Fail to prepare and prepare to fail, or that’s how the saying goes! But what do you do when the same dry chicken and tired vegetables just won’t cut it?
Take your meal prep from drab to delicious with our simple four-step solution.
Tip 1: Shop smart
Your shopping list will show you the options you selected for each macronutrient types each week. This means you should know exactly what to buy when you go shopping.
Going into the store with a fixed plan means you know exactly what and how you’re going to cook your meals for the week and stops you from being pulled off-course. Make sure to rotate these options regularly.
Buy in bulk to save time and effort. For instance, for herbs and vegetables like peppers, carrots or courgette that are likely to go off quickly, prep them and store them in the freezer, where you can easily add them to meals.
This also works well for proteins like chicken or beef, where you can add spices or marinades to boost flavour. Frozen vegetables are a great option as they are fresher and more nutrient-dense than those sold on the shelf and tend to be much cheaper.
Tip 2: Batch cook your meals
Batch cooking is an easy way to save time and effort. It also means you can combine food types to make your meals more interesting.
For instance, there’s no reason you can’t make a big stir-fry or curry with lots of your favourite vegetables, rather than plain ‘chicken and broccoli’.
Herbs and spices are your friend, so don’t be afraid to play around with flavours to create interesting dishes.
Citrus fruits, such as lime and lemon slices, are a great way to add flavour to bland proteins like white fish or chicken.
Tip 3: Consider investing in a slow-cooker or steamer
When you have a busy schedule, food prep can be a challenge. A slow cooker can be a valuable addition. Load it up in the morning with diced vegetables, lean meat and stock and leave it cooking throughout the day, so you have a delicious meal to come home to.
A steamer is also a great way to speed up meal prep. Prepare all your proteins, vegetables and even carbohydrate sources and cook them all together in as little as half an hour.
You can add lots of flavour with herbs, citrus fruits and spices.
Tip 4: Keep your vegetables interesting
Vegetables can taste delicious if cooked well, but horrible when overcooked. To keep vegetables interesting, try a few of the following tricks:
Pulse cauliflower or broccoli in a food processor to create a rice-like consistency. This can be used in place of rice or mixed into roasted vegetables or salad.
Finely slice and shred your vegetables. Shredding leaf vegetables like spinach or kale often makes them more palatable. Slice up peppers, chilli, mushrooms, courgette, butternut and sugar snap peas and mix with a little seasoning and fresh herbs.
Spiralise courgette, butternut squash or sweet potato to create a delicious spaghetti or noodle alternative. Different textures are just as important as different flavours when it comes to keeping food interesting.
Blanch or steam your greens. If your greens are dull and mushy, they’re likely overcooked.
Drop broccoli, asparagus, green beans and sugar snap peas into boiling water for two to three minutes. Drain and immediately submerge in cold water. This halts the cooking process and keeps them fresh and crunchy. Alternatively, invest in a steamer, which will allow you to cook multiple servings and types of foods in one go.
By getting creative in the kitchen, over time you can develop a repertoire of recipes and flavour combinations that will keep your food interesting and keep you on track.