bed. You open the fridge door, feeling overwhelmed and uninspired, and you reach for the easiest option, or grab the phone and order delivery. 

Sound familiar?! Add children, pets, partners, second jobs, finances, piano lessons, tennis practice and a cacophony of other possible elements to the mix and the challenges to making yourself a nourishing homemade meal rapidly multiply! 

Luckily, with a little organization and preparation, you can change this scenario, saving yourself time, money and your long term health. Two hours a week is all that it takes to make a difference and set you up for a week ahead of healthy eating. Sound too good to be true?! Take a look through the tips below and dedicate some time each weekend to spend in the kitchen. Put some music on, grab an apron, and enjoy this time of self-care. 

1. Organization 
Keeping your kitchen organized, clean and uncluttered creates a positive space and makes food preparation and healthy food choices that much easier. Invest in some clear glass jars and containers to store your ingredients in so they are easy to see and you know when you need to res-stock. Keeping staples on hand such as grains, nuts, seeds, pulses, superfoods, basic condiments, herbs and spices ensure that even if you come home exhausted, there are always good food options on hand. Stock up on fresh produce every weekend, preferably from a local farmers' market if you can find one near you. A clean and well-stocked kitchen is a key factor to your weekly meal preparation. 

2. Soaking 
Nuts, grains and pulses often require soaking before cooking or eating. Each Sunday, soak a batch of almonds which you can use throughout the week to make a simple nut-milk or as a healthy snack. Quinoa only needs to soak for an hour or two, so try soaking and cooking up a batch to store in the fridge, ready for meals throughout the week. You can also soak a batch of chickpeas, lentils or kidney beans that can be cooked early in the week and added to stews, soups, salads or made into dips. 

3. Fruit and Vegetable Preparation 
Try roasting up a big tray of vegetables and storing them in a container in the fridge. Roast vegetables make a delicious addition to salads or on top of bread with avocado. Wash your leafy greens so they are ready to use for salads and smoothies. Try cutting up carrots, cucumbers or celery for easy snacks with fresh dip. Chop up fruit such as bananas, mango or berries and store them in the freezer for easy smoothies come breakfast time. 

4. Homemade Bread 
Having a healthy loaf of bread on hand during the week makes for easy breakfasts, lunches and snacks. Experiment with various topping options to keep things interesting such as avocado and lemon, almond butter and berries, or hummus and rocket (arugula). Homemade bread is simple to make and full of healthy fats and protein that will keep you satisfied and nourished. Homemade bread is far superior to anything purchased at the supermarket and making your own fresh batch is so rewarding. It is a routine you will come to love and appreciate. 

5. Dips and Dressings 
Having a couple of healthy dips and salad dressings in the fridge enable you to jazz up a simple weekday meal into something flavoursome and fun. Try making a batch of hummus or guacamole, an easy tahini lemon dressing, or even just an olive oil balsamic dressing you can keep on the countertop. Store-purchased condiments and dressings are often filled with preservatives, sugar and artificial ingredients, so homemade is always best. 

6. Get Creative 
When learning to cook healthy, nourishing meals for yourself and your family, good recipes are always helpful. Yet don’t be deterred if you don’t have every single ingredient on hand. Be creative, work with what you have, and use your intuition. The more experience you gain in the kitchen, the more confident you will feel in adapting recipes and ‘going with the flow.’ Being prepared and having good quality staples on hand offers you plenty of flexibility and freedom when it comes to creating healthy meals in a matter of minutes. 

Most of all - have fun! These two hours a week in the kitchen will fly by and you will be amazed at how these couple of hours offer you so much more freedom throughout the week and set you up for success. As you get familiar with the recipes, you may feel inspired to branch out and try new things such as making your own sauerkraut, nut cheese, granola or trail bars. Build your own recipe collection and enjoy the culinary journey! 

Do you have meal prep tips and suggestions to share with us?" 
Words and picture above from article here

All the best Jan


Tom said... record time!

Suzan said...

I like to simplify breakfasts. I have the same thing most days. Oats, yogurt and blueberries. I would love to give e up the oats but I need so much fibre so they are a regular for me. I don't have to think as I prep it the night before.

CJ Kennedy said...

I never heard almonds (or other nuts) had to be soaked. I just eat them raw.

Sami said...

Great tips Jan. I just struggle with breakfast as I'm always rushed.

Lori Miller said...

Hmm. Making a big pot of soup sounds a lot easier.

DIMI said...

Hello Jan!
Thank you for sharing all those helpful tips!
Have a lovely afternoon!

Lowcarb team member said...

CJ Kennedy said...
I never heard almonds (or other nuts) had to be soaked. I just eat them raw.

Hello 'CJ' many thanks for your comment.

