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Food Prep: Making Good Choices and Healthy Meals

By Jodie Parus, RD, LD

food prepThere is a small movement that has begun called Sunday Food Prep. Basically, you prepare foods on Sunday and use them during the week as breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and dinner ingredients. This allows you to plan ahead and make it easy and convenient to make good choices and healthy meals throughout the week.

This past Sunday, my husband and I went to the farmer's market and then came home with our loot to start our Sunday food prep! This week we got kale, spinach, cucumber, avocado, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, bananas, apples, mango, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, almonds, walnuts, dried figs, dates, cranberries, apricots, and raisins!

We prepped the following:

 

·      Roasted yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, asparagus, red pepper, and butternut squash

·      Chickpea, orzo, spinach, tomato salad

·      Diced tomato and cucumber salad

·      Mashed sweet potatoes

·      Black Beans

·      Grilled chicken, turkey burgers, beef burgers

·      Sweet Potato Bites

We had a few other things that we were considering making, but are going to try those next week! Chocolate banana breakfast quinoa and Banana oat breakfast cookies.

Everything that we prepped we are going to use as our "lunch buffet", taking with us what we want each day. Also, prepping extra protein and sides will make it easy for us to come home to a quick, healthy dinner!

Follow these tips to help you get started with your first Sunday food prep:

·      Choose four to six of your favorite vegetables. Firm textured vegetable like broccoli, peppers, carrots, and squash hold up well. Prepare these how you most enjoy them, but often it is quickest to prepare them all together in the same manner. For example, place your chopped broccoli, pepper, carrots, and squash on a baking sheet or dish and roast everything together at 400 degrees.

 

·      Choose two to three proteins. Again, it is often quickest to prepare these in the same manner. For example grill or bake all of your protein. Beans are also great go to proteins.

 

·      Choose a couple of versatile grains such as quinoa and brown rice.

 

·      Choose some items that will work well as snacks. Vegetable sticks, washed and cut fruit, homemade protein or energy bars.

 

·      Choose some items that you want to prepare for breakfast. It is really easy to prepare oatmeal in bulk. Each morning you can then top your bowl with fresh fruit, dried fruit or nuts.

 

After preparing all of your ingredients place the items in individual ceramic or glass containers. Now, sit down and take a break! After your first Sunday food prep session you may think, “Is the time and effort I just spent worth it?” It will be when you find yourself easily making good nutrition choices and quick, healthy meals. Sunday food prep not only saves you time during the week, but you will see a significant cost savings!

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