Meal prep once—eat healthy all week!
The benefits of meal prep are many, although it’s not always easy to set aside a few hours to cook and prep for the week ahead. There’s a happy middle ground, though: prep a few key ingredients ahead of time and you’ll be well on your way to delicious, filling dinners during the week.
The ingredients below are building blocks for lots of different dinners, and the great news is, they’re all Free Food on Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, called Food Optimizing. Free Food means you can eat as much as you like to satisfy your appetite, without any weighing, counting or measuring—making dinner assembly even easier.
Go with the grain
Cooked grains, such as rice, barley, or quinoa, can last up to four days in the fridge and three months in the freezer, making them the perfect meal-prep item. Cook a big batch of your favorite, then divide into meal-size portions and label with what’s inside and the date you made them. When you’re ready to eat, reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until hot throughout (if reheating from frozen, add 2 tablespoons of water per cup of cooked grain). Then serve as a side or add to grain bowls or soups—why not swap the pasta for barley in this minestrone?
Roast hearty veggies like butternut squash or broccoli in large batches in the oven, then separate them into containers for use throughout the week. Cook more tender produce (zucchini, corn, peas, okra, green beans) in boiling water for 1 minute, drain, then cool in ice water before storing in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to six months.
Beef it up
Why fuss with cooking up ground meat the day you need it, when you can brown it in advance—and quickly reheat for taco salad, chili, and pasta dishes? Go one step further and freeze pre-made, cooked meatballs, which you can spoon straight into your sauce to reheat. Or, roast a whole chicken, remove the skin and visible fat, and separate the meat into containers for use throughout the week in everything from hearty lunch salads to soups. Cooked meats will stay fresh for three days in the fridge, and in the freezer for up to three months. And stick to this rule for food safety: Once you’ve thawed frozen, uncooked meat, don’t refreeze it unless it’s been cooked.