If you work in the medical field, you already know how essential it is to learn how to eat healthier foods. In fact, in your professional life, you may regularly see the effects of an unhealthy diet. The trouble is that being in the medical profession can make it more difficult to find enough time to prepare healthy meals.
So can you learn how to save time while eating healthier?
One of the best budget-friendly and time-saving tips for the busy professional is happily simple: meal prep. Meal preparing ahead of time so you have a fridge full of ready meals has several benefits:
- You can prepare meals one day of the week and have a full week of nutritious food.
- You have to grocery shop less because you only have to shop for one big cooking session.
- You can cook with friends or family to spend a little time together.
- You take the guesswork out of meals every week, allowing you to do something else with your time besides wonder what you’re going to eat today.
- You get to eat healthy and nutritious meals you prepare yourself rather than sodium-heavy and unhealthy takeout meals.
- Eating meals in your fridge is healthier and faster than ordering and waiting 45 minutes for food to arrive.
- You waste less food and save money because you only buy what you need for your meal prep each week.
How to Meal Prep
If you’re looking for new meal prep ideas because you’re new to once-a-week meal preparation, here’s how to get started:
1) Pick a day of the week to go grocery shopping and to prepare your meals.
Look for a day where you’re less busy. This may be a Sunday or another day. You may want to do grocery shopping and cooking on two separate days or on the same day. If you select separate days, make sure you do your grocery shopping and meal prep close together, so your fresh groceries don’t have a chance to spoil before you get to meal prep. Where possible, try to keep the meal prep day or days the same week after week, so it can become a routine.
2) Start saving recipes.
Look for healthy recipes that are relatively easy to prepare and store them in a folder. Keep in mind that if you prepare meals once a week, you may need to freeze some of them. Look for meals that freeze well, travel well so you can take them to work and are meals you will genuinely enjoy. Don’t be shy about asking colleagues, friends and family for their best meal ideas, either. Many are willing to share.
3) Prepare your grocery list.
Once you have a list of meal ideas, plan for a full week. This means you will need to look through your recipe folder and find three meals a day for seven days as well as any snacks. Keep in mind you can make a larger batch of one thing and eat it for a few days in your week. For example, you can make a bigger pot of chili or soup and eat it for three separate meals throughout the week.
4) Prepare your meals, package them and get them ready for the week.
Once you have done your grocery shopping and have your recipes, it’s time to prepare your meals. The process can go much more smoothly if you invite friends and family over. Not only is it a great way to socialize, but you can exchange recipes and even swap your meals so you have a little variety.
Once you prepare your meals, package them as tightly as you can to lock in freshness. Anything that freezes well can be frozen for later in the week, and plan to eat anything fresher (such as salads and sandwiches) earlier in the week. You may want to label your containers with days of the week or keep a list on your fridge so you know when to eat what meal.
5) Include some variety so you don’t get bored.
Keep saving recipes and looking for new meal ideas. Adding a little variety or trying new things will help make your dining experiences more interesting. At the same time, don’t be afraid to have a few standbys — recipes you enjoy that are easy to throw together and preserve well. You may even want to make a few of these ahead of time and pop them in the freezer in case there’s one week where you don’t get to all of your meal prep.
Of course, you can save even more time by streamlining your other errands. For example, if you need to order scrubs for your job, check out Pulse Uniform. We offer a range of fashion-forward scrubs for the busy medical professional — with an easy ordering system designed to save you time.