Eating healthy can be overwhelming. And yes, sometimes it can feel like a full time job. But guess what? It doesn't have to be this way, It can actually be simple.
It can be simple when you focus on creating habits. A habit works when you put a behaviour on automatic pilot (just like brushing your teeth). You don't question a habit just like you don't question brushing your teeth, and therefore it becomes simple. You aren't burning your energy on convincing yourself why you should/shouldn't do something.
As part of my new year resolution I decided to start a Sunday food prep for the week. I have noticed that I spent so much precious time during the week in the kitchen and for a lack of time couldn't really cook the delicious nourishing foods my body was craving for.
SO- I've been doing it for few months now and it does magic!
Here is the secret magic behind food prepping:
Food Prep - Tips To Start With:
1. Start by choosing a day which works for you
2. Reserve around 3 hours. The time you'll spend in the kitchen really depends on your kitchen skills and what you choose to make. Overtime you'll start developing different tricks so you'll become more efficient.
3. Engage your family! Ask your kids to mix, your partner to chop and your dog to clean up ;)
4. Make a fun playlist!
5. Set a little ritual to make this time in the kitchen sacred. When we cook with love and intention our food is more nourishing and delicious. I personally like to have a cup of coffee and review my cooking plan.
The Mix & Match Method!
1. My food prep is based on the idea of Mix & Match - preparing basic food staples (protein, grains, veggies, greens, dips...) which you can combine in many different ways!
2. Having those ready ingredients on hand will allows you to prepare meals and snacks in no time.
3. You don't have to plan your meals to the detail. I like to keep it open so I can improvise throughout the week. I find it easier to just think about the food staples and choose one or more of each (depends for how many people you are cooking) and don't forget to make a grocery list ;)
4. If you are planing to make legumes and/or whole grains (like brown rice) don't forget to soak them the night before
5. With this method you won't have to eat the same meal 3 days in a row. You can have a completely different dish depending on the different combination, method and sauce/seasoning.
6. Here are some examples for the possible combination methods: Salads (rice, legumes and greens can all be ingredients in a salad), Stir fry- quickly fry some onion with your desired seasoning and add your staples of choice and one of favourites- buddha bowls.
7. I recommend preparing your staple with minimal seasoning so you have plenty possibilities to combine
8. Think about the different methods you can prepare your staples like roasting, grilling, steaming...
9. Multi tasking is the key to minimise your time in the kitchen. For example: I boil water in a big pot to half cook my broccoli and cauliflower that are going into the oven. I put the whole cauliflower and the whole broccoli in the pot and when half cooked, I take them out (keeping the water in) and put green beans to cook. While I cook those I cook quinoa (use timer when multitasking!) and start cutting sweet potato wedges... You get the picture?
Food Staples- So Many Possibilities:
1. Greens- Kale, Spinach, Collard Greens, Bok Choy, Dandelion Greens...
2. Vegetables- Broccoli, Cauliflower, Green Beans, Carrots, Fennel, Mushrooms, Cabbage, Asparagus, Zucchini, Aubergine, Beetroot, Bell Peppers, Brussel Sprouts, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato...
3. Proteins- Meat, Chicken, Fish and Eggs if you are not vegan/vegetarian.
Legumes- Lentils, Black Beans, Adzuki Beans, Mung Beans, Chickpea...
4. Grains - Rice, Wild Rice, Brown Rice , Red Rice, Quinoa, Buckwheat, Teff, Amaranth...
5. Dips- Baba Ganush, Tahini, Hummus..
6. You can add fresh herbs, avocado (for healthy fats), fresh greens, fermented foods like sourkraut and kimchi, you can top your dish with some yogurt or add some seeds/nuts. There is plenty of place to get creative!
7. breakfast food prep ideas- chia pudding, overnight oats, smoothie (place the ingredients in a zipper bag), boiled eggs, baked oats
8. Get inspired by your seasonal local framers market!