Kitchen Timesavers: 8 Healthful Foods to Prep on the Weekend
Get a head start on food prep to help you eat healthfully. I’m a big fan of doing what I can now to make my life a bit easier all week.
Anyone who has worked with me or read much of my work knows that I give willpower little respect (Willpower is very sneaky and disappears without warning). Instead I fill the gap between good intentions and healthy habits with skills, strategies, planning and a helpful attitude. Preparing a few healthful foods early is one of my favorite strategies.
8 Healthful Foods to Prep Early
- Hard-boiled eggs. Perfect for a snack, a grab-and-go breakfast or a quick salad at lunchtime. Either slice one on top of your mixed veggie salad or smash an egg with a touch of mayo or avocado and enjoy with whole grain bread or crackers.
- Chopped veggies. Wash and chop veggies whenever you have a free half-hour. Keep each in separate containers or baggies. Pull out whichever ones you want for snacks, salads, casseroles, pasta sauce, soups – whatever. I enjoy green beans and zucchini in pasta sauce, cauliflower or broccoli in noodle dishes, butternut squash in stews, and everything in salads. In fact, I’ve been prepping salad veggies early for more than 20 years. This one strategy saved me from a salad-less doom when I had a toddler and a newborn.
- Gazpacho. This all-vegetable, tomato-based cold soup is a summertime favorite in my house. I toss garden-fresh veggies, seasonings and 100% vegetable juice into my Vitamix. Within minutes, I have several cups of low-calorie, nutrient-dense deliciousness that lasts a few days. We’ll eat it for snacks, lunch or dinner. Here’s my recipe for simple 90-calorie gazpacho.
- Roasted vegetables. Cut, toss with oil, season and spread onto a pan. Be sure not to crowd the pan, or you’ll steam instead of roast your veggies. Roast at 400-450°F. Stir or toss half way through cooking. Heat and eat whenever you need an extra vegetable. Or toss these into salads, sandwiches or even into omelets. Need a little more inspiration? Try these combos.
- Cauliflower with red pepper flakes and capers
- Summer squash with thyme and garlic
- Butternut squash and sage
- Green beans and fresh tarragon
- Brussels sprouts drizzled with balsamic vinegar after roasting
- Whole grains. Choose one or several types. I like quinoa, farro, wheat berries, freekeh and brown rice as well as many others. Add 1/4-cup cooked grain to a main dish green salad for a nutrient boost and satisfying chewiness. Try quinoa for breakfast mixed with fruit, cinnamon and a drizzle of milk. Another favorite is freekeh or other whole grain tossed with roasted vegetables and nuts. You’ll be surprised how versatile most grains are. While we’re talking about whole grains, check out this Freekeh, Radish and Radicchio Salad recipe by my friend Robyn Webb and my Red Quinoa Tabouli.
- Iced tea. Bottled teas lack the health-boosting flavonoids that are brimming in freshly brewed tea. So enjoy both the thirst-quenching deliciousness of tea and it’s disease-fighting compounds by preparing your own iced tea. You can keep a pitcher in the refrigerator for a few days without losing the health benefits. When the tea becomes cloudy at the bottom, that’s your sign that the flavonoids have degraded. You can still drink it. It won’t hurt you; it just doesn’t have the same health-boosting power. Here are 5 Health Benefits of Tea.
- Flavored water. I love both iced tea and flavored water in the summer! Don’t you? Try cucumber and mint or any of these delicious flavors.
- Pre-portioned snacks. Divide crackers, nuts, chips, candies and other foods into appropriate portions and put them in individual baggies. Store all of the baggies in the original container. Need something for lunch, snack or dessert? Grab a perfect portioned bag from the box without tempting yourself to eat too much.
What are your go-to healthful foods to prep that help make healthful eating simpler?
I'm Jill, and I believe simple changes in your mindset and health habits can bring life-changing rewards. And I don't believe in willpower. It's waaaay overrated. As a food-loving registered dietitian nutritionist, certified diabetes care and education specialist and certified health and wellness coach, I've helped thousands of people solve their food and nutrition problems. If you're looking for a better way to master this whole healthy eating/healthy living thing or if you're trying to prevent or manage diabetes or heart problems, you'll find plenty of resources right here.
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Welcome to my Blog
Hi there! I'm Jill, a nutrition & diabetes expert and the author of 4 books.
I believe simple changes in health habits can bring you life-changing rewards.
And I believe willpower is way overrated.
Right here is where you can discover the mindset and habits to stick with healthy lifestyle choices most of the time - and drop the guilt when you don't.