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Work those Fruits and Vegetables in by meal prepping!


Whether you’re managing a chronic disease, have digestive issues, experiencing chronic pain or even have an autoimmune condition, we know that our nutrition plays a key role in all of these areas.


Why are you seeking a nutrition solution?

- You could be seeking more energy and better health.

- Maybe everyday feels like a struggle with your diet.

- Do you wake up feeling tired, or struggle with getting quality sleep?

-Maybe managing your chronic condition is causing you stress


Mom was right — eating vegetables and fruits IS good for you. It seems like every day researchers discover new benefits to the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and fiber found naturally in vegetables and fruits. Whether it is helping to maintain the body’s immune function, maximizing focus, or optimizing your ability to produce energy, it’s clear that eating a variety of vegetables and fruits is beneficial. The colors of foods correlate with benefits. For example, red foods improve circulation, blue/purple foods support brain function, and white foods help your immune system. Look to create a vibrant, multicolored meal with at least three colors coming from nutrient-packed veggies and fruits. It's important to learn the fundamentals of plant-based eating and create an action plan to include a rainbow of beneficial fruits, vegetables and plants to optimize your nutrition.

When considering nutrient timing and meal planning, it’s important to aim to schedule your meals and snacks around the timing of your workouts and most active parts of the day and during times where you will experience minimal distractions to be attuned to hunger fullness cues. Planning the meals, you want to cook can help you stay on target with your goals. This doesn’t have to be rigid or restrictive either!


Wondering how to meal prep the right way? Confused about how to put all the pieces together to plan for healthy meals throughout the week? Read this article for tips on how to plan and prepare meals for a whole week. Then download the infographic and save it to your phone for some quick reminders to use again and again.


Don't wait until the last minute to figure out what you are going to serve for dinner. This is what leads to less-than-ideal choices, like fast food, and waste, as the food in your kitchen goes bad. The following suggestions will help you more efficiently plan and prepare your food each week.


Follow these tips and you’ll be planning and prepping like a pro!




GATHER RECIPES

Spend some time browsing the internet for appetizing and nutritious recipes that will appeal to everyone in your household. Search by your preferred cooking methods and what cooking equipment you have (e.g. Instant Pot, air fryer, panini maker). Store recipes together in your Google Drive or Pinterest. Alternatively you can print them out and keep them in a folder or binder for easy access. Check out my Pinterest page for some great recipes I've collected over the years!


TAKE INVENTORY OF YOUR KITCHEN

Clean out and organize the refrigerator and your pantry. I bet you'll find some surprises! This is a good habit to practice at least monthly so you know what's in your kitchen and you can use items before they expire.


MAKE A GROCERY LIST

Check your grocery store circular for what’s on sale and write out your list. Use your meal schedule and recipes to determine what items you need to purchase, again keeping in mind what you already have. Organize your list based on where items are located in the supermarket... unless you want to spend hours shopping! Consider including some convenience items, like frozen produce and individually wrapped chicken breast fillets, to help shorten the time spent in the kitchen.


MAINTAIN A WELL-STOCKED KITCHEN

Ensure you always have the items that have long shelf lives and will be used frequently:

- Flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda

- Canned goods (beans, lentils, other vegetables, tomatoes, tuna)

- Whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, oats)

- Cooking spray, oils, and vinegars

- Honey and other sweeteners (maple syrup, stevia, monk fruit)

- Nut butters

- Herbs and spices

- Bread crumbs


WRITE YOUR MEAL PLAN

Grab a copy of my new weekly planner, Beginner to B.O.S.S. Health Goals Planner and detail your meal schedule for the week, keeping in mind the food you already have in the house. Review the recipes you will use to determine what other foods you need to obtain. Consider variety and nutrition when planning each day, your taste buds aren’t the only factor! It may help to assign a theme to each night for inspiration: Slow Cooker Sunday, Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, etc.


MAKE PLANS FOR YOUR LEFTOVERS

It’s unlikely you will be without leftovers for an entire week. Anticipate food scraps and consider how you can repurpose them. You can transform those leftovers and freeze them for future consumption. Pick up some of my favorite meal prep containers to store your leftovers. Label and date them and keep a list of what you have.

Some ideas:

- Transforming leftover spaghetti into a pasta stir-fry or frittata

- Using the remains of roast turkey or chicken for soup, chili, pot pies, or quesadillas

- Making chowder with leftover seafood

- Rolling uneaten pork or beef into tortillas for fajitas or tacos

- Sautéing leftover rice with veggies and egg for a "fried" rice


START YOUR FOOD PREPARATION

Starting from scratch on a daily basis is time-consuming and unnecessary. Wash and chop all your fresh produce as soon as you return from the grocery store. You may wish to even cook some of it prior to storing (roast a bunch of vegetables, for example). Store your prepared produce in air-tight containers in the refrigerator. You can also cook your proteins (poultry, fish, beef) and store them in airtight containers to grab throughout the week. Freeze whatever you won't be using within the next few days. If you're a fan of smoothies, you could prepare individual servings of ingredients (*like the fruit you just washed and chopped) in resealable plastic bags. When you're ready to make a smoothie, dump the bag of ingredients in the blender along with some almond milk, peanut butter, and ice, and you have a delicious meal ready in under a minute!


OTHER MEAL HACKS

I will often stock up on snacks and vegan frozen food to save time prepping in the kitchen! Check out some of my favorite frozen meals from Thrive Market! Thrive Market can make your daily life easier - it makes mine so much easier between juggling and balancing work, fitness, eating healthy, keeping my family entertained and healthy too! Right now, I'm offering an exclusive offer-Choose a FREE gift, up to $24 value, when you join today!

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