Eating healthy during the week isn’t as hard as you think. You just need to do some work ahead of time. Set aside a few weekend hours to meal prep, and get in front of it!
Cooked Chicken Breast
If you’re trying to eat healthy ready-to-eat lean protein is a must. And chicken is one of the most versatile proteins around! The trick is to stick with universal seasonings — like salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder — so that a big batch of chicken will work with many different meals. Our go-to chicken cooking method? Bake it in a foil pack! It makes the chicken super tender…
How to: Pound boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets to an even thickness. Lay a large piece of heavy-duty foil on a baking sheet, and spray with nonstick spray. Evenly place chicken breasts in a single layer on the foil (leave a few inches at the edges), and sprinkle with seasonings. Cover with another large piece of foil, and fold together all four edges, forming a well-sealed packet. Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees, or until chicken is fully cooked. Cut packet to release hot steam before opening entirely. If you like, shred it while it’s warm! Let cool before refrigerating.
Another staple protein! Hard-boiled eggs are great, whether you choose to eat or discard the yolks. We tend to ditch the yolks to make room for other stuff: Think salsa, hummus, or avocado! Hello, satisfying snack. Hard-boiled egg whites are also excellent for impromptu egg salad enjoyed over lettuce or on whole-grain bread.
How to: Place eggs in a pot, and cover with water, leaving a few inches of the pot’s inner edge above the water line. Bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, cook for 10 minutes. Then drain, and transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water. Let sit for at least 20 minutes, crack the shells, and easily peel ’em off.
Instant oatmeal is fine, but slow-cooked oatmeal is better! Cook it ahead of time to save yourself the a.m. effort. Then reheat in the microwave, or enjoy it chilled. HG tip: Top it off with lots of fresh fruit to make it extra filling.
How-to: Fans of steel-cut oats, use this formula: Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a medium-large pot. Add 1 cup steel-cut oats and 1/8 tsp. salt, and return to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hour, or until thickened. (Makes four 1-cup servings.) You can also cook steel-cut oats overnight in a slow cooker.
Cooked Ground Beef or Turkey
Keep the protein coming! Cooked ground meat is the perfect addition to salads, veggies ‘n sauce, soups, and more. When it comes to beef, we’re all about extra-lean, often labeled as 96% lean and/or 4% fat. And if you prefer poultry, stick with lean turkey, a.k.a. 93% lean and/or 7% fat. (It tastes better than extra-lean ground turkey.)
How-to: Spray a skillet with nonstick spray, add your meat, and sprinkle with basic seasonings. Then just cook and crumble until cooked through. Remember to let it cool before refrigerating…
Ready-to-Cook (Or Eat Raw) Veggies
How many times have you thought, “I just don’t have the energy to deal with cutting up veggies right now”? It happens, and it often gets in the way of making a healthy meal. Do the tedious part ahead of time in one fell swoop, and you won’t have to bust out the cutting board every day.
How-to: For easy morning scrambles, keep a container of diced bell peppers and onions. For cauliflower rice dishes, pulse roughly chopped cauliflower in a blender until reduced to rice-sized pieces. And for anytime snacking, slice up some jicama sticks, red pepper strips, and cucumber spears!