Updated: Jul 4, 2019
Does meal-prep and dieting in your vocabulary go hand-in-hand? Have you tried to change your food habits and food routines, but seem to end up making quick, unhelpful choices? Well, there may be a close link between the two.
Too many of my clients are reluctant to start doing meal prep, because of the countless experiences with dieting and the need to follow a regimented meal plan with no diversions for weeks or even months.
And who can blame them? When following a rigid meal-plan, food becomes a chore and a prison, rather than enjoyment and empowerment.
I invite you to take another go at meal-planning and organising, because the whole power of meal-planning lies not in the rigidity and the need to blindly follow the plan, but it allows you to have choices and be prepared.
That’s right- the meal-plan is supposed to make things easier for you, not harder, more stressful or overwhelming. Putting together a meal-plan (even if it’s just for a few days ahead) allows you to have nutritious, helpful choices on hand when life gets busy and the day ‘runs away’. If anything, I see meal-prep as a type of self care: you looking after your tired, busy and stressed self of the future.
Pantry staples for your home
To make meal-prep easier or even cooking dinner on the spot effortless, I always like to have a good selection of pantry essentials available, so I just need to throw some vegetables and proteins together. But no need to worry too much about the variety, spices and flavours.
I would shop for these pantry staples once per month, ordering these essentials via an online supermarket. I would then top up vegetables, herbs, meats, fish, eggs and cheese supplies from local farmers markets or local shops.
With time you’ll get familiar with what you like the most, what you use the most and you will only need to get a few pantry staples per week. If you’d love to have a shopping list to refer back to, you can download it below.
This collection of spices is your creation. With time it will become exciting, vast and varied, but for now you only need a few essentials to start with. Start with basics, get fancy later.
Chicken or vegetable stock
Oil, sauces and vinegars
I don’t think there’s a single recipe that I could create without using at least one or two ingredients from this list. You don’t need any fancy dressings- just stick to simple flavours and using one or two additional sauce bases.
Extra virgin olive oil
Apple cider vinegar
Soy sauce or Tamari sauce
Dijon or wholegrain mustard
Tinned or in tetra packs
Ideally you would cook chickpeas from their dried form and chop tomatoes from fresh, but when
there’s just no time- shortcuts are much better than no meal prep at all. Many of these ingredients will
be the drivers or excellent flavour and texture so make sure you add them to your list.
Mixed beans in water
Especially helpful in preparation of breakfasts and snacks, nut butters and tahini are top of the list for meal prep.
Nut butters (almond, peanut)
The ‘dried stuff’ cupboard is often packed with tasty and incredibly nutritious slow-release carbohydrate options for extra energy and brain powder. Make sure it’s always well stocked up with your favourites.
Nuts and seeds (selection)
Wild, red and black rice
Your favourite alternative milk (almond, hemp, oat)