When you want to improve the way you are eating, home-cooked meals are the best approach. How do you fit cooking into your busy schedule? Meal prep hacks!

Meal Prep Hacks For Your Busy Schedule

When you want to improve the way you are eating, home-cooked meals are the best context for success. Yet you may think that your busy schedule leaves you with no hope for making your own meals, even if such an approach would save you money. The answer? Meal prep hacks.

I completely understand. I hope to show you some hacks that could work for your unique schedule and lifestyle. Today, I’m sharing a few meal prep hacks so that you don’t have to stress about not having enough time.

Build your meals around your main dish

Try switching it up so that you don’t feel like you’re eating the same thing every day and build the rest of the meal to complement your main dish. For example, you can make chicken with steamed veggies and brown rice for one meal-prep batch and teriyaki salmon bowls for another. This will streamline the process behind meal-prepping while using most of the same ingredients.

Try ingredient-prepping

Sometimes, packaging ready-to-go meals a week in advance can leave your food looking soggy and a bit unappetizing. Plus, you might change your mind as to which ingredients you want to eat in a meal. Instead of creating an entire meal, you may prefer to prepare the individual components. Chop different vegetables, cook a batch of brown rice or quinoa, and separate your fruit into portions. Then, you can assemble your meals and season them according to your mood. The washing, cutting, and cooking take the longest when you meal-prep. If you do that one session on the weekend, the rest of the week should be smooth sailing.

Always make enough for leftovers

Nobody wants to spend more time in the kitchen than necessary, but we all have to eat. If you’re already cooking, double the portion sizes so that your efforts result in two meals. If your dinner doesn’t seem like a convenient meal for packaging to save, then double-up the individual ingredients. For example, if you’re making rice, make double, eat half for your dinner and store the other half of it away for your meal prep. If you’re already chopping up some sweet potato to roast in the oven, add a few extra. This will save you a lot of time.

Switch up your sauces and dressings

This is the best way to avoid your meal-prep becoming boring and bland. If you’ve followed tip #2, you should have your ingredients all ready and prepared to go. The ingredients should be unseasoned unless you have to marinate in advance. When preparing a meal, you can quickly add whatever dressing or seasoning you want. You should also prepare your sauces and dressings in advance so that you don’t have to throw on some store-bought condiments that usually contain a lot of artificial preservatives and sugar. Homemade hummus has a long shelf-life and is so versatile. You can also make a variety of different salad dressings or even pasta sauces, which should last you the whole week.

The best way to improve the quality of your food for the sake of your health is to prepare more of your meals yourself. I’m not saying you have to prepare all of your meals yourself, yet each meal made at home from natural ingredients is a step toward better health. Start small with a few meals and explore ingredient combinations that work for you, then add a few more. If you need some ideas, here are a few that you can try. Your body will thank you.

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

Arm Yourself Against Illness

‘Tis the season – the flu season is being heralded all around us. Are you prepared? And how can you arm yourself against illness, be it flu or cold or other form?

Though there’s no guaranteed way to avoid getting sick, supporting your immune system is what I consider the best way (even ahead of vaccines). Here are 7 ways to arm your immune system:

Decrease Stress

Prioritize taking time daily to enjoy relaxing activities such as meditation or listening to music, which reduce physical perception of stress. When experiencing stress, your body releases hormones that can tax your immune system and raise your susceptibility.

Get Out In The Sun

The sun does more for you than raise your Vitamin D levels – it improves your circadian rhythm and lifts your spirits. So get outside, even in the cold. If getting sufficient levels of UVA rays from the sun is difficult in the winter where you live, explore getting a Vitamin D lamp or lightbox. These simulate noontime sunshine and can provide an alternate source of “sunshine.”

Exercise (Or Move) Regularly

Getting 30 minutes of physical activity daily will increase your blood circulation and can help strengthen your immune system. Movement helps antibodies and white blood cells move around the body faster so they may detect invaders sooner. Walking outside combines sun and exercise – win!

Eat Purposefully

No single food will fend off a cold or flu but certain nutrients can help protect your body from bacteria, viruses and other germs. Consider these foods:

  • Garlic and ginger – antiviral and antibiotic
  • Wild-caught salmon & cold-water fish – Omega3
  • Pumpkin seeds, grass-fed meat – Zinc
  • Brazil nuts, broccoli, sardines – Selenium
  • Bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, kale, citrus (fruit not juice) – Vitamin C
  • Reduce sugar which depresses the immune system for hours after consumption

Boost Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D is crucial for healthy immune function and maintaining a positive mood in the winter. Therefore, have your blood vitamin D level tested and supplement it if your level is below 30 nanograms per milliliter.

Drink More Water

Hydration is key to whole-body health. Every system in your body needs adequate water to function properly. It’s not just liquids your body needs – water or herbal teas provide hydration.

Prioritize Restful Sleep

Clinical study has demonstrated that several days of partial sleep deprivation has significant detrimental effects on immune function. Adults should try to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, while those with a compromised immune system should get even more.

You can’t expect your immune system to function well if you don’t support it with the right building blocks. A vaccination won’t cover you if you are skimping in the other areas. Rather, it will initially depress your immune system.

So take a cue from the airline safety briefing and put your oxygen mask on first.

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness