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September 03, 2019
IDEAL PROPORTIONS FOR PREPPED MEALS | By Hubert Cormier
One of the best ways to implement the advice in the new food guide, which encourages us to cook more often, is to prepare our own meals and lunches in a super efficient way. By meal prepping, you get meals that are rich in nutrients and ones you enjoy for less! By the end of this article, you will see that it’s easy to plan your week well and eat healthy!
🍱 CHOOSING THE RIGHT CONTAINERS
First, it’s important to get reasonably sized dishes. While glass dishes are more expensive, they have a longer lifespan than plastic ones and are more environmentally friendly. It is also convenient to have airtight containers, like those with flap lids.
Finally, consider opting for dishes that are appropriate for the foods you plan to eat. For example, a small reusable bag for fruit, crackers or raw vegetables is perfect; a Mason jar for soup or salad; and a glass dish or thermos for the main meal! Think big when you shop; you want enough food for the whole week and even to freeze and store for later!
ADDING FRUITS AND VEGGIES
Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. In terms of proportions, these should make up about half of your meal, and include more vegetables than fruit.
🥕 Coloured vegetables are good sources of antioxidants. They significantly contribute to regulating exercise-induced oxidative stress. Some of these veggies include peppers (red, orange, yellow), beets, carrots, etc.
🥬 Leafy and green vegetables are rich in iron, an essential nutrient needed to transport oxygen to the muscles and throughout the body. We’re referring to spinach, kale (the famous kale!), arugula, etc.
🥦 Cabbage and all similar veggies are known to boost the immune system by providing good doses of vitamin C. What better way to make sure you’re always up for the next challenge or workout! Remember to include Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli and red cabbage in your meals.
🍇 Fruits, which are richer in carbohydrates and therefore in energy, will freshen up a salad, add flavour to a sauce or simply finish off a meal in style when consumed fresh, whole or in pieces. Treat yourself!
🍗 CHOOSING THE RIGHT PROTEIN
Proteins are important for the body’s functioning, and it is very easy—and realistic—to meet your body’s needs through food alone! Protein foods should make up about ¼ of the meal and/or provide between 20 and 30 grams of protein per meal.
Vegetable proteins are rich in fibre and protein and contain no saturated fat or cholesterol. The most popular sources include tempeh, tofu, legumes, textured vegetable protein (TVP), etc.
Meat, poultry and fish are complete proteins that require little handling for their preparation. Note that the consumption frequency should vary from one type of meat to another. For example, it is beneficial to eat more fish and seafood than poultry and to eat small amounts of red and deli meats on occasion.
🍚 CHOOSING A STARCHY FOOD
Starchy foods must provide a good amount of dietary fibre and a source of energy that can be sustained over a long period. The type of carbohydrates present in starchy foods will have an impact on how the muscles use the energy. It is therefore crucial to make wise choices.
More often than not, it’s a good idea to choose whole grains that help regulate intestinal transit and help lower bad cholesterol levels. Whether you prefer rice, pasta or bread, whole grain product alternatives exist. For your meal prep, prepare large quantities of starchy foods and freeze them! And don’t be afraid to use less common grains, such as barley, spelt, quinoa and faro. Starchy foods should make up about ¼ of the meal.
At first, meal prep may require slightly more planning and an investment of time and money; however, over time, the results will surprise you and be extremely beneficial to your eating routine. You will be more organized, more efficient at choosing/planning your meals, and your cooking skills will improve!
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