Being busy and on a budget is quite the challenge. We try to avoid convenience foods and work to keep our diets really healthy. I’ve found that the trick to maintaining an active, healthy, delicious life is all in the preparation. I already posted about how I plan out my week to make sure I fit it all in, but a smooth week also means a prep day to kick it off.
We shop at Costco and a local produce shop. Most of our food is bought in bulk (and organic as possible) and we refresh our produce throughout the week. We’ve accumulated enough Mason jars and tupperware containers that make sense for us. We know we need multiple sizes for prepping, big ones for meals on the go and small ones to hold smaller snacks. We avoid using one-use plastic bags.
While a load of towels and sheets are in the washing machine, I prep our food for the week.
- Hard boil eggs. Already-peeled eggs are great on salads or just as a quick snack.
- Roast sweet potatoes. They’re great as a dinner side but even better on top of salads.
- Prepare iced coffee. I love my protein shakes with a dash of caffeine.
- Chop bulk Romaine lettuce. Buying it whole and unwashed is cheapest. I use an old spinach container to store the chopped, washed lettuce. A damp paper towel in with the lettuce helps keep it fresh.
- Chop veggies. Chopping cucumbers, red peppers, tomatoes and other veggies makes it a million times more likely that I’ll add them to my salads and snacks.
- Make individual packets of snacks. We’re out of the house for most of our meal times so substantial packs like nuts, homemade trail mix and dried fruit help hold us over.
- Make homemade salad dressing. Homemade salad dressing used to scare me but it’s easier than you’d think. Plus, it’s less expensive, more nutritious and preservative-free. I use this to store, mix and serve my dressing.
My favorite homemade salad dressing lately has been creamy balsamic. I don’t measure exactly but it’s 2/3 balsamic vinegar, 1/3 olive oil and cashews, garlic, sea salt, ground pepper, few drops of water and a dash of honey all blended together until smooth.
Do you prep for the week? Do you plan out your meals? Any tips to add?