If your New Year's resolution is to make more healthy meals at home, follow this three-part plan.
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2019 is exactly 19 days away (oof), so it's officially go-time for New Year's resolution brainstorming. This year, many of us are setting out to start cooking at home more often. Actually, 43 percent of people said they plan to cook more in 2019 in a survey conducted by online grocer Peapod. The percentage was even greater among millennial participants: 59 percent of millennials said they want to cook more. In many cases, the goal is linked to trying to improve their diet, as 51 percent said their reason for wanting to cook more is to eat healthier. (Related: How Teaching Myself to Cook Changed My Relationship with Food)
Cooking more meals for yourself is easier said than done, especially if you feel the same way about Postmates as Chrissy Teigen does. But you probably know that planning ahead can make sticking to the goal easier when you're prone to getting hangry and live by a fragrant Chinese restaurant. (Speaking from experience.) Here, all the strategies you'll need to cook up a storm in the coming year.
Step One: Meal Plan
Creating a meal plan is really the key to it all. Without planning, there can be no prep because you're still thinking about what the heck you're going to eat when you come home hungry from work. Planning your meals can make eating out less tempting. You can follow a specific meal plan, or if you want to be more flexible, your planning could simply consist of compiling recipes that are easy to cook on busy days. One thing to never ever forget during the meal-planning stage? Making a grocery list. A healthy recipe is no good if you don't have the ingredients to make it. Plus, consider collecting meal ideas that can be prepped in advance. It's more work up front but will make it easier to stick with this new healthy cooking goal. Look to food blogs and Instagram accounts like Meal Prep on Fleek, Fit Men Cook, and Sweet Peas and Saffron for easy meal-planning ideas, or try one of our many make-ahead recipes.
IF YOU BUILD IT, CHANGE WILL COME . That’s all this is: a time investment. I put my energy in upfront so it makes it infinitely easier for me to stay on-plan in the week to come. . And prepping for the week doesn’t have to involve actual cooking at all. Just the act of chopping up your fruits and veg can set you up for making quick-easy meals throughout the week. And that’s why I’m throwing it back to this chop-prepped fridge! . It makes packing my kids’ lunches a breeze because they always have fresh fruit and veggies. It makes assembling my 2-a-day giant salads so much faster when my peppers, carrots, cucumbers, celery etc. is all chopped and ready-to-go. . And if you’re feeling inspired to start prepping, start with an in-fridge salad bar. It’s minimal time and effort and it reaps you HUGE rewards during the week! . REALITY CHECK: I put a lot of time into my fridge. I do not put a lot of time into: wearing makeup, doing my nails, dusting, or cleaning the bathrooms (until company is on their way over). The point here is I put my effort into the things that pay me back in spades. . PREP YOURSELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YOURSELF: I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: My prepped fridge is my armor. It’s my safe place, it’s my haven. It’s the habit that has helped me most in my food addiction and binge eating recovery. If you’re as fired up about this as I am, head to my blog (link in bio) to get my top tips for cleaning and stocking your fridge! Just click on the “Learn How to Stock Your Fridge” button. . xo, Kristen . #nutritarian #eattherainbow #fridge #fridgegoals #MakesMeWhole #wfpbno #52fridges #freshfridgefriday #plantpowered #f52organized #ImSoMartha #mealprepdaily #mealpreponfleek #bestofvegan #abmfoodie #foodprep #kitchenlife #forksoverknives #foods4thought #healthyfoodshare #veganfoodshare #cleaneats #vegancommunity #hownottodie #teamSELF #realsimple #eatyourveggies #wholefoodplantbased #huffposttaste #eatclean @wholefoods @thrivemags @betterhomesandgardens @apartmenttherapy @selfmagazine @bestofvegan @huffposttaste @real_simple @marthastewart
More helpful meal-planning tips:
- 7 Vegetarian Meal-Prep Ideas with Just 10 Ingredients
- How to Pick the Perfect Meal-Prep Recipe
- The Weekly Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan Experts Think Everyone Should Follow
Step Two: Meal Prep
Once your meals are planned, you can start prepping them. If you plan to meal prep for work, you might want to take a look at this smart lunch box that will make it easier. If you don't need a grab-and-go option but want to make cooking more seamless (see also: less stressful), stock your pantry with all the staples. To go the flexible route, batch prep ingredients in advance—cook your grains, chop your veggies, etc.—to mix and match for meals throughout the week.
More helpful meal-prepping tips:
- Your Guide to the Best Meal-Prep Containers to Buy
- This 30-Day Challenge Is the Essential Guide to Meal Prep for Beginners
- This Instagrammer Proves Healthy Meal Prep Doesn't Have to Take Up Your Entire Sunday
Step Three: Cook
With a stocked fridge and pantry, you're set to cook healthy recipes throughout the week to supplement any meals you made in advance. Get creative to avoid the monotony that can come with standard chicken and rice-variety meal prep: Experiment with fresh herbs, citrus flavors, and other transformative ingredients. The more TLC you put into making healthy home-cooked meals, the more likely you'll be to actually want to keep cooking and stick to your healthy eating goals.
Healthier Instant Pot Coq au Vin--> this is for when you want a fancy slow braised chicken, but you want it ready in less than an hour. All made in the instant pot (or low and slow in the slow cooker), using simple ingredients that you might already have on hand. It's warm, flavorful, hearty but healthy, and it's the perfect dinner for any night. Full recipe is up on blog - link in profile. #f52grams #buzzfeast #chickenrecipes #imsomartha #CLkitchen #easyrecipes #instantpot
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