Planning and preparation are two things I always find myself talking to clients about. Knowing what to do and actually doing it can be very different things. What makes the difference is planning.
Today, I want to talk about how you’re feeling about planning. If it’s going really well, excellent job. If it’s a bit patchy or you’re struggling, let’s make a plan.
A good starting point is to think about which meal is most affected. It might be that it’s all of them, or it might just relate to breakfast or lunch – especially if you’re pushed for time when you’re heading out to work.
So, which meal is most in need of your attention? Do you want to streamline your morning routine?
It might be that getting ahead with prep is the solution you need. Meal prep might range from simply preparing freezer smoothie packs for breakfast to cooking complete dinners for the upcoming week. You don’t need to spend your entire Sunday in the kitchen either. Even spending 30 minutes planning and prepping meals will make it easier to eat well during the week.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to do this. You don’t have to choose just one category to work from. When I’m on top form, I probably dip in and out of all of these. This is step 2.
This video discusses some reasons why it’s good to do “meal preparation”
Make-ahead meals: if you have a little time to prepare meals during the week, cooking complete meals in advance to be reheated makes for superfast weeknight dinners. That might mean setting the slow cooker up to have a soup, casserole, stew or curry waiting for your return, or perhaps you’ve just made them on the stovetop.
Batch cooking/freezing: Batch cooking is preparing multiple batches of a recipe to be portioned out and frozen for meals in the weeks to come. When we’ve finished our detox programme, you can carry on this good work. Whether it’s fish pie, ragú sauce or a bean chilli, I’m sure you have some recipes up your sleeve that you can batch cook. The extra effort involved in doubling or tripling quantities (eat one, freeze one or two) is minimal, so this really brings dividends.
Individually portioned meals: What I’m talking about here is those grab-and-go meals, usually lunches or breakfasts, that are made the night before you need them then popped in the fridge. For example, making overnight oats, popping smoothie ingredients (minus the liquid, of course) into a bag to whiz in the morning, or building the perfect salad.
Partial meal prep: When you need to cook meals just before serving (think stir-fries or if cooking this way is simply your preference), chopping up the ingredients and storing them in airtight containers cuts down on kitchen time, which can be especially helpful on a busy weeknight. Pulling out all my pre-chopped ingredients always gives me the feeling of being a TV chef – so satisfying! The big upside is that partial prep doesn’t take much time to get started with, although it requires a bit more time and effort to get a meal on the table.