Escape the dilemma of staring hungrily into an empty refrigerator after work on Wednesday night by making sure you have enough of the right foods on hand for the upcoming week. Mixing and matching the right stuff makes for easy, no-cook meal prep during the summer. One key for successful meal prep-planning is taking an honest look at what you’re willing to do. Store-bought spread on a homemade sandwich costs more than DIY, but it’s cheaper than eating lunch out. Here are nine tricks to get you on the right meal prep track:
- Figure out a basic weekly list for Sunday refill.
If you order your groceries from a home delivery service, order on Thursday to make sure you get the delivery time you want. If you do your own shopping, plan ahead for ingredients you need for the week.
- Rely on rotisserie chicken.
Select the chilled deli chicken that hasn’t been sitting under moisture-sucking heat lamps. Here’s a hint to avoid the dreaded dried-out chicken: toss shredded chicken in vinaigrette before putting it into a salad. Coat chicken bites in hummus or dressing before adding it to a sandwich.
- Keep a stock of other no-cook protein options.
Open a can of tuna fish from that stash in your pantry and make a salad you can serve in an avocado boat or scoop up with cucumber slices. Store hard boiled eggs in the refrigerator.
- Eat your veggies. Raw.
Shave raw zucchini or asparagus thin with a vegetable peeler or a mandoline for a crunchy and delicate alternative to leafy greens in a salad. Sweet, crunchy corn and juicy heirloom tomatoes added to shredded chicken and good cheese make a mouth-watering meal.
- Use the best bread for sandwiches.
Sandwiches and open-faced toasts make great no-cook breakfasts and dinners as well as lunches. Get the most nutrition and fiber from 100 percent whole grain breads.
- Add zing with spreads and vinaigrettes.
Spreads like hummus, guacamole and Greek yogurt spread are staples for sandwiches or toasts. A good vinaigrette puts zip in a veggie salad.
- Break the no-cook rule for a batch of grains.
Change up your dependence on sandwich bread for carbs in your diet by adding brown rice, quinoa, or farro raw veggie and chicken salads.
- Notch up snacking with frozen treats and breakfasts.
Blending berries or cherries with Greek yogurt and nut butter or avocado transforms fruit into a more balanced snack.
- Base breakfast on plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
Toss fruit and nuts or nut butter on top of your Greek yogurt or cottage cheese protein. Make a heartier breakfast by adding make-ahead overnight oats.