Yes, I too like to eat the occasional handful of raw nuts, my favourite being Macadamias.

For those who like things such as home-made almond milk, it is always better to soak nuts first. As this article here says "Never made homemade almond milk before? Not to worry! Fresh, homemade almond milk is very simple and easy to make from scratch. It does take a little bit of time and effort, though, as you need to soak the almonds until they are very soft so they can be completely blended up, which can take six hours or more.

More details here

For those readers who use chickpeas, lentils or kidney beans it is advantageous and sometimes necessary to soak them first before use (unless using canned ones) … there is an article about Beans and pulses in your diet that readers may find of interest, see it here

Readers, I must just add that you will find a variety of recipe ideas and articles within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

Once again many thanks to 'CJ' and everyone who takes time to read and comment here, you are appreciated.

One last thing, if you do make your own bread there are many great low carb recipes within this blog, this one here for example:
Low Carb Seedy Bread

and this one
Almond Flour Bread : Low Carb, Gluten Free and Grain Free

Bon Appetit and happy food prep !

All the best Jan

Miss Val's Creations said...

Great tips Jan! I love roasting a batch of veggies to add to a sandwich, pizza, salad or over quinoa during the week. We made our own pizza dough but should really get into making more bread often. It is hard to find breads here that are free of bad stuff.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Interesting tips, though I am retired and don't have to worry about this time crunch. Roasting a lot of veggies and keeping them in the fridge sounds good, though I would warm them up again before eating them. And I love lentils and lentil soups at this time of year and they don't need long cooking....

Catarina said...

Very good suggestions. I do not particularly like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
I like to spend "time" eating like the French. It seems they spend more time eating than anybody else!! And they are not known for being obese!
: )

mamasmercantile said...

Lots of great tips. I make my own bread cheating a little by using a bread making machine but add lots of seeds for a healthier lunch.

Karen said...

These are great suggestions. Gave me some good ideas. Thank you.

Christine said...

Thanks for these tips! Organization counts for sure.

Valerie-Jael said...

Some great tips. I always cook for 2 - 3 days to make things easier. Valerie

Connie said...

Great ideas. Having your kitchen organized is so important. Now that my husband is retired, he does put the dishes away sometimes. When he does, they land in odd places around the kitchen, but I don't mind, I think it is sweet that he wants to help :)
Have a wonderful day!
Connie :)

Angie said...

Jan - great tips. I would like to make more home-made bread - thanks for the inspiration. Although there are only two of us at home, we make the same amount of food as we always have, which means we can freeze portions and have a wide variety of choices when we don't feel like cooking! Hope you are having a tasty week!

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Nice tips! Meal preps go so easy when we have most of the work done. Planning ahead makes all the difference. Thanks for sharing, Jan. ♥

Elephant's Child said...

Great ideas. In addition if the recipe is suitable to freeze I make extra portions. On those busy/tired/uninspired nights it is wonderful to know that there are tasty, healthy meals which just need heating.

Barb said...

These are great ideas, Jan. I seem to spend a lot of time thinking about what to prepare. Bob and I are mostly vegetarian with some fish, so variety is something that is always on my mind. We don't eat a lot of prepared foods from the grocery store which also means that I'm chopping and simmering every day! I really would like to make my own bread but haven't as yet found the courage.

sandy said...

I looked at the photo and realize how lucky I am that I don't have to prep meals anymore, lol. Lots of good info there I'm sure though

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

That's such good advice! When we're hungry we're always wishing there were some shortcuts. I spend a little bit of time while I'm cooking to bag a mixture of nuts and dried fruit to take on my hikes. Then they are ready to grab on my way out! That and a bottle of water and I'm good to go! Well....2 bottles of water. I live in Florida! heehee! Hugs!

Bob Bushell said...

What a beauty, a salad makes me so....................

William Kendall said...

Good advice!

DMS said...

Good suggestions. I also try to make crust-less quiches in muffin tins with eggbeaters and egg whites (along with veggies) once every couple of weeks. Then I can freeze them and take them out for breakfast. I don't have many tips for dinner. :)

Martha said...

Great tips! Being organized makes it all so much easier and much more pleasant!

Stephanie said...

Sweet Jan, I so enjoyed this post and the helpful tips you offered. Thank you, my friend.

It was so nice to visit your blog as I have missed you. Enjoy the remainder of your week!

baili said...


this is amazing read dear Jan!

made flow of blood smooth in my veins

through your post everything seems so nice and easy
loved the "get creative " part most as i realy need to be creative and experimental in my cooking

carol l mckenna said...

Good advice ~ now to carry it out ~ LOL

Happy Day to you,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

Magic Love Crow said...

Great tips! Thank you Jan! Big Hugs!