Meal preparation made easy

Creating new habits in an already hectic daily routine can feel like an impossible task. Learning to prioritize your activities is a great way to understand where most of your time is going and also highlights parts of the day where your attention or energy may be better spent. Once you’ve mastered this, it’s time to maximize those minutes so you can spend more time doing what you love rather than what you must. One of those ‘musts’ is cooking, ‘cause at the end of the day, we all gotta eat!

To make your time in the kitchen quicker and more enjoyable, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite low-maintenance tools guaranteed to cut down your prep/cook time while still allowing you to reap the rewards of eating healthy, happy food.

1. Freezer Bags
Don’t be fooled: you can freeze just about anything! For breakfast try chopping up fresh fruits and vegetables and portioning them into single serve freezer bags. These can be quickly tossed into a blender with some yogurt for a grab and go smoothie. Dinner can easily be done in the same way which leads me to my next tool: the crock pot.

Green Smoothie Freezer Bag Recipe:
1 cup kale OR spinach
1⁄2 banana
1⁄2 pear
1 tbsp nut butter

Combine with 1 cup almond milk in blender and mix till combined.

2. Crock Pots
Not only do these cook while you’re busy doing other things, you can also make large quantities of food that can be portioned and saved for later. Soups, chilis, and stews are a great example of this. Another option would be to spend some time at the start of your week portioning your meals into freezer bags and before leaving your house for work, toss one into the crock pot to simmer while you’re away.

Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki:
1 chicken breast
1 cup broccoli
1⁄2 red pepper (sliced)
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
1 inch piece of ginger (grated)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce (or coconut aminos for soy free)

Thaw and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve as is or over brown rice.

3. The Good Ol’ Fashion Bulk Cook
Rather than freezing your portions, toss everything onto a tray and cook it at the start of your week. Package up your meals for the first half of the week and freeze the other half for later. Also, make sure to wash all of your fruits and vegetables ahead of time so they are ready to grab and go. This will save you tons of future prep time. Meals such as chili’s, stews, curries, and soups are great because they leave you with
large quantities that you can store for later.

Here’s a no-fuss Tomato Basil Soup recipe that can be ready to serve in 20 minutes and makes enough for at least four servings!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup:
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1 white onion (Diced)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp basil (dried)
Salt/Pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, heat a dash of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook till caramelized (5-7 minutes). Add garlic and spices and cook for another 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and stir until well combined. All to come to a light boil and reduce to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly stir in coconut milk. Transfer to a blender (CAREFULLY) and blend till smooth.

4. Meal Prep Services
If grocery shopping and portioning simply does not fit into your schedule, there are plenty of meal prep services available that can help you eat well. Meals are usually designed by a nutritionist and delivered right to your door. The cost is typically more than what you’d spend on your own groceries but when considering the time saved, the cost for convenience is actually fairly minimal.

Written by Meaghan Poulton,

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