After all, you’re not going to kill it in a morning meeting if you’re running on coffee because there was no time to make eggs. You’re not going to enjoy quality time with your kids during dinner if you’re struggling to get a healthy meal on the table before bedtime. (It’s easier to get them to eat broccoli when they’re wide awake, we promise.)
And if you’re a nutritionist or health coach (or any kind of wellness professional) teaching your clients how to effectively prep for a healthy week is key. It’ll set them up with healthy habits and make it easier for them to follow your brilliant advice come Wednesday, when their to-do list has grown alongside cravings for cupcakes and you’re not around to intervene.
Here are some foolproof ways to make Sunday the day you ready yourself for a nutritious week—and life.
1. Wash and Chop.
You’d be surprised how much a dirty bunch of spinach can hold you up by the time you’re done rinsing, spinning, and picking leaves off stems. Wash and bag all of your greens on Sunday so they’re ready to be thrown in any dish. Wash all of your other produce, too, and pre-chop anything you’ll be able to grab to throw in a salad or for a snack, like red peppers, carrots, and celery. You can roast veggies in bulk and have them ready alongside the raw ones. Bonus: When everything is cleaned, chopped, and stored, your fridge will look pretty and organized, which will help you feel in control of the week ahead.
2. Stock snacks.
Speaking of veggie sticks, prep other snacks you can grab on the go, even if that means just bagging nuts so they’re portable or pre-portioning hummus into containers.
3. Cook grains.
Make big batches of plain quinoa, brown rice, farro, or another healthy grain to keep in the fridge so you have a base for different dishes to assemble throughout the week.
4. Prep protein.
Proteins like fish fillets don’t hold up that well, but you can grill organic chicken breasts or grass-fed steaks in advance and store them to add to salads and grain bowls later. This will help you make sure the meat you eat is high-quality.
5. Plan for leftovers.
When you’re planning Sunday dinner, think big. Make a lasting dish that’s bound to end up in leftovers, like a big pot of veggie or grass-fed beef chili, a hearty soup, or a veggie casserole. (Check out this Roasted Veggie Enchilada Casserole for inspo!)
6. Make breakfast ahead.
If Greek yogurt is your go-to, you can probably skip this step. If not, there are a few easy, healthy breakfast options you can make in advance. Hard boil a dozen eggs, for instance, and they’ll be ready to eat with Ezekial toast and avocado mash. You can also make overnight oats in all different combos, which look super gorgeous on a fridge shelf in Mason jars.
7. Schedule workouts and personal to-dos.
It’s easy to get swept up in your work once you’re in the swing of things. In order to stay healthy and balanced, you need to prioritize getting things done for yourself, too. Even if you just go running in your neighborhood or do yoga in your living room, schedule those workouts into your calendar for the whole week, so they’re locked in like meetings. You can also choose a few high-priority personal to-dos that need to come off your long list and onto the calendar. That’ll help you keep moving forward each week without feeling overwhelmed.
When you’re done, it’s time to Netflix and chill. After all of that work, you’ve earned it. Sure, tomorrow’s Monday, but you’ll barely feel the anxiety knowing all of your homework’s done and you’re free to have fun.
Meal Prepping Made Easy in 4 Simple Steps
By Christine Anenberg, NLC
Meal prepping is one of those things you keep saying you should do, but then you never seem to actually make it happen, right?
It can be challenging and stressful (another thing on the to-do list) to plan out and then find the time and motivation to cook REAL CLEAN FOODS during the workweek.
But, if you’re guilty of often saying, “Oh crap, what am I going to have for dinner?!” then you need to listen up. These 4 steps could change your life.
Meal prepping is all about time management and organization, so I’m gonna help you with both right now. By prepping your individual meals ahead of time, you’re less likely to eat junk, overeat, and stress about your next meal.
Breakfast: Keep breakfast simple by getting creative with overnight oatmeal mason jars. Fill 5 jars each with ½ rolled oats, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 tablespoon protein powder and enough almond milk to cover your mixture. If you’re the pop into the coffee shop for a pumpkin spice latte morning type, curb that craving by adding 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree and cinnamon to your oats.
Lunch: One of my go to lunches is a ground turkey taco bowl. Saute 2 lbs of organic ground turkey, add in low sodium taco seasoning (or make your own), and roast peppers and onions while the turkey is sauteeing. Take out your five containers and add in each ¼ cup black beans, ½ cup prepared ground turkey, salsa, roasted peppers and onions. One huge mistake people make while meal prepping is not using their time wisely or multitasking. This leads to prolonged cooking time, sweat and (sometimes) tears.
Dinner: For dinners, I like to marinate my protein all at once since nobody wants to eat plain chicken breasts all week long. One of my faves: Mix together 1 tablespoon Dijon, ¼ cup balsamic, ¼ cup olive oil, chopped fresh rosemary, garlic and a hint of sea salt into a bowl. Place 5 organic chicken breasts in a glass pan and coat them with the mixture. Marinate for 1 hour then bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees. Save even more time by cutting up sweet potatoes and baking the chicken right on top of them.
Snacks: Don’t forget about your grab and go snacks and remember they don’t have to come in a wrapper. Bag up ready to blend smoothie ingredients like ½ banana, ½ cup blueberries, 1 cup chopped kale, 1 teaspoon each of flaxseed, hemp seed and chia seeds. Freeze them up in individual bags since they don’t keep well in the fridge. When you’re ready to enjoy your smoothie, add 1 ½ cups liquid of your choice (I love using coconut water) to the frozen mixture and blend.
Homemade hummus (this is where the food processor comes in handy!) and cut-up raw veggies are great to store in individual snack containers, too.
Nuts portioned in individual bags are another great snack you can stash in your bag.
Some meal prepping rules you’ll want to follow:
Now that I have your attention, it’s time to put some prep in your step! Whether you’re trying to save time and money or achieve fitness goals, meal prepping will make your life simpler and less stressful.
Find a routine that works for you and your lifestyle, and remember to have fun! Cooking is a fantastic way to express yourself. So throw on your best apron and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!
About Christine: Christine has worked with tons of families and single folks all around Orange County for the past 4 years. She grew up in the kitchen alongside her Italian mother who loved finding ways to incorporate a healthy twist to her Italian meals. Her goal is to give her clients the opportunity to come home to a fully stocked guilt-free fridge. Check out her website or find her on Instagram!