Nine Practical Meal Prep Ideas for Healthy Eating

The best way to avoid toxic foods is to prepare all your meals from scratch with organic products from either your garden or the grocery store. This can be understandably overwhelming at first. 

Here are some tips to make cooking from scratch a bit easier!

Cooking from scratch can be a love, hate relationship for me. I love to eat yummy, fresh foods that are nutritious for me and my family. As we all know, we pay for our health now or later, and healthy food choices are one of our best defenses against disease later in life.

Like everyone else, sometimes it seems like so much extra work. To solve this problem Sunday is the day I go to the farmers market and plan our weekly meals.

Here are some tips that I have for making your meal preparation a little bit easier.

  1. Organize Your Fridge and Cupboards Weekly

Even before you plan your weekly meals check out what is already in your cupboards and refrigerator.

Most of us have leftovers lurking that sometimes spoil if they are forgotten in the fridge. 

And many people like me have ingredients that need to be used up before new produce is purchased.

Therefore doing a little “research” to see what you already have on hand is very important for two reasons. You won’t buy what you already have and when you get home the refrigerator is ready for all of the new produce.

2. Pick A Day to Plan Your Weekly Meals.

It seems like it takes a long time to plan out your meals for the week, but in the long run, it saves you time and money.

Time because you do all your shopping and planning at once and money because you will be less likely to eat out.

If you are new to meal planning then just pick what looks yummy and easy.

As you become more skilled at food preparation and planning, you can get more organized in your recipe selection.

For example, use basic ingredients that are easy to find and work for a variety of different kinds of meals. This includes easy-to-find ingredients like broccoli, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, and beans.

All of these ingredients work in a salad, an Indian curry, or even chopped up raw and dipped in hummus.

Planning recipes for the week with the same ingredients for different tasting meals saves you time running around for more ingredients and it can be less wasteful.

If you have a recipe that only requires 1/2 head of broccoli make sure you incorporate the other half into your next meal so it doesn’t get left unused and rot.

3. Choose a Day to Shop and Prepare.

After you plan your meals you’ll need to go shopping.

Choose fresh and organic ingredients. Try to avoid anything pre-prepared in a box or a can. Most cans are lined with plastic and thus most likely contain BPA. Boxed ingredients tend to have more preservatives and are full of ingredients that are difficult to pronounce. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!

Exceptions to this rule are food like pasta and rice. 

4. Prepare as Much as You Can in Advance.

You can also save time preparing some parts in advance. For example, I prefer buying fresh lettuce at the farmer’s market. It always lasts longer when I wash it, spin it, and store it in a plastic bag with a few paper towels. I wash and reuse my bag weekly. As a side note, I tried using a terry cloth bag designed for storing lettuce and it made the lettuce rot faster.

If you work full time it makes sense to wash and chop your veggies so they are ready to go in a salad or stir-fry after a long day at work. This will save you time and make it less likely to resort to take-out or eating out if some of the work is pre-planned.

5. Turn fresh salads into full meals with ingredients you have pre-prepared.

Here are some things you can do in advance.

• Grill meat

• Chop veggies

• Grill your veggies

• If you are vegetarian you can easily add chickpeas, lentils, black beans, etc. To avoid plastic-lined cans you can pre-cook your lentils, chickpeas, and black beans in a crockpot or pressure cooker like an instant pot. You can also pre-cook them and then freeze them in meal-sized containers for later.

6. Prepare Whole Meals in Advance and Freeze Them.

Make meals in advance that freeze well like soups, stews, lasagna, quiche, etc. Before you put them in the freezer divide them up into the right number of servings for your family. That way you are only unthawing what you need.

7. Make Your Crock Pot Your New Best Friend.

Crock pots are a very easy way to make sure you are getting yummy meals. I like them because I can throw all the ingredients into my crock pot in 15 minutes, turn it on, and let it sit all day doing its thing.

Here is a recipe for what’s in my crock pot right now.

Use all organic products if possible.

• 2 chicken breasts

• 4 chicken thighs

• 1 jar of artichokes – preferably from a glass jar

• A handful of basil

• 3 cups of potatoes

• 1/2 of chicken broth

• A dash of salt and pepper

• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Here are the instructions:

• Spray olive oil on the bottom of your crock pot.

• Place the chicken down first.

• Chop up basil and sprinkle it on top of the chicken.

• Sprinkle the chopped artichokes on top of that.

• Put about 3 cups of chopped potatoes on top of that.

• Pour 1/2 cup of chick broth over all of these ingredients.

• Sprinkle garlic powder on top of that.

• Lightly salt and pepper. I prefer pink salt. Consider not salting at all. You can always add more later but you can’t take it away.

• Cook on low heat for 7 hours or more.

I get mine together at about 10 am and we eat around 6 pm.

8. Prepare 2 Meals at Once.

I like to make a main dish that works for 2 dinners and then change the side. So if I make a beef stew, the first night we might have it with fresh steamed green beans and a side salad. On the second evening, we will have it with a different fresh veggie and a salad.

9. Get Your Kids Involved in Meal Planning.

This can be invaluable for many reasons.

• First, you are teaching them how to prepare delicious, healthy, and whole-food meals.

• Second, they are more likely to eat the meals because they had a hand in preparing the food.

• As they get older you can delegate meal preparation to them.

• And you are preparing them for life outside of the nest!

I hope you like all of my suggestions.

Please comment below with any other suggestions that work for you and your family.

Author

  • Elizabeth Hanson

    I’m Elizabeth, a passionate mom determined to create a healthy and wholesome environment for my family and others. My commitment to organic foods and non-toxic living drive every aspect of my life as I strive to provide the best products and choices for my family. My journey began as a little girl watching my Grandma Peg lead a natural lifestyle in her home and garden. She became an organic farmer before organic was even a thing. She lived to be well over 100 years old and I am confident that her natural lifestyle choices helped her live that long. She was a truly inspirational woman! As I grew older I became acutely aware of the hidden dangers posed by unknown toxic chemicals in our everyday products. This revelation ignited a fire within me, and I delved deep into researching products that I could use daily to avoid hurting myself, my family, my home, and the environment. From nourishing organic meals to eco-friendly household products, our home has become a sanctuary for health and wellness. As a single mom, I am also perfecting how to do this efficiently and inexpensively. I’ve learned that with a little effort, and making baby step changes, non-toxic and eco-friendly living is not that hard. This realization has led me on a mission to help others do the same. I feel an unyielding calling to help other families navigate this journey also. To reach out and share the knowledge and experiences that I have gained over the years I started this blog to provide practical tips, expert advice, and product reviews to empower other people to make informed choices. Seeing the positive impact of non-toxic living on my family and witnessing the transformative changes in others’ lives has only fueled my dedication further. Whether it’s guiding my kids towards healthier choices or advocating for safer practices in our community, I am always striving to make a difference. My dream is to see every family thrive in a toxin-free environment, cherishing life’s simple and natural pleasures. Through my journey as a mother, advocate, and mentor, I hope to be a beacon of hope and inspiration for countless families seeing a safer, more fulfilling way of life. Together, we can create a world where everyone can embrace non-toxic living and live a brighter, healthier future.

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