The 3 Foods We Prep After Every Grocery Trip
So, you want to eat healthier.
The first thing to know is that healthy eating is not about eating one perfectly balanced, super nutritious meal.
Healthy eating is about eating balanced, nutritious meals & snacks throughout the day, every day.
Yes. Throughout the day. EVERY day.
That’s not to say you can’t have some treats once in a while. Everything in moderation is fine.
But if you want to eat healthfully on a regular basis, you have to figure out how to make it practical & convenient to have healthful foods readily available throughout the week.
And that means….
We know “food prep” may sound complicated and time-consuming. But it doesn’t have to be.
In our meal prep system, we value efficiency, and we prioritize tasks that make the biggest impact & take the least amount of time.
In other words, we want the biggest bang for our buck!
To give you a glimpse into how that works, we’re sharing the three items we prep immediately after each weekly grocery trip to Trader Joe’s. (That’s right, we only have to shop once per week!)
Want to see us prep? Check out our video on the Healthy Eating at Trader Joe's Facebook page!
Having ready-to-eat greens in the fridge makes it so quick & easy to make salads. (No need for lettuce spinners!) And because greens are brimming with nutrients, we also love adding them to sandwiches, wraps, omelets, soups, pastas & stir-fries.
The only problem? If you place an unopened bag of greens in the fridge, the leaves begin to wilt, rot, and smell within a few days. You end up throwing out the veggies, depriving yourself of nutrition, and wasting your money.
To prevent that and keep our leaves fresh & tasty all week long, here’s what we do:
- Empty the bag into a colander.
- Pick out any leaves that are damp or discolored.
- Place the remaining leaves into an airtight container, between paper towels, and store in fridge.
Fully Cooked Chicken:
Chicken that’s already been cooked can be added to salads, soups, pastas, and stir-fries. It’s a very convenient way to boost the protein content of your meals. (No need to take the time to cook raw chicken!)
Trader Joe’s has some tasty flavors: Rosemary Balsamic, Lemon Pepper, and Just Grilled (all much lower in sodium that rotisserie chicken). They come in a 12-ounce pack, which is perfect for four servings.
To make sure we actually use up our chicken and don’t let the package sit unopened in the fridge all week, we plan which four meals we’ll use it in. For example, two salads for lunch & two stir-fries for dinner.
And to make it super easy at the end of a long day to whip together our meals, here’s what we do as soon as we return from TJ’s:
- Take the chicken out of the pack and chop it into cubes.
- Divide into four equal portions, place in small, airtight containers, and store in fridge.
Chips & Crackers:
You may be wondering what chips & crackers are doing in a healthy eating plan. Well, our plan is not like so many others where you deprive yourself until you just can’t any longer. Our plan is one you can actually stick to!
And since most people enjoy the crunch & saltiness, we like to include them in our plans in moderation. This way, we stay satisfied, and cravings don’t build up.
When nothing is off limits, it’s so much easier to be relaxed about your food choices so you can trust the process.
Of course, the key is to keep our portions in check. Some of our new members think it will be too challenging to keep chips & crackers in the house, but when they learn our system, they build their confidence and sense of control.
Here’s how we keep our portions in check:
- Determine how many are in one serving, according to the nutrition label.
- Open the bag, count out single servings, and store them in reusable zip-top bags or small airtight containers.
- Put the bags/containers in a cupboard until we need them. And if there’s any remaining in the package, store it elsewhere.
Again, having a plan is important. When each serving is “assigned” to a specific meal or snack, we’re much less likely to mindlessly munch on them.
And there you have it!
Completing these three simple steps sets us up for a smooth week of healthy eating.
Of course, it also helps to have a Meal Plan. Knowing exactly what you’ll eat for your meals & snacks throughout the week, means you’ll buy only the foods you need, you’ll use them up by the end of the week, and you’ll never have to wonder at the end of a long day, “What’s for dinner?”
To learn our complete Healthy Eating System, which includes Meal Plans, Shopping Lists, Prep Steps & Recipes, click here for all the details.