A Beginner's Guide to Meal Prepping for Busy Nurses
Cooking before every meal can seem daunting, and sometimes, quick snacks just aren’t enough. An easier, more time efficient, and filling alternative is meal planning! Though meal plans were popularized to better fit the lifestyles of those seeking to get fit and workout, they can also be helpful when you simply do not have enough time during the majority of the week to cook. When meal planning, it is best to make food one evening so that you can have meals for the next couple of days after; this means that on one of your break days, you can spend an hour maximum on preparing your food and spend no time in the days following; all the time there will be spent doing what you need to do and enjoying what food you made. Because this method is quicker, many people often think that it compromises taste, but below are four ingredients and inspirations for recipes that are not only healthy and quicker than your average meal, but will also make your meals enjoyable rather than a mere drag!
Breakfast smoothies are a great way to get started with meal prep for people who definitely do not have much time and are constantly on the go. They are tasty, contain healthy fruits, and quick to do. You can essentially use any fruit you’d like and adding in extra ingredients like nuts or almond butter can boost flavor. Additionally, you can drink these with a healthy granola bar (make sure this doesn’t have too much sugar so you don’t crash later) or eat a banana or other fruits alongside them. For some smoothie recipes, you can check out this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJN1n3fId_A.
This option is very versatile and healthy. Basically, you can make any kind of salad you want days before and keep them in containers so that they stay fresh. Ingredients like kale, beets, quinoa, chickpeas, and celery keep extremely well in the fridge, and if you want to eat these salads with dressing, be sure to prepare that and store it in a different container, only pouring it over your salad right before you consume it. For inspiration regarding salads that you can prep, this video contains some healthy options that you can try out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e63xQTqVgDQ&t=47s.
Salmon is an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals, and they have a great storage of omega-3 fatty acids. It also keeps incredibly well, is easy to prepare, and can taste great! One recipe for salmon includes roasting it and preparing it with potatoes and other vegetables. You can see the recipe here, https://liezljayne.com/weight-loss-meal-prep-for-women-1-week-in-1-hour/ or watch the video here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5GP-o6K3IQ. (Though it says weight-loss, that doesn’t come about because the meals are meant to starve you or be less calories; rather, the meals are healthy, and weight-loss comes naturally because your body becomes more well-balanced if you are eating better.)
Another ingredient that is tasty, keeps well, and is very healthy is chicken. Chicken is a great source of protein, and it is lean, filling, and packed with beneficial amino acids; in fact, it provides all of the nine essential amino acids that people need to feel good and function well. The healthiest part of the chicken is the breast, and the best ways to prepare it are either by baking it or grilling it. The following video is great as it tells you how to bake chicken breast in a way that does not make it dry or flavorless: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K84FC33mNxQ.
Meal prep, though, still requires a bit of time and effort, but it does simplify things because you can make everything that you need to make all in one session right before a hard week begins. Additionally, the nutritional value that comes from these kinds of meals is much better than small snacks for quick bursts of energy, and it’s possible to eat some of them during breaks while nurses are working during their shifts as well. So though it may not always be viable if you’re tired or not in the mood for cooking, it’s definitely an option that you should try out some time to kickstart a healthier lifestyle and try something new. Surely, you will feel much more energetic and wholesome after!