When it comes to eating healthy and staying fit, my number one goal is to master the art of meal prep. We can save so much time by prepping all of our meals in advance. But in case you are a beginner who is just starting with meal prepping, and it sounds a little overwhelming and a whole lot of work, try to start small. You can do this by preparing some of the ingredients you’ll be using in your meals during the week.

This means doing the boiling, grilling or chopping in advance, sis. Weekly meal prep also ensures that you will get plenty of healthy, nutritious meals and are less tempted to hit the drive through on the way home.

Photo: Sweet Potato Soul

Here are substantial ways you can start your meal prep for the week: 

1. Whip Up Some Overnight Oats

It’s essential that we don't skip breakfast and frankly, this meal can either set us up for success or failure for the rest of the day. The best way to ensure success is by prepping your breakfast the night before and let it do its thing overnight.  Soak oats and chia seeds in milk or yogurt, then add your favorite fruit and nuts like strawberries, blueberries and chia seeds as toppings, and there you have your breakfast for the week. It's that easy.

2. Prepare Homemade Broth + Stock

If you are a big fan of soups and stews for the colder weather months, then this is a must.  Whether it be veggie, chicken or bone broth, you can easily keep it in the fridge for a week's worth of meals. Pour your choice of soup into an ice tray cube or muffin molds to freeze portion sizes to make your stock's shelf life last a little longer.

3. Make Doughs + Crusts

Who doesn't like pizza? Refrigerate your favorite homemade pizza dough for up to a week so that it is ready to go when you want to create your favorite homemade pie. When working with yeast dough, make sure that you let it rise before refrigerating. Otherwise, this could mess with the process. Then allow it to expand for a second time before baking.

4. Boil Eggs

If you suddenly feel zapped of energy in the middle of the day, try adding a little extra protein (hard boiled eggs)  as a snack, a topping to a salad or meal bowl.  Hardboiled eggs are easy to make; they’re convenient and portable. What more could you ask for? Make sure to store in the fridge for guaranteed freshness.

5. Wash + Chop Veggies

Let's be real, no one likes to wash and chop their veggies before they start cooking, but it is an important step. So get to washing, drying, peeling and chopping up for favorites, my personal go-to's are peppers, carrots, garlic, onions and sweet potatoes. Make sure to refrigerate them with a damp towel on top to keep them fresh. Enjoy throughout the week in your favorite stir-fry, salads or cooked meals.

6. Make Salad Dressing

Everyone has their favorite salad dressing. But, instead of buying it at the store, why not make a fresh batch at home that you could use for the entire week? If they are dairy based, they can be stored up to a week in a refrigerator, and if they are pure herbs and oils, they can be stored in a dark, cool place in the pantry or kitchen.

7. Boil Grains + Legumes

Quinoa and couscous can be used in so many ways, including breakfast recipes to salads and stews. So make sure you add these two items to your grocery list. Other grains and legumes that can be pre-boiled include rice, beans, lentils, and chickpeas. These can typically stay fresh for roughly three to four days in the fridge, and much longer if you put them in the freezer.

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