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9 Shortcuts That Will Make Meal Prep So Much Easier
In a perfect world, we’d all have plenty of time to make our own nut milks, salad dressings and fish stock from scratch. Reality check: unless I dedicate a whole day to meal prep, this isn’t going to happen. If you need to make shortcuts to save even more time, these are some smart choices.
Microwaveable rice or quinoa sachets are fine if you’re in a hurry.
2. Nut milk
Buy UHT nut milk. Making your own is kind of a bind if you don’t have a total love for it. Avoid brands with added carrageen, oils and sugar.
3. Spice mixes
These are easy to pick up in most stores. Check the ingredients to ensure there’s no added sugar: it’s lurking everywhere.
4. Sauces and dressings
You can absolutely keep it simple, if making a dressing from scratch is in your too-hard basket. You definitely have the energy to pinch your fingers together and squeeze a wedge of lemon or lime – a great alternative to an elaborate dressing, as is a drizzle of olive or avocado oil.
5. Trail mix
Can’t be bothered to make your own? WHY ARE YOU EVEN HERE? Jokes. Just make sure there are no added oils or lots of sugar – they’re often hiding.
6. Spiralised veggies
If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon and smugly bought a cheapo spiraliser on the internet, you’re allowed to buy ready-made spiralised veggies from the shops. Or, if you DID jump on the bandwagon and then realised that said cheapo spiraliser was totally rubbish because it was so badly made, you’re also allowed to buy ready-made spiralised veggies. We’ve all been there.
I would add that pre-chopped veggies such as pumpkin and broccoli are a good option, but if you really don’t have time to push a knife through some veg, you probably don’t have time to be reading this book, either.
In all honesty, making my own stock or even just remembering to reserve the cooking liquid is sometimes beyond my capacity. I keep a carton of liquid stock in my cupboard for emergencies. Stock cubes do the trick too. No judgement. Keep your eye on the sodium content though – many are super salty.
8. Frozen cooked prawns
I have a stash of these in my freezer and I ain’t ashamed to say it. I can defrost a handful in 10 minutes by sticking them in a colander and running room-temp water over them. When I’m feeling super lazy, they’re a tasty lean protein option that requires zero cooking.
9. Vegetable rice
Replacing carb-laden rice with finely chopped veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower adds an extra serve of veg and reduces carbs in one go. Don’t have a blender? Just hate washing the veg? That’s totally fair. Save yourself 10 minutes and just buy the ready-made stuff.
Microwave myth buster… Think microwaves nuke your food? Microwave technology channels radio waves to excite the molecules in the food, causing them to vibrate and build thermal energy (heat). It’s true that some nutrients such as vitamin C are affected by heat, however cooking food faster in a microwave can mean less heat exposure than other cooking methods such as boiling. It makes sense, then, that vitamin C and other water soluble nutrients are actually better preserved when using a microwave to cook food. Who knew?
Images and text from The Fit Foodie Meal Prep Plan by Sally O’Neil. Photography and styling by Sally O’Neil. Murdoch Books RRP $35.00.
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