How to meal prep using sustainable food (spoiler alert: it's super easy)
We’re huge fans of meal prepping. It keeps you healthy, helps you stay organized for the week, and lets you try all sorts of tasty recipes. And it’s even better when you meal prep using sustainable food. Not only do you get all the benefits that normally come with meal-prepping, but you also get the added bonus of helping the environment thrive. Now we call that a win-win!
But how exactly do you merge these two ideas into one tasty and ecologically sound dining plan? Because it sounds like a challenge. We’ve got you covered. Meal prepping with sustainable food is really not that different from good ol’ fashioned meal prepping.
Here are six useful tips you need to meal prep using sustainable food.
Learn about sustainable food
You can’t make your meal prep with sustainable food if you don’t know exactly what it is. Sustainable food is locally grown using a minimal amount of pesticides, if any at all. It’s an environmentally sound way to eat, and using sustainable food in your meal prep is both good for your health and the world around you. There are tons of resources out there regarding sustainable food, so be sure to do some research before planning your next recipe.
You can even start by perusing through the information provided by organizations such as Sustainable Table. They lay out all the major issues in the sustainable food and agriculture world, so you can learn everything you want to know.
Shop for local sustainable produce
Going for locally grown food is the best and easiest way to find sustainable food that you can meal prep with. The first step is to find out when the local farmers market is on in your neighborhood. Chat with the farmers in the area and see what they have to offer. You can walk away with a variety of fresh, colorful, in-season fruits and vegetables that will punch up your normal, previously boring meals.
If you’re a meat eater, investigate if your town offers a local butcher where you can get fresh cuts of meat, or see if there’s a farm that sells eggs from their very own chickens. Not only will your meals be healthier, you’ll discover a whole new bunch of food resources right outside your door!
Plan all your meals ahead of time based on seasonal produce
Don’t just buy a bunch of things that sounds good without any idea of how to use them. If you do, you run the risk of wasting food and money in the process. Go to the market or farm, find out what’s in season, and then drum up a meal plan in your mind.
Are you hankering to use those fresh tomatoes you got at the farmers market? Do you want to figure out a way to use those fresh local eggs? Plan your meals ahead of time by keeping your current fridge content in mind. You’re trying to prep using sustainable food, which means you should always be aware of what’s local and what’s in season. That will guide you as you sit down to plan out your meals for the week.
Be creative with your meal choices
Meal prepping can get dull if you opt for the same meals week after week. Keep your hunger alive and your tastebuds happy by tailoring your meals to whatever is in season. Don’t stick to the same old options every time you start prepping; where’s the fun in that, anyway?
Maybe you’ll whip of a salad with fresh kale and strawberries this week, or chicken and summer squash the next. Check out healthy food blogs for inspiration on meals that are quick, efficient, and downright delicious. For example, try these Easy Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Tex Mex Style from Jessica In the Kitchen. You can make several over the weekend and, just like that, you have lunch for the next few days.
Give yourself time
If you’re trying out new recipes or ingredients, be sure to give yourself the time to really experiment. You don’t want to have to rush through your meal prep and end up with a week’s worth of sub-par meals.
Make sure you understand the menu thoroughly before diving in, and double check to ensure you have every ingredient you’ll need (there’s nothing worse than being halfway through a recipe only to realize you’ve forgotten a crucial item). If some of the sustainable recipes seem daunting, start simple. Soon you’ll be tackling challenging recipes like a champ.
Make sure you’re getting all your nutrients
When meal prepping, make sure you’re covering all the food groups and providing yourself with a healthy and tasty meal plan. Sure you’re excited about those fresh asparagus, but you don’t want them to be the main component in all your lunches this week. Be sure you’re giving yourself plenty of protein, healthy fats, fresh veggies, and complex carbs.
If you achieve this with your meal prepping, not only will your food be extra healthy, but you won’t run the risk of getting tired of any particular ingredient. Before you know it, your meals will be healthier, tastier, and sensationally sustainable! Now, who’s hungry?