Last week I had homemade mac and cheese, pizza, and burritos. Although delicious in the moment, they weren’t that great for my health. A major risk in meal preparation is prepping meals that lack the important nutrients your body needs. Here are three things you can do to include nutrition in your meal preparation:
- Cutting your own fruits and vegetables. Canned vegetables and fruits can have a higher content of sodium and sugar compared to frozen or fresh cut fruits and vegetables. Cutting your own fruits and vegetables allows you to cut produce according to your preferences, and this can cost less than buying pre-cut produce
- Incorporating fruits or vegetables in your recipes. Adding broccoli into your mac and cheese, or apples in your overnight oatmeal might be nutritious alternatives to original recipes. For those that have a hard time mixing produce with their meals, packing fruits or vegetables separately is a great idea.
- Be conscious in what you’re missing. For example, if you are vegetarian, you might be missing some protein in your diet and needing some healthy alternatives. This dietary guideline from health.gov for Americans may help you discover what your body needs nutritionally to be healthy: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/DGA_Healthy-Eating-Pattern.pdf
Still not sure how much you should budget for your meal prep? Here’s a meal planning calculator created by Iowa State that could help you reduce your grocery bill.