Hands up if you have a love/hate relationship with meal prep? You hate that it takes time away from your precious Sunday, but come Monday morning, you have zero regrets as you grab your food straight from the fridge as you’re running out the door—satisfied in knowing that you have healthy food at the ready for the rest of the day (and week).
Not only is meal prep beneficial in saving you both time and money, it’s a way of ensuring you’re staying on top of your health and fitness goals—and if there’s one person who’s mastered the fine art, you better believe it to be Katie Lolas.
Best known on Instagram as @lady.lolas, Katie, who also happens to be a full-time school teacher has acquired a mass following thanks to her creative and easy approach to meal prep.
On her feed, you’ll find pics of containers meticulously lined up in a row with perfectly portioned meals and delicious snacks… and quite frankly, we want what she’s having.
Her top tip? Pick your battles. “I’ve learnt that I don’t need to prep every single meal I eat each week,” Katie tells TrainSrilanka. “I select the areas I struggle the most with and prepare for those times.”
“For example, if you struggle eating breakfast, consider preparing quick grab-and go recipes like overnight oats, egg cups or chocolate protein muffins. If you tend to make poor food choices around lunch, consider a make-ahead salad or preparing some healthy ingredients to add to a wholemeal wrap. If you know you’ll be home to make dinner, prep some of the ingredients you’ll need or make the entire recipe ahead. I save time by keeping my prep simple.”
Keep reading as Katie shares more of her favourite meal prep tips along with her go-to recipes that’ll make your next meal prep a breeze!
“Stock your pantry with staples and don’t be afraid to purchase no-name or homebrand products! I purchase the majority of my staples like quinoa, rice, honey, spices and chickpeas from Aldi or opt for a no-name Woollies or Coles version. The quality, taste and nutritional value is always on par with the more expensive brands, so why not grab the less expensive option?”
“Keeping your pantry stocked at all times is great too because you can create quick and easy meals using ingredients that you already have. Casseroles and soups are easy to make out of ingredients you already have. You’ll also save a heap of money because you won’t have to throw these things away and pantry staples don’t expire nearly as quickly as fresh foods.”
“Additionally, you could try to plan your meal prep recipes around sales. Check out your local supermarket’s website and catalogues to check for specials before you start cooking. Choose recipes that use items on sale – chicken on sale? My fajita chicken soup might be your inexpensive meal prep choice for the week. Discounted Salmon? Try my baked salmon and yellow rice salad with tahini and lemon dressing. Additionally, choose recipes with fruits and vegetables that are in season. They’ll be less expensive.”
“Once a week, instead of walking into a store and grabbing items I “think” I need or crave in the moment, I try to get organised and focus on the ingredients I actually need – I call this ‘focused grocery shopping’ and I do this by arming myself with a list! I organise my list by items I need grouped by what area I’ll find them in my supermarket (frozen, fresh produce, meat etc) Order the grouped items by how you normally walk the store.”
“For example, when I walk into my local supermarket, I typically walk around in this order: Fresh produce, meats, dairy, canned etc and that’s how I organise my list. This ensures I never miss an item and I’m in and out in less than 20 minutes. Organising my shopping list this way means I remember to purchase everything I need and therefore don’t need to make mid-week grocery trips.”
1. Fresh fruit and veg (whatever’s in season)
2. Lean protein
3. Chia seeds
4. Frozen fruit (mangoes and blueberries)
5. Whole-wheat pasta
6. Rolled oats and Quinoa
7. Rice Malt Syrup
8. Canned Beans (chickpeas and black beans)
9. Extra virgin olive oil
10. Canned tuna
“And remember, you don’t have to meal prep alone. Invite over a friend or family member to help you out. You can cook double batch recipes to split, have your kiddies help with peeling, or recruit your boyfriend to wash and store the veggies and fruit. Find ways to save time, share the meal prep load and make the process fun.”