As part of nutrition month, last week I made the pledge to fill more of my plate with vegetables - so, how did i do? Let me be the first to tell you, it was challenging to meet my pledge as I have been battling a terrible cold. Despite being sick, I was able to upkeep my pledge by my secret diet tool – meal preparation (aka meal prep). Meal prep is the process of advanced planning and preparing of meals. It also is a diet trend that has blown up on social media (e.g. over two million posts to #mealpreparation exists on Instagram). Honestly? This is one diet trend that I encourage individuals to try, and hopefully, turn it into a sustainable habit. Why? First off you’re able to control what and how much of each food in each meal is going into your body. It also ensures that you have something to eat when your hunger pains attack, and when your ever-so-encouraging inner voice demands you eat anything to ward off your stomach growls. It's also an easy access to nutreint dense meals during periods when your body may not be functioning optimally (e.g. cold/flu). Eating vegetables when sick may not be desirable, however they need to be consumed. They promote good health through the various phytonutrients (i.e. nature’s natural defense system) they contain. Meal prep made it easier for me to obtain these portioned out foods, as it was readily available in my fridge.
While some of us have been partaking in meal prep automatically for years (the extremity varies), others are hesitant to start. Why is that? The number one barrier outlined by some individuals is that meal prep sounds time consuming – sound familiar? What if I were to challenge you on this? How long do you think you spend ordering food at a fast food restaurant in a day? It can vary, right? What if we took that time and used it towards meal prepping once, twice, or three times weekly instead? Meal prep time, like line-up/ordering time, can vary – it can take you as little as 5-10 minutes, and as long as a few hours. It truly depends on your nutritional goal, availability of time, what meals and snacks you want to prepare, how many days you are preparing for, and cooking skills. The fancier the meals/snacks and the more meals/snacks you prepare, the more time spent meal prepping. Meal prep can be as simple as chopping up and portioning out vegetables, to batch cooking meals for a few days. A great example of meal prep is cooking extra chicken for dinner and tossing it into to-go mason jar salads (see blog entitled "Put a Lid on It" for assembly) for lunch - quality counts. Not sure if you're ready to meal prep? Connect with me - lets talk meal prep ideas that suits your lifestyle.
Visit NutritionMonth2016.ca to learn more about this campaign, recipe ideas, and dietary strategies to make sustainable changes.
PS: One More Bite is finally on twitter (@one_more_bite_) – connect with me.
Chopped Black Bean and Corn Salad