Taking time to meal prep at the beginning of the week can be an awesome habit to help you stick to your healthy eating goals. But let’s be real - it can also be super time-consuming.
One thing I’ve learned from meal planning and meal prep over the years is that sometimes short-cuts are A-okay, especially when I know my weekend is already jam-packed with more exciting things than getting food ready for the week. Reaching for pre-washed, pre-chopped and ready-to go-food items can be more expensive, but they end up saving me a ton of time, energy and clean-up when it comes to my weekly meal prep.
Here are 10 of my favorite healthy, already prepped foods to help make your weekend meal prep easier.
1. Pre-Chopped Butternut Squash
Buying squash already cut into cubes not only saves time but can also help you keep all your fingers intact. You can buy pre-chopped butternut squash fresh or frozen.
This bean dip is a nutritious and delicious snack but please don’t feel like you have to make it from scratch each and every week! There are some great all-natural hummus brands out there. Just be sure to read the label before you buy.
3. Canned Lentils & Beans
Dried lentils and beans may be more cost-effective but buying cooked beans in the can (like chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, and lentils) will save you a lot of time. Try to choose low sodium or no salt added brands.
4. Cauliflower Rice
Save yourself the mess of those little whites bits everywhere and opt for store prepared cauliflower rice, which you can buy fresh or frozen.
5. Frozen Vegetables
Forget chopping, slicing and dicing and opt for frozen veggies instead. They can be just as nutritious as fresh veggies without any of the cleanup. You can even find some really funky vegetable combos that make for great stir fries! But please note: frozen vegetables don’t roast as nicely as fresh and therefore are best boiled or steamed.
Tip: Here's a full list of ingredients we love to buy frozen instead of fresh to save time, money and cleanup.
6. Spiralized Veggies
There is no need to invest in a veggie spiralizer to enjoy veggie noodles on your meal plan this week! Many grocery stores sell spiralized beet, sweet potato, and zucchini that are ready to use.
7. Bagged Cabbage
Buying a whole head of cabbage usually means cabbage for days and days. If you don't have an army to feed, you may want to opt for bagged cabbage that is pre-washed, shredded and ready to go.
8. Boxed Greens
Salads get a whole lot easier when you don’t have to wash and chop those leafy greens. Plus baby greens that typically come boxed (like spinach, romaine, arugula and kale) are packed with loads of nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
9. Chopped Fruit Trays
If munching on a variety of fresh fruits for breakfast and snacks is your jam then opt for a prepared fruit tray. Save yourself the hassle and sticky mess of cutting into those hard-to-maneuver fruits. Oh hey, pineapple. Yep, I’m looking at you!
10. Prepared Guacamole
Avocados can be tricky. They are either too hard or too ripe and mashing your avocado ahead of time just leads to a brown mushy mess. There are some pretty great prepared avocado and guacamole dips available at the grocery store now, but just like hummus, make sure you check the ingredients list before you buy!
Do you use any of these prepared ingredients to cut down on meal prep? Do you have any other favorite prepared foods you use on the regular? Let us know in the comments below!
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