Meal planning tips to making healthier cooking a breeze

Well, guess who has finally made its long-awaited appearance? That’s right, summer is coming back, and the warm weather is finally on its way! For a lot of us, winter meant comfort foods and indulging, not to mention the fact that heading out of the house for a workout was a lot more effort than usual. 

Of course, it doesn’t need to stay that way. As it begins to warm up and those shorts are not quite as loose fitting as they were a few months ago, there’s no better time than the present to focus on your wellbeing. This need not be a crazy, overnight process. It’s all about being smarter about the food that we eat and slowly transforming our not-so-healthy habits into more nutritious options that will keep us fuller for longer and feeling fantastic. 

If you’re worried that improving your eating habits will take up a whole lot of time, you definitely need these meal-prep tips. 

Keep your pantry stocked with the essentials

Let’s start with something simple – your pantry or food cupboard. There are so many ways to stock up on items that last longer, are budget friendly, and have the potential to transform any meal. Consider staples that you should always have on hand – frozen veggies, chickpeas, canned tomatoes, and whole grains – these are all simple ingredients you could use to create a healthy, delicious meal. With a well-stocked pantry, there’s no excuse to reach for the takeaway menu when you could whip up an easy one-pan chicken bake? All you need to do is pop some chicken pieces, canned tomato mix, low sodium broth, and brown rice into an ovenproof dish, season, and let it cook.

Keep it simple

Hands up if you enjoy spending hours cooking dinner every night. No one? Right! So if you’re like us and would rather have a quick fix, use the shortcuts that are available to you. We’ve already mentioned using pantry staples to quickly whip up a dish, but there’s so much more you can do to save time. Ready-made chicken at your local grocery store can be served as is or cut up and added to any dish. There may even be enough to also make a sandwich or wrap for lunch the following day. Pre-cut veggies are a good way to make sure you get your five-a-day and still have time for all the things you really want to do. 

Double up

When it comes to planning your meals, try to think of ways that you can double up on ingredients to make tomorrow’s meal easier. This way you can save time prepping ingredients and reduce your food waste. Whether that means doubling your recipe and freezing half of it for another day or chopping extra onion tonight for tomorrow’s dinner, think about ways you can be more efficient with your cooking – and time. 

Take notes

When you start experimenting with healthier options, winging it often pays off. However, what happens if you wing it, your family loves it, and then you can’t remember how you made it? We recommend buying a notebook dedicated to recipes and making notes as you cook up a storm. Take note of what works and what doesn’t. Who knows, you could be the next Jamie Oliver! This summer, don’t let your dream of a healthier lifestyle keep you chained to the kitchen. Instead, follow our helpful guidelines to build healthier habits while still living your best life.