Meal Prep: 101

It’s not always easy to make healthy choices when your week is jam-packed with meetings, errands, and countless other to-dos. Let’s face it, we live in a fast-paced world and don’t have time to spend hours every day toiling in the kitchen. Delivery, take-out, and grab-and-go snacks, however, don’t have to be your only food options. Meal prepping frees up so much time throughout the week and allows you to create healthy, balanced meals based on your personal eating preferences. Hey, you just might be able to use those extra hours to go to the gym, or hit up your favorite yoga class.

To stock your refrigerator with healthy meals for the week, you need three things: fresh foods, storage containers, and about 3-4 hours. The time commitment can be the deterring factor, but dedicating a few hours every week to meal prep will make the next 7 days so easy. Your future self will be grateful!

The Food

Eating the same food every single day will not only make you bored, but it will limit the number of nutrients you are supplying to your body. Give yourself some options when picking your foods for the week! Here are some tips when making your food choices: - Shop in-season not only will the food taste better, but there is higher nutrition value in fresh, in-season foods! - Buy local shopping your local farmer’s markets is a great way to find in-season foods. If you don’t have a farmer’s market in your area, you can find local produce at grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes.
- Chase the rainbow your meals should be colorful. Make sure you are not only eating your greens — there are a lot of great vitamins and minerals in the yellow, red, purple, orange (etc.) foods too!
- Stay balanced everybody needs carbs, proteins, and fats. As a rule of thumb, include all three in each of your meals to keep yourself balanced throughout the day.

The Containers

Finding a set of containers that fit together, have locking lids, and store easily is essential for meal prep. Here are a few of my requirements when choosing storage containers:
- Oven safe being able to cook in the same container you store your food will dirty less dishes and save you time. - Microwave safe even if you don’t eat a lot of microwaved food, having a microwave safe container is a must. No one wants their lunch to melt or explode in the microwave! - Leak-proof having a lid that seals all the liquid in will save you so much stress. No more worrying about spills in your bag on the way to work! - Our favorite: Glasslock 18-Piece Assorted Oven Safe Container Set

For anything cold (dressings, smoothies, fruit, etc.), mason jars are great for storage.

The Time

The best part about meal prepping (besides the delicious food) is that you can do it whenever you want! Pick one day a week that typically works for your schedule and set aside a few hours to get all your shopping and prepping done. Here are my meal-prep best practices for being efficient: - Plan your meals this doesn’t have to be a set-in-stone list. Just give yourself a rough idea of what you need prepped for the week. Smoothies, tacos, salads, soup. What are you craving this week? - Make a shopping list writing out what you need at the store will not only ensure that you are getting everything, but it will save you time once you get there!
- Clear all distractions turn on a good playlist and shut off all of your notifications. Getting distracted in the kitchen can make this process a lot longer than necessary. Meal prepping is a great opportunity for you to gather your thoughts for the week and spend some time ‘checked-out’ from the rest of the world. Plus, it can be dangerous to be distracted while cutting your veggies or using the oven!

The meal prepping process can seem a bit intimidating the first time, but once you see how easy it is (and how much money you save on seamless or grubhub each week), you will want to meal prep every week. Morever, ALOHA can make your meal prep even easier. Our organic, plant-based nutrition bars are perfect as a larger snack or meal replacement. You can even prepare smoothies with ALOHA’s plant-based protein powder ahead of time by storing them in the freezer and letting them thaw before consuming.

Meal-prep ideas

1. Vegan/ Gluten-free Pancakes(store in an airtight container in the fridge and pop in the toaster when you’re ready to eat) 2. Peanut Butter Chocolate Overnight Oats 3. Beet and Superfood Greens Hummus