Meal Prep: Ingredients for Fast Cooking
Eating for health and enjoyment doesn't need to be as difficult as we make it. Sometimes just thinking about preparing meals day after day exhausts me and makes it much harder to resist fast food and processed food items that call to my taste buds.
One way to beat the odds is to commit yourself to some well-planned meal prep by organizing a variety of ingredients ahead for the week. Get started by making a list of ingredients you'll need for the week. Shop for the items on your list, such as bell peppers, onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, greens, herbs, potatoes, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, nuts, seeds, etc. There's an endless list of ingredients for you to choose from.
Let's get started
When you return home from the store, line up all your ingredients on the counter. Then...
- Systematically wash each item thoroughly.
- Chop each vegetable/fruit in a size you would most often use.
- Place the vegetables/fruit into individual containers with air tight lids and store in the refrigerator. Use your judgement on chopping the items that may turn brown, such as apples and avocados, over time. With those, you might want to just give them a good wash and cut them as you need them.
Other ingredients that will be handy to store ahead
- Wash herbs, wrap them in a damp paper towel, and store in the refrigerator in a plastic bag.
- Pre-cook grains and lentils and store in an air-tight container. Scoop out the amount you need for a meal.
- Pre-boil baby potatoes to use with/or in a dinner and store.
- Pre-bake sweet potato chunks and store.
- Make dressings and sauces and store.
Keep all scraps as you cut your vegetables and store them in the freezer in a plastic bag. Later, you can use them to make a vegetable stock for soup and cooking.
All this makes for quick meal assembly, so you can:
- Whip up a salad in less than 5 minutes;
- Sauté greens with your favorite sauce and toss with your favorite grain in less than 5 minutes;
- Create sweet potato chips/toasts super quick (sliced sweet potatoes make great chips in the oven, or toasts in the toaster/toaster oven to slather with avocado, peanut butter, you name it!
- Pull together an amazing soup faster than you can say, "Where are the bowls??"
- Make an amazing and fast tofu scramble with roasted sweet potatoes and veggies.