Eating unhealthy food can often be a sin of convenience. It’s something that we are tempted to do on a busy day when we can’t be bothered with meal planning and when the drive-through is faster than healthier options. It’s something that we are tempted to do when frozen meals are so much easier than cooking from scratch, especially if you live alone.
This is very unfortunate, however, as cooking from scratch always has the potential to be much healthier than eating out or eating out of a box. This article will talk about how you can plan your meals ahead to get the most nutritious meals in the least amount of time by preparing your meals ahead of time so they’re there when you need them.
Quick, Hot Breakfasts
Breakfast is one of the hardest meals to make ahead of time, especially if you are watching your carbs. This is because carbs store and keep the best. For example, milk and cereal is a classic, quick breakfast. With the right cereal, it can be very filling and very nutritious, but it’s also going to be high in carbs. The same to be said for pancakes.
You can get the dry mix in a box, but it has a lot more ingredients than a pancake really needs. To make your own dry pancake mix to be ready in a hurry, all you really need is one half-tablespoon for every cup of flour. Then just pour out what you need, add milk and a dash of vanilla, and pour into a buttered pan. With jelly or yogurt on top instead of syrup, this can be another filling and nutritious meal, though it still has carbs.
To plan breakfast without the carbs, make a deconstructed omelet and put it together in the morning. Scramble eggs with a splash of milk in a small covered bowl, and leave it in the fridge. Chop or grate all of the cheese, vegetables, and optional additional proteins, and leave them in the fridge. In the morning, dump the eggs into a buttered, heated pan.
When they stop looking wet, add the cheese and other ingredients. Once the cheese has melted, fold the eggs over. Doing all of the steps at once can take up the whole morning, but planning ahead gives you a delicious and nutritious, high-protein, low-carb breakfast in minutes.
Lunch is easier to plan for. It’s not hard to make a sandwich and chop some fruit in a container at night to grab out of the fridge for lunch the next day.
If you aren’t watching your carbs, a well-built sandwich can have all of the nutrients of a salad, but it’s easier to take with you on the go. If you are watching carbs, ditch the bread and bulk up your salad with extra leafy greens, like lettuce, and extra protein like grilled chicken and hardboiled eggs. A well-made salad can be filling, tasty, nutritious, and entirely carb-free, but it won’t travel as well as a sandwich.
Dinners For Days
Dinner can be harder to plan for, but there are more opportunities if you do. Meal planning for dinners often involves making bulk meals as though you were preparing food for a large number of people. You then take out one serving and freeze the reset for future consumption.
This can be done easily enough with meat by preparing different cuts of, say, chicken, fish, or steak, from a larger piece of meat and preserving the rest.
While this can seem expensive at first because larger pieces of meat are more expensive than smaller pieces of meat, if you look at the cost by weight it is very often cheaper in the whole to buy larger pieces and portion them yourself. Once you have a healthy protein, all you need to finish off your meal is a good salad.
Soups are another popular meal planning dish. By making a large serving of soup and portioning it out, you can be sure to have quick and healthy dinners for days to come. Because soup keeps longer in the freezer than other foods, by making new batches of soup before your frozen old batches run out you can give yourself variety. Frozen soups also make good “to-go” lunches that can be heated up in a microwave.
Soups have another meal planning benefit, namely that they can be prepared in a crockpot. By putting all of the ingredients in and turning the crockpot on, you can save valuable time by cooking your soups overnight or while you are at work.
Hopefully, this article has inspired you to try meal planning in order to quickly and easily set yourself up with healthier, home-cooked menu options with all of the convenience of frozen dinners and take-out.
Losing weight this way still involves being careful with what ingredients you use, but it is still the best way to balance a balanced diet with a busy schedule.