Spice Up Your Food Prep by Using These 5 Steps to Stop Food Prep Burnout
By Coach Adrianne Caridakis
Do you batch cook or meal prep on the weekends? When you’re pressed for time during the week, it can really make a difference between eating fast, face planting in the drive thru, or having the delivery guy greet you by first name. Most people (raising my hand here) start out with meal prep by lining up plastic containers on their counter and filling each with identical meals.
They batch cook chicken breasts, ground turkey, rice, potatoes, veggies, and so on. You fill and stack them up, and they wait in the fridge to be grabbed and packed for lunch. Those ideas are really great and can make a world of difference, especially if you’re a beginner. Simple, easy, fast.
I did that for a long time and it works… but it can get boring. I personally am one of those who will often open the fridge to see the same meal that I’ve had 4 times already, and just order a pizza or eat anything to keep from choking down a repeat. I fully understand that not everyone feels this way, but lots of us do and we want meal excitement.
If you don’t mind and it works for you, don’t mess with perfection. But, if you’re finding yourself bored, try mixing it up a little. It’s still the same process to prep and cook your meats, grains, rice, and veggies so no changes needed there. The difference is in the making of the actual meals and varying what goes into each container.
I follow 5 easy steps whether making meals at home or ordering out:
- Pick a palm sized portion of protein (chicken, beef, eggs, tofu, greek yogurt)
- Add 2 fist sized portions of veggies (carrots, spinach, broccoli, grape tomatoes)
- Pick a flavor theme and add a sauce, spice or herb (BBQ, teriyaki, marinara, salsa)
- Add about a cupped handful portion of carbs (oats, quinoa, rice, wrap, pasta)
- Make sure there’s a serving of healthy fats (dressing, avocado, nuts, guac, sour cream)
I try to follow this with every meal and that ensures I get adequate protein, veggies, fats, and volume without sacrificing flavor. It takes no extra time, but a little more thought effort. If you call thinking about what you want to eat as “effort.” 😉
For example, chicken/kale/tomatoes/beans/avocado/salsa one day. Chicken/romaine/carrots/cream cheese/buffalo sauce/whole grain wrap the next. Slap the chicken in corn tortillas with BBQ sauce and grilled zucchini. Chicken with rice, steamed broccoli, and teriyaki sauce.
All of these dishes can come from the same meal prep and take no extra time to throw together, but they end up as totally different meals during the week. Your tastebuds are more likely to be happy and you’ll be more likely to stick to the plan if you’re bored with identical meals.
Another option for those that can’t or don’t want to cook is to buy pre-cooked chicken and steak strips, veggie burgers, frozen veggies, and microwave rice, potatoes, and other no cook options like that. This still saves time but, it doesn’t require you to have cooking skills. I love cooking but I keep chicken strips, rice, and veggies in my freezer for emergency nights.
If you follow these guidelines each time, you’ll come pretty close to your healthy eating goals without a lot of thought and definitely without a lot of time. The combinations and flavor ideas are endless. Life is too short to settle for plain old chicken, broccoli, and rice.