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Why Meal Prep?

Written by: Ashley Stewart, RDN, LD
Registered Dietitian
Phoebe Sumter Medical Center

In recognition of National Nutrition Month, I chose to share one of my favorite techniques to save time, save money, reduce stress, and to keep your weight in check. It’s no secret that when you eat healthy, you feel better! Many of us are so busy with work, school, children, and extracurricular activities, we forget about the importance of eating healthy and we eat what is convenient instead which causes us to eventually gain weight and/or feel sluggish. If you take just one day per week to shop and prep ahead, you can save time and money, as well as lose weight and feel energized!

I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t always eat healthy. As dietitians, we believe in balance, and more specifically, I’m a big believer in the 85/15 rule. Make sure 85% of the foods you put in your body are nourishing with fiber, protein, or healthy fats, and the other 15% gives you a little wiggle room. If we broke that down calorically, that means maybe 225 calories of treat foods per day for a 1500 calorie diet. Meal and snack prepping helps control portions and ensure those other 1275 calories are from healthy foods!

Tips to get you started:

  1. Make a list. Organize your grocery list by food group category (vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, meats/beans, and miscellaneous).
  2. Chose 2 options for weekly breakfasts, lunch, and snacks then rotate items so you don’t get bored.
  3. Invest in multiple size storage containers that are microwave and dishwasher safe as well as BPA free (which may have some adverse health effects when heated).
  4. Choose a day to batch cook grains, chop veggies/fruit, and cook proteins.

Meal and Snack ideas:

  • Breakfast- overnight oats, smoothie packs, frittata muffin cups, whole grain muffins
  • Lunch/Dinner- burrito bowls with rice & veggies (use beans as a protein to mix things up), salads with lean protein and vinaigrette dressings, fish or chicken with roasted potatoes and broccoli
  • Snacks- low sugar, high fiber granola bars (like KIND brand), cottage cheese with fruit, veggies with hummus, pre-portioned trail mix, edamame