Let’s talk healthy cooking — while we all know it plays a huge part in helping us reach our fitness and wellness goals, the idea of meal prep isn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world. It often comes with the notion that it’s crazy time-consuming and even expensive. We’re here to help by giving you these ten healthy cooking hacks that will not only make healthy eating delicious but ten times easier than you thought.
So grab a pen and paper or start taking some mental notes because your next meal prep day is about to get way less stressful.
10 Healthy Cooking Hacks That Will Transform Meal Prep Days
#1 Search For The Most Delicious Recipes
Ok, first off, healthy eating absolutely must be delicious — the yummier it is, the more likely we’ll stick to it, right? So, spend an hour or so during a day you have some spare time and scour through your favorite food blogs or look through those cookbooks that have been collecting dust lately.
Sticky note the recipe you know you’ll want to try.
#2 Next, Meal Plan!
Now that you have a list of must-try recipes, it’s time to turn them into a delicious meal plan. To turn this into one of those healthy cooking hacks that also saves you some cook time in the kitchen, stick to about five to six recipes that you can reuse throughout the week.
Trust us, you’ll thank yourself when you aren’t spending your whole weekend meal prepping.
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#3 Triple Your Recipes
Yes, seriously — whatever you are making for dinner, triple the recipe. This way, you’ll have enough for lunch the next day and one dish you can freeze for a day during the week when you are far too busy to cook.
This is one of those healthy cooking hacks that may transform how you think about meal prep each week! It makes things way less time-consuming.
#4 Repurpose Recipes
Ok, so maybe those five recipes just aren’t cutting it for you each week but you still don’t want to be tied down to the kitchen — no sweat. Try mixing and matching your ingredients to turn an already prepped meal into something completely different!
- Have a ground turkey stir-fry prepped? Try turning it into your base for tacos.
- Take that extra ground beef you have prepped and make a meat sauce with your favorite sauce and dark leafy greens. Serve over gluten-free pasta or zucchini noodles.
- Have too much banana bread on hand? Try using it to make french toast!
#5 Mix & Match
This goes along with the idea of batch cooking, and it’s one of those healthy cooking hacks that can also help add some variety to your diet.
Basically, you’ll want to take the ingredients you have on hand to create as many recipes out of them as you can.
Have lots of chicken and veggies on hand? Try making a batch of balsamic chicken with broccoli and then try making a chicken parm recipe served over spiralized veggie noodles.
You can also mix and match ingredients like beans and lentils by tossing them into as many recipes as you can throughout the week, like salads and veggie burgers.
#6 Become a Labeling Pro
As you prep all these nutritious and delicious recipes, be sure to label them all so you can easily look in your fridge or freezer and see exactly what’s prepped.
Stock up on some simple food labels that you can stick right on a resealable bag or food storage container and label what it is and when you made it.
#7 Mix Up Your Proteins
While you’re meal prepping, consider mixing up your protein picks a bit. If you tend to lean towards animal-based protein, try adding some vegetarian options in there like beans, lentils, and tempeh. Branch out and add some protein variety to your diet.
#8 Meal Prep on the Day That Works Best For You
This one’s huge. You don’t want to meal prep on a day where your schedule is so jam-packed that you barely have time to eat lunch.
Pick a day where you have some downtime and you can make the most of it and maybe even enjoy it!
#9 Optimize One-Sheet/One-Pan Meals
Have you jumped on the one-sheet bandwagon yet? If not, it’s a must-know healthy cooking hack! You are basically making a full meal on just one pan or on one baking sheet.
Think chicken and veggies or tofu and veggies. You can add all the ingredients on a parchment-lined sheet, season, and cook everything together.
The result? Less cook and clean up time (win!)
#10 Make it Fun
Last but certainly not least, this is one of our favorite healthy cooking hacks since living a healthy lifestyle can totally be fun.
So, if you dread meal prep day, try making it fun by turning up the tunes, listening to a podcast, or inviting a friend over to help.
Trust us — it will help take the monotony out of meal prep days.
Make The Most of Meal Prep
Listen, we totally get it — meal prep days can seem time-consuming and may be the last thing you want to do in your free time.
But, with a little prep work, it can completely transform your healthy eating habits. So, try using these ten healthy cooking hacks to up your meal prep game without feeling totally stressed, and like meal prep days are taking up all your free time.