If you read PART 1 of the meal prep blog, you’d see that creating small but actionable steps over time will facilitate a process where meal prep becomes a part of the natural routine. Some non-traditional elements that are a bit out-of-the-box can also make meal prep something to actually look forward to.. Creativity in the kitchen, and inspiration outside of it, are just some of the ways to ignite more joy and of course mindfulness as you cook (which is by no coincidence an essential component to gut health). Below are some alternative strategies to support the continuation of honing in on the meal prepping skills!
Involve the Kids/Family: Meal prepping does not have to be an isolated occasion. It is a great learning opportunity to help re-connect kids to food, specifically how it is made and grown. It is also a fantastic vehicle to emotionally connect on a different level. While at first it may be tough to multi-task, as your kids grow older, that positive energy instilled in the kitchen is going to be one of the fondest things they remember about being home. One day, they may return the favor and cook for you!
Set the Ambiance: To help make meal prepping less dreadful, it’s all about creating an atmosphere that can stimulate the senses and spark happiness. This means cooking foods with spices that stop people in their tracks as they walk into the kitchen, or pouring a glass of your favorite drink (does not have to be alcohol) as you begin to prep the meal. Lighting a candle, jamming out to music, listening to a podcast, or turning on a favorite comfort television show are all ways to make kitchen-time more appealing and less of a “have-to-do” and more of a “get-to-do”.
Don’t be Ashamed of Shortcuts: If it is appropriate and within budget, there is NO SHAME in buying foods that are already cut, chopped, or peeled. Although there appears to be a growing stigma against this, if it makes your meal prep routine shorter, easier, and more enjoyable, just go for it! Prioritize yourself and your time, and this is a fantastic step for it. Your gut will thank you for this one J
Use Social Media to your Advantage: Some of the best recipes have come from random influencers on Instagram and TikTok as they source some great shortcuts and beautifully plated meals. It can be challenging to get creative on your own, especially if cooking is currently an intimidating force. The step-by-step approach many influencers take really does resonate with people, and is absolutely attainable! You will be amazed at all you can create with just a little influence and inspiration to get your creative (and digestive) juices started.
Create Structure: Structure and envisioning a tangible plate is helpful when designing your meals. Below is an example of a balanced plate that can promote satiety and so much nourishing goodness. Cooking puts you in the driver’s seat, such a powerful spot to be in, take advantage of this!
– Choose 1 protein (P) (¼ your plate)
– Choose a fat (F) (drizzle on top or add as topping)
– Choose 1 fibrous carb (FC) (¼ your plate)
– Choose a variety of color (C) (½ your plate)
– Salmon (P) (¼ your plate)
– Olive Oil (F) (drizzle on top or add as topping)
– Quinoa (FC) (¼ your plate)
– Sauteed Greens like Spinach, Bok Choy, and Collard Greens (C) (½ your plate)
– Grilled Tofu (P) (¼ your plate)
– Avocado and olive oil (drizzled)
– Butternut squash
– Bed of arugula and spinach combination
Having the ingredients prepped like described in blog #1 can make this more than possible and even easy!
This article was written by gutTogether Health Coach Samantha Kane