Use Meal Prepping to Save Time and Energy

Having a disability or chronic illness can make eating healthy an insurmountable challenge. Weekly meal prep let’s you spend the rest of your week focusing on your health instead of on what’s for dinner.

Step One: Figure Out Your Container Situation

I’d recommend pinking up something like these bento boxes from Amazon. You don’t need these to get started, but meal prepping means that you’re going to be using a lot of storage containers. It might be good to have some dedicated solely to meal prepping.

Step Two: Decide What You Want to Eat for the Week

When deciding what meals you’re going to eat for the week, don’t overthink it. Don’t think¬†On Monday I’m going to have chicken with rice and cilantro with a side of beans. Instead, think I want to have a protein, a carb, and a vegetable every day this week.

Step Three: Buy What You Need

If we base our meal plan off of the protein‐carb‐veggie example, what you need to buy is fairly straight forward.

Here’s an example meal/ingredient list:

  • Boneless/skinless chicken breast
  • Brown Rice
  • Broccoli¬†
  • Ground turkey
  • Sweet potato
  • Yellow squash
  • Fish
  • Quinoa
  • Green beans

The goal is to buy enough food to make a five days worth of meals and to buy foods that are easy to assemble and cook en masse.

Step Four: Assemble Your Meals

Pick a day that you know is going to be the least stressful for you to prep your meals. This is going to take a fair amount of effort up front, but it will save you a lot of energy throughout the week. Here are some basic meal assembly tips:

  • You can cook different kinds of proteins together at once if you line them all up on a baking sheet and use the oven. I’ve found that chicken, salmon and turkey can all cook together in about 15 minutes at 350F/176C
  • You can steam almost any vegetable with a bowl, a little water, and a microwave.
  • If you don’t want to deal with keeping and storing fresh produce, you can always use canned.

Once you’ve got everything cooked, lay out as many containers as you need for the week. Then, start filling each container with whatever combinations of food you want. Try to fill each container with the same ratio of proteins, carbs, and vegetables (a food scale can help with this).

Once you’ve assembled everything, stack your containers in the fridge.