5 Tasty Tips from a Nutritionist to Help You Meal Prep Like a Boss
March 08, 2019
This is a guest post written by Sami Bloom. Sami Bloom is a clinical nutritionist, yoga teacher, accredited member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society & the creative mind behind Health & Bloom. Sami specialises in plant-based nutrition, drawing upon both science and holistic principles to treat each individual case in a way that is effective, sustainable and enjoyable. Her philosophy is deeply rooted in whole food, plant-based nutrition and using food as the wonderful medicine that it is!
“When we feel fantastic, it becomes easy & natural to continue healthy habits & form long-lasting, sustainable lifestyle patterns.”
After around 5 years on my own health journey, making healthy choices and preparing nutritious meals has become second nature to me.
However, if I look back 5 years ago, this certainly wasn’t the case. My health was not always important and the “good choice” wasn’t often an easy or enjoyable one.
My teenage years
As a young teenager, social pressures weighed in and I became obsessed with working out and restrictive eating.
This was not to feel good but rather to look good.
My weight plummeted and people took notice. I lost my period. I thought I felt fantastic but realistically, any self-esteem I had was largely dependent on the validation of others.
This basically set me on a down-spiral of weight-obsession. I lost and then I gained, and then I spent most of my early twenties trying to chase the initial weight-loss that had seemingly been so easy as a young teenager.
My relationship with food
As I grew up, my fast-paced lifestyle didn’t help; I was yo-yo dieting, binge drinking, over-exercising, over-analysing and just generally over-doing it! Of course, I was exhausted. I had all kinds of hormonal imbalances, stress and disordered eating issues.
I didn’t view food as helpful - something I could use to feel energetic, improve digestion, prevent disease let alone needed for survival - rather, I saw it as a case of less is best.
This created such a disconnect! I literally feared eating.
Whilst I certainly went through various phases, what is consistent throughout is this mistrust - of food and of my body.
Once I took the time to sit within my own thoughts, to pause, reflect and change my perspective, I began to fuel myself out of love and out of a strong desire to just want to be better.
The focus moved away from aesthetics; it became all about the type of person I wanted to be, the ease and energy I wanted to feel and the quality of life I wanted to live.
I promised myself I would take care of myself so I could live a long, happy life above all else.
Leaving the corporate world as a lawyer to study a bachelor in nutrition was a huge decision, but it became clear that it was the right one. I became fascinated by how the body worked and the influence food could have over it. I learnt so much!
From here, my passion grew and clean cooking and plan-based eating became natural and fun for me.
Sure, when we first go down this path we can go overboard… homemade pre-portioned lunches, snacks, a healthy treat, dips, dressings, nut milk, and grains all soaked and cooked up ready to go.
However in my clinic, I’ve seen this over-excited “gold-star” strategy tires quickly. As I say to my patients, the best routine is the one you can stick to.
5 easy steps
What we want to set up is a solid regimen that you can adhere to week after week after week, even when life gets busy.
Below are 5 easy steps you can take each week to ensure that you are armed and ready for a week of healthy meals that are quick and simple to prepare. You can rotate the varieties e.g. swap from broccoli to brussels sprouts, brown rice to quinoa etc.
In fact, I encourage you to do so in order to obtain a broader spectrum of nutrients, but the principles remain the same.
Buy and wash/dry a big bag or two of leafy greens
Easy! Put it in a large glass tupperware and store it in the fridge. It can now be added to smoothies, salads and cooked meals with ease. I buy 1kg for Mike and I.
High in vitamins such as A, C, E and some Bs as well as minerals like magnesium, zinc and calcium, chlorophyll-rich spinach also provides additional fibre as well as the added benefit of alkalising our bodies.
Roast a BIG tray of Cruciferous & starchy veggies
I like to choose three options such as 1 x head broccoli, 1 x head cauliflower & 3-4 medium sweet potatoes. Other cruciferous options are brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy, cabbage.
Because a serving of cruciferous vegetables a day is healthy to support our liver and detoxification pathways as well as being anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic.
Starch is a satiating, delicious way to amp up our fibre and feed the friendly bacteria in our gut which in turn produces butyrate (beneficial and important to the colon).
Boil 1-2 cups dry gluten-free grains
Quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, teff, millet, buckwheat, 100% buckwheat soba or rice noodles… these are WHOLE grains.
Whilst refined grains are stripped of most of their nutrients, these beautiful grains are full of fibre, minerals, phytochemical, vitamins and amino acids.
Do not be afraid to consume. For any digestive issues, try soaking them overnight, draining and then cooking in fresh water.
Grains assist with brain function, fat metabolism, energy production and tissue repair.
Stock up or cook legumes
Lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, cannelloni beans are always in my pantry. I buy organic, no-salt-added varieties that have no preservatives or nasties.
Be sure to wash them thoroughly in a strainer, until all bubbles disappear, to avoid bloating. You can also soak dry legumes and then drain and cook them yourself.
As well as possessing the benefits of other starches as stated above, they are loaded with protein, are low GI and help to balance blood sugar and appetite, and are choc-full-of antioxidants and fibre to promote good digestion, heart health, and prevent cancer.
Make a batch of salad dressing
There are so many combos you can try here. This ensures putting together a salad is easy and tasty in a pinch.
Because store-bought ones are generally full of preservatives, additives, and unnecessary salt and sugar. These have incredibly beneficial ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, lemons, miso, tahini, spices etc. that only bring you more health, not empty calories!
For more recipe and meal prep inspiration from Sami Bloom, click here.