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Preparing your meals in advance (meal prep, for short) is a great way to stick to your New Year’s diet. It also makes full use of your grocery budget and helps you avoid midweek budget-busters like ordering takeout and buying high-priced snacks on the go.
The downside? It can be time-consuming and frustrating.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. Here are three simple meal prep ideas to do this weekend, and enjoy all week long.
Are you a vegetarian, pescetarian, or a proud meat-eater? No matter what, these frugal meal prep tips will make dinnertime easy all week long:
This is a fantastic meal prep tip that makes it easy to eat more veggies throughout the week. To begin, wash, peel, and chop an assortment of your favorite vegetables.
For this recipe, you want sturdy, hearty vegetables that will hold up well to roasting. Think sweet potato, golden potato, brussels sprouts, and carrots.
Once you’ve prepared the veggies, toss them in olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and rosemary. Roast them on a foil-lined sheet pan for thirty minutes at 350. Throughout the week, use these veggies as the base for egg dishes, or a healthy side for lunch or dinner.
One of the most time-consuming parts of cooking each week is dealing with protein. Chicken, fish, beef, and even tofu all need somewhat extensive preparation. It’s enough to make anyone cave and order pizza.
But you can save yourself lots of time during the week if you prep your protein in advance. This weekend, grab your protein of choice and portion it out in Tupperware containers for weekday dinners. Items that keep well include turkey sausage, shredded rotisserie chicken, and ground beef. If you’re a vegetarian, roast and slice some tofu for easy additions to pasta, stir-frys, and more. You can also make a big pot of beans to be added to soups and salads.
Snacking is where many good diets go to die. While everyone snacks, preparation is the major thing that determines whether the habit is healthy or harmful. Plus, having healthy snacks ready to go means you won’t be shelling out big bucks at the convenience mart or fast-food restaurant.
To keep it healthy, portion out a week’s snacks on the weekend. If you like to eat raw, unsalted nuts, throw a handful into several small Ziploc bags and toss them in your gym bag, handbag, and car. You can also prepare several small Tupperware containers of fresh fruit or stock up on the whole-food meal bars you love. No matter what you choose to do, having healthy, easy-to-grab snacks on hand is one of the best ways to keep your diet (and your budget) intact this year.
Meal prep doesn’t have to feel like a marathon, and it doesn’t have to take up all your time and energy. Instead, knock out these three simple meal prep duties this weekend, and enjoy healthful, cost-conscious eating all week long.