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With the start of the New Year inevitably bringing with it resolutions to eat better (to try and undo some of the damage done over the festive period), planning and prepping your meals ahead of time can help you stay on track with your healthy goals.
It might seem like a chore, but it is something that could save you money just by investing a bit of time. So here are a few ideas for meals you can plan and make in advance, to keep you (and your bank balance) in good shape.
If you’re a breakfast-on-the-go kind of person then making and freezing smoothies in advance could work for you. You can make them to your own taste and add in what you like – here are some recipes you could start with. You can buy frozen fruits or veggies to save money - or if you really want to bag a bargain you can look for the reduced labelled stuff and put it straight in the freezer while it’s still fresh. Then, put the ingredients in individual freezer bags and they’re ready to grab and blitz each morning.
Pasta salads are a lunch saviour – they’re cheap to make, taste good and do you good. Even better - you can easily prepare them in advance so you have them ready to go all week. Pasta is a cheap staple that fills you up – to keep it healthy make sure you’re weighing out your portions and you could try whole wheat pasta if you want to make it even better for you. Add in a handful of rocket, some olives and some chicken and you’ve got yourself a tasty and nutritious lunch. BBC Good Food has some ideas for pasta recipes you can prep in advance.
When you’re busy in the evenings the thought of calling for a takeaway can be more appealing than thinking of something quick and simple to make for dinner. Why not set some time aside early in the week and make a big chilli – packed full of beans, vegetables and protein this can be full of goodness and will be a quick and easy dinner to reheat for the next few days. Portion it up into when you cook it and its ready when you need it - you can mix it up and have it with salad, rice or a jacket potato depending on what you fancy. Not only is it better for you than a takeaway, it will be better for your wallet too. You can freeze batches as well, ready for the next time you’re short on time – here’s a recipe to get you started.
Overnight oats became a bit of a craze a few years ago and it’s not hard to see why. Tasty, satisfying and a lot healthier than a fry up in the morning, you can prepare and keep these in the fridge the night before you need them to save you the time of making porridge in the morning. There are so many recipes to choose from – here are some great ones – but the main ingredients are oats(duh) and a milk of your choice. Anything else you want to add – fresh fruit, nuts, yoghurt – is totally up to you, so you can keep these as cost effective or as lavish as you like.