My Top 6 Food Essentials For a Successful Eating Week
The concept of food prep for a lot of people can be very daunting. Often we see photo’s of eager “food preppers” with their 12 containers all lined out on the bench with the caption #mealprep.
On one hand we’re thinking MAN thats impressive, and on the other hand we’re thinking – hmm I think i’d be sick of that meal come Friday, that looks like it took 3 hours to do, and how the hell do they fit all that in the fridge!?
Doing this type of prep is certainly one way to make sure you don’t break your diet, providing you don’t cave later on in the week.. But for a lot of people, it is hard to maintain long term due to reasons such as lack of space in the fridge (flatmates not appreciating no fridge room), cooking for a family who wants different dinners every night, or being short on time in the weekend.
Food prep is important, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. The alternative to the 12 containers method, and one that I often recommend to my clients, is the following:
A) Use dinner left overs – Cooking in Bulk 2-3 times a week
B) Keeping some staples the pantry, fridge and freezer.
Depending on your goals, your staples might be slightly different. But to give you an insight into what a “whole food eating” week might entail, here are some of my own personal food staples I like to always have to ensure a successful eating week:
My top 6 essentials
1. GRAIN FREE GRANOLA
This would have to be my FAVOURITE fat addition. I throw it into breakfast every morning, whether it be a yoghurt and fruit bowl, or a smoothie bowl. It also comes in handy in salads, or as a quick snack.
Without a fat serving in breakfast, I get hungry and end up craving something around mid morning. So I always make sure there’s a constant stash in the pantry.
If making granola is not your thing, just plain nuts and seeds are fine – you can use them in the same way as granola. (Recipe for granola in the breakfast section).
2. GREENS: To go with at least 2 meals day, I always aim to have:
At least 1 head of broccoli and 1 bag of frozen green beans ( These are perfect for emergencies – can be microwaved in 2-3mins and go with SO many dishes to tick the “greens” box)
At least 1-2 bags of spinach, kale or mescaline (to use raw or cooked) Use as the base for your meal.
3. ROASTED VEGETABLES
At least 2 Nights a week, aim to do a really simple meat, roasties, and salad dinner. The key is to take the time to make EXTRA VEGES so that you can throw it into your lunches. The type of vegetables can be picked to suit your carbohydrate needs. I love using a mix of lower carb vegetables like courgette, onion, capsicum, mushrooms, carrots and starchy higher carb vegetables like kumara, pumpkin, beetroot
4. EASY PROTEIN ADDITIONS – LEFT OVERS
1-2 Times a week, cook extra protein at dinner
Non-vegetarians: good bulk protein options
Whole roasted chicken
Lamb leg roast,
Mince mixture (Mexican!!)
Eggs – Hard boiled or made into a frittata one night (These can then be stored in the fridge or freezer and used to make your lunches for the week
For vegetarians – always have on hand:
Tins of chickpeas or lentils,
Cooked batch of quinoa (high protein grain)
Halloumi (high protein cheese)
5. COOKED RICE:
Cauliflower rice (for low carb option), OR Brown/black rice (mod to high carb)
Awesome to bulk up meals and make them less like a “salad”.
6. DIPS FOR FLAVOUR
I always keep some dips in the fridge to jazz up any lunch meal. my favourites are:
Lisas aubergine cashew dip (great for those intolerant to chickpeas – tastes amazing)
Genose pesto – (uses olive oil instead of canola – tick!)
Lisas Beetroot hummus
Now to put them all together – just choose your combination.
Some of my “go to’s”
Roast lamb with roasted kumara and red onion, cauliflower rice and sautéed kale in butter
Left over roasted vegetable frittata served with a side of mesclun salad and pesto & olive oil dressing.
Spinach and roasted vegetables salad with cauliflower rice, grilled halloumi and a dollop of Cashew aubergine dip.
The combinations are endless.
I have not given any portion sizes or serving suggestions here as that is specific to each and everyone of you.
But hopefully you have got the basics of it.
If you need personal guidance on how to structure your main meals for a specific health goal, you can contact me me via the contact page.
Otherwise, all the best for the week ahead! Let’s make it a good one 🙂