Meal Prepping

Meal Prepping

Meal prepping is a crucial key to the success of your health transformation journey.
Especially if you work, or are a parent or both.
The days where I consume the emptiest calories and crave a lot of junk food are the days where I am very hungry and don’t have anything nutritious on hand.
The thought of cutting up vegetables and cooking just turns me off when I am at this stage of hunger and I naturally grab some heavily processed snack.
That is why it is very important to meal prep and have lots of healthy eating options available.
By honoring your body and eating something nutritious when you first start to feel hungry you will not get insatiably hungry later one which may lead to binging.
I always batch cook at the beginning and middle of the week (Saturday and Tuesday in Egypt) so I sufficiently stocked throughout the week.
Here are some of the usual things on my weekly shopping list that get me going for some time.
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries

(Seasonal fruit basically)

  • Cucumbers
  • Arugula
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Greek yogurt or plain yogurt
  • Honey
  • Dried fruits and nuts
  • Natural almond/peanut butter
  • Rice cakes
  • Hemp heart seeds or chia or flax seeds
  • Pulses and Beans (more on this later)
  • Bone broth
  • Chicken stock
  • Tomato Sauce
I used to always buy fruit and vegetables only to throw them out a week later.
The reason? They were always stored at the bottom drawer of the refrigerator.
Whoever designed refrigerators really didn’t like fruit and vegetables by chucking them at the bottom drawers where you hardly ever remembered them. Remember far from sight is far from mind.
So, what I usually do is after I wash them and leave them to dry, I make a little assortment of fresh goodies on the table for me and everyone else to snack on.
I have the lettuce and arugula leaves on a plate and I peel and cut up the oranges on a plate so they are easier and quicker to eat.
I cut the tops of the strawberries after I wash and leave them on a plate.
When I start to feel peckish I can easily grab a slice of orange or a strawberry or munch on some lettuce.
This is particularly good if you are not used to eating a big bowl of salad by itself. Just grazing on it throughout the day will help you get your daily intake of fruit and vegetables.
Another healthy tip to help you get your dose of fresh produce goodness is adding fresh greens to your meals. Make sure you have something small that is fresh and raw with all your meals.
A side of arugula with your rice perhaps, or fresh strawberries with your morning yogurt or oats.
Eating beans and pulses improve your overall health by;
Helping reduce weight, by keeping you full longer and giving a steady sustained release of energy.
An excellent source of plant-based protein. Protein helps reduce hunger and is essential especially if you work out regularly and are aiming to build muscle.
They are relatively inexpensive so can be used to replace meat if you want to cut down on grocery costs, especially towards the end of the month or are vegetarian or vegan.
I usually pick a pulse or bean to make a big batch off at the beginning of the week.

There are many to choose from;

  • Quinoa
  • Lentils
  • Fava beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Black eyed peas
  • White beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Black beans
I prefer getting them dried and making them myself. The canned ones are full of preservatives and usually have a slight metallic under taste to them that I am not too fond of.
If using the dried beans, I usually soak them before overnight. It is good to properly wash them and soak in filtered water. I add a teaspoon of baking soda because it reduces the gassy effect beans can have.
For the white beans and black-eyed peas, I would recommend to soak in boiled water. These beans take a long time to cook and this helps speed up the process.
I then boil them until they are done and store them in packs in the freezer and one Tupperware box in the fridge where I use in the following week.
To see the recipes and how I use them into my everyday meal prepping click this link here.
The second thing I make by batch is a good tomato sauce. This is simply done by blending a big batch of tomatoes and reducing it on the stove until it is a slightly thick consistency. I put them in glass jars and after they are cooled, I freeze them.
To see how I make my tomato sauce click here.
A good broth is essential for most recipes throughout the week.
My favorite is bone broth. I feel it has a nicer flavor and smell then both meat and chicken broth. It is also high in collagen which is good for hair and nails. It is relatively inexpensive to make; a butcher will usually add a bone shaft to your order if requested and most sell them by the pound at really low prices.
If you are lucky if you get your hands on an ox tail as they tend to produce the most flavorsome broths.
For directions on how to make the best bone broth click here.
Chicken broth can be used with the bones of chickens. Vegetable broths can me made using any assortment of vegetables you may have. I personally prefer to make my broths in my slow cooker leaving them on low for at least 24 hours.
 I also pour them into glass jars then freeze them to use later.
When I buy my meats I usually clean and marinade them and then freeze each portion in small Ziploc bags.
This way the night before I take out the things, I need for the following days meal and leave to defrost. In the morning before work I put it in the refrigerator and when I come back, I have all the fresh ingredients needed to assemble a simple meal.
For work lunch I prep my salads for the next two or three days.
I add arugula, some lettuce, cucumber and any vegetables I feel like eating that week.
I add one scoop of the beans/pulses I have cooked at the beginning of the week and sometimes I add a baked falafel or tofu or left-over chicken breast or grated parmesan.
If you want you can make dressing and add it to a small container to pour on your salad before eating.
Honestly, I don’t usually have time to eat a proper breakfast. Breakfast usually consists of one or two bananas and coffee. So, I eat this at work.
I usually find if I don’t bring anything to work with me by noon, I am so hungry I end up eating something that makes me feel heavy and bloated like a chip butty or a chocolate bar. 
It is worth noting storing fruits and vegetables at their peak season is better in terms of cost, quality and taste.
I usually buy large quantities of the following and store each meal portion in a Ziploc bag in the freezer.
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Okra
  • Pumpkin cubes
  • Mango cubes for smoothies
You can add other fruit and vegetables you regularly consume.
I hope this article helps get started into the habit of regular meal prepping.
 
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