Food prep is one of my favourite times of the week… People that say they hate meal prepping might be missing the point. Not only is it super therapeutic, and helps to give you some much needed YOU time, it is a great chance to listen to your favourite music, check out a podcast or audiobook or even just enjoy some silence and quiet time.
Whilst your ears are occupied, so are your hands! Chopping up your veggies ready to roast with cinnamon (or other herbs/spices of your choice), salt and oil (olive or coconut is best) can be super for getting you into a state of FLOW*. If you are someone who suffers from anxiety and/or depression, doing something with your hands like this where you are super mindful and conscious (try being away with the fairies/distracted when chopping with a sharp knife! I’d say there’s a fair bit of focus that goes into this activity for sure!) can be amazing for helping you to learn the tools to help manage your busy brain and start finding ways to help quieten it down.
Here are a few tips to helping food prep fit into your busy life more easily, and not feel so much of a burden! As I said, I look forward to it because not only do I enjoy the “flow” state achieved from doing it, I also love the fact that my food is then ready when I want to eat – it’s there in the fridge and all I need to do is take it from the containers and pop it onto a plate ready to eat! The last thing you feel like doing at 8.30pm when you get home from a busy day, after starting work at 4.45am, is cook a massive amount of food – so if it’s already done on your day off, all you need to do is plate it up, eat it and start your evening/bedtime routine, WINNING!
- Schedule meal prep into your calendar like an appointment, a non-negotiable appointment! Don’t cancel on yourself because something “more important” pops up – make it a priority, 2 hours at most somewhere in your weekend or if you work weekends, one evening/on your day off.
- Have the necessary utensils in your kitchen: a large baking dish for cooking up bulk veggies, a large wok or frypan and/or saucepan, a slow/pressure cooker, a blender/nutribullet/smoothie maker, a nice sharp knife, tongs, kitchen scales, filtered water, microwave (optional), herb & spice rack full of all different flavours, grater, peeler, many BPA free containers for storing your food, a second fridge/freezer if needed, and whatever else you might use regularly. Not having the appropriate facilities will really get in the way when looking for an easy meal prep session.
- Make life easy for yourself by only using foods you like and making enough for at least two to three days (more if you have space). Here’s a few of our usual options…
- Roasted vegetables: carrot, eggplant, capsicum, broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini chopped into bite sized pieces. Place in enormous baking dish in layers with baking paper below for ease of washing if preferred, cover with Himalayan Pink salt, cinnamon and olive or coconut oil. Cook on 180-200 degrees Celsius for 30-40 minutes (note bottom veggies will go soft and top veggies a little crispy, delish)! Store in containers in the fridge once cooled and eat as needed (with or without re-heating).
- Mince (we use grass-fed chicken or turkey mince) – cook 1 kg mince with a jar of tomato paste (check ingredients for nothing other than tomato and salt, definitely no sugar!), add cumin, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic if desired.
*FLOW: Also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterised by complete absorption in what one does. (Check out the audiobook by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi for more info).