So you already know how to meal prep. You’ve got your macros down and your gym routine is on point. Chicken breast, steamed veggies and sweet potatoes are the norm, and you rarely deviate from your stellar schedule. But, it’s starting to get a little on the boring side. You’re tired of lettuce and the thought of eating another baked chicken breast makes you a bit angry.
If your only consumable happiness is your cheat meal, then we need to talk. Sometimes we get wrapped up in our system and forget that there are other ways to do the same things. In this case, I’m talking about meal prepping. So put away that steamer and whatever kitchen gadget you use weekly and let’s turn it up with these tips.
Change the Way You Cook
Take chances with your food. For a while, my meal prep consisted of steamed vegetables, boiled chicken breast and rice, and a variety of salads. To change it up, I experiment with different styles of cooking, from pan frying to baking and even sous vide.
Let’s talk sous vide: If you are looking to pack in the most flavor and cook your food to its desired doneness, you need try sous vide. Sous vide is a fancy word for placing the food of your choice in a plastic bag or glass jar with its marinade, removing the excess air, and cooking it in a hot water bath until done. You can find a sous vide set in most major retailers from Amazon to Target, and no need to thank me. I already know I changed your life.
You can also try broiling your vegetables instead of steaming them. There’s a misconception that cooking vegetables in the oven will dry them out, but using the broiler will actually seal in the juices and give your veggies a nice charred texture and whole new flavor.
Plus, trying new things in the kitchen makes you a better cook, and we all want to be a badass in the kitchen, right?
Expand Your Veg Horizons
Stop limiting yourself to broccoli, spinach and lettuce. When I first ventured into meal prepping I was easily discouraged since I limited myself to the usual suspects.
But taking a little extra time to browse the produce section and local farmer’s market, I found new and exciting vegetables that reignited my passion for meal prepping. Yep, I just called vegetables exciting.
One of my greatest finds was the magnificent watermelon radish. They’ve added so much color and flavor to a plethora of salads, and my life.
Swiss chard! It’s nature’s tortilla! Sturdy enough to bear the weight of a hearty wrap, yet delicate enough to bite through, Swiss chard does wonders for when you need to trick yourself into eating a salad by serving it in tube form.
Romanesco, kohlrabi, jicama —the world of vegetables is vast and beautiful, so there’s no excuse for your meal prep to be boring. Try doing a month-long challenge where you cook with a new-to-you veggie every week.
Try New Proteins
The same can be said for proteins. Chicken breast is great and all but have you tired dark meat? Yes, dark meat does contain more fats, but it’s also rich in vitamins A, K, B6, B12, niacin and folic acid. If you’re big into poultry, turkey isn’t the most exotic choice, but is a super easy way to mix it up.
When it comes to red meat, leave the beef behind and try bison, which packs the same protein as beef with less calories and cholesterol. Ostrich, believe it or not, is another lean red meat alternative, often packaged in burger patties. Ostrich burgers, anyone?
As the saying goes, there are many fish in the sea, so why not experiment more with sea food? Not only does fish cook fast, it’s highly nutritious and is loaded with the ever so coveted omega-3s.
And don’t forget vegetarian and vegan-friendly proteins like eggs, beans and tofu. Protein is everywhere, it’s literally the basis of life.
Spice it Up
So you’ve gone on a mission to find vegetables and proteins but are still lost on how to season them. It’s time to graduate from the school of salt and pepper, and usher yourself into the bold world of paprika and cumin.
In no way am I a culinary professional, so when my food needs a quick kick I wander down the International foods aisle in my supermarket and look for pre-made spice packets like taco seasoning. I’m a sucker for a good $.99 taco seasoning; it’s simple and removes the stress of buying multiple spices that I may only use once.
Use Mealplan App
Prepping the same thing every Sunday can get boring, but figuring out how to keep your food exciting can be exhausting too. That’s where Mealplan comes in. You provide your goals and eating preferences, and Mealplan hands you your calorie and macro counts, along with weekly recipes and grocery lists. Boom. Done.
Mealplan has hundreds of recipes that’ll keep your food interesting while allowing you to stay on top of your game. Available on iOS, it’s a no-brainer for meal prep fanatics and beginners alike.
Bonus: Shop the Perimeter
Supermarkets, much like casinos, are designed to keep you in there. But follow this easy rule of thumb and you will get out alive and with more money:
All produce and meats can be found on the border of the store. Thus, when shopping for your meal prep, you will never need to venture down an aisle, unless you are searching for spices.