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Meal Prep Hacks To Help You Eat Healthy On The Go

Meal prep is all the rage these days. And for good reason! Check out these awesome meal prep hacks to help you eat healthier week-to-week. 

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More and more people these days are jumping on the latest trend in food: meal prep! It’s simple really, just spend some of your Sunday (or any given day in the week) preparing some ready-to-go or ready-to-warm-up meals to maximize your time and keep you from relying on fast food too much. Here’s the thing though… it’s not always that simple! And it takes some real commitment.

But we’re here to help. There’s plenty of tips and tricks to make meal prep as easy as possible. And here are some of our favorites! I know I’ve started using at least half of these and I’m very glad I did.

MINI OMLETES IN A MUFFIN PAN

How delicious do these look?! Everybody loves a good omelet, but they can be time-consuming to make and we rarely let ourselves enjoy one at home. But you can make a bunch of mini omelets for the week ahead by cooking them in a muffin pan. Put whatever cheeses and veggies you want in them and store them in the fridge. They still taste fantastic after a quick thirty seconds in the microwave.

READY-TO-BLEND SMOOTHIE PACKS

Smoothies are always delicious and are crazy healthy to boot. But getting all those delicious ingredients and cutting them up in the right proportions takes time. So why not prepare all those proportions for your daily smoothie in advance! Just use some basic ziplock bags to measure out your proportions and then keep the smoothie packs in your freezer. Then, when you’re ready for a delicious smoothie, all you have to do is grab one of the packs and blend away! Easy peasy.

FRUIT CUPS FOR SNACKTIME ANYTIME

Who doesn’t love fruit?! It’s delicious and always makes a great snack. But it’s easy to forget to keep your fridge stocked with fruit or leave the fruit at home when you go to work. But you know what else is easy? Making little to-go fruit cups that you can take with you anywhere you go! It’s also a great way to make sure the fruit you do have in the fridge doesn’t go bad because you forgot about it.

MAKE YOUR OWN FROZEN BURRITOS

Frozen burritos are as dangerous as they come. They’re technically delicious, but they’re terrible for you. But we have good news for you: you can just make your own frozen burritos! Now you can enjoy that microwaved deliciousness without feeling like you’re destroying your body.

PREMADE SALAD IN A MASON JAR

How adorable is this?! Salads are, of course, great for us, but can sometimes be a pain to make. At least with all the ingredients you really want in them. But pre-making a bunch of salads in mason jars and storing them in the fridge is a great way to make sure you enjoy the most delicious salad possible without having to make a new one every day. Just make sure you don’t forget to layer them properly to ensure they stay as fresh as possible for as long as possible!

VARIOUS MICROWAVEABLE MEALS

This is what meal prep is all about right here. There are all kinds of full meals that you can prep on a Sunday, throw in a Tupperware container or two, and reheat as you please without losing any bit of deliciousness they had when you first made them. Throw anything you want in there! Chicken, rice, vegetables… the list goes on and on.

FREEZER BAGS OF MARINATED CHICKEN

All too often we settle for bland, flavorless chicken. Why? Because it takes to much time to make any kind of glaze or rub and actually apply it to the chicken! Well… meal prep to the rescue! Just put a bunch of chicken breasts in ziplock bags along with whatever herbs, spices, and sauces you like and keep them in the freezer. Then, whenever you’re in the mood for delicious chicken, just pull one out, cook, and enjoy!

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Sedentary Lifestyle Can Abruptly Damage Your Health

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Having a sedentary lifestyle can quickly damage your health as it can lead to serious issues like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Massive and prolonged lockdown protocols in the US have forced many to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. The need to limit COVID-19 transmission led a lot of citizens to spend more time sitting at home and forego daily commutes. According to experts, most Americans are now spending a daily average of six (6) hours sitting as compared to the daily average of four (4) hours prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Most citizens, even the typically active ones, are now adhering to a more sedentary lifestyle with physical activity dropping to almost one-third of pre-pandemic times. Those who used to be sedentary became even more sedentary, as well, asserts a recent research published in the Psychiatry journal.

These alarming trends stipulate, then, that the average American has a more sedentary lifestyle at present as compared to any other period in history. “We have definitely seen instances of increased sedentary behavior, especially with more people at home during lockdowns, and more unemployment,” mentions Dr Richard Yoon, orthopedics chief at Jersey City Medical Center. “Not only the physical effects but also the mental challenges posed by the pandemic have taken their toll. And I have seen that some of my patients are less active and visiting the fridge more often because of the loss of their old routines,” Yoon adds.

An increased sedentary lifestyle leads to several health issues including heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, and even death. The prevalent trends of work-from-home (WFH) arrangements and distance learning schemes further exacerbate the problem.

“It definitely takes less time for an unhealthy lifestyle to take hold than an active, healthy one. Once you get into a routine of not doing much, you can start feeling the effects right away,” Yoon points out. “Muscle breakdown can start in as little as 24 hours, and aches and pains start to creep in,” he stresses.

Furthermore, sitting all day can even lead to an increased experience of back pain which, then, encourages people to perpetuate a more sedentary lifestyle. People who do not feel well tend to decrease their physical activities and the tempting idea of staying immobile takes hold.

“Sedentary behavior and lifestyle have a very strong link to the development of back pain,” asserts Dr Medhat Mikhael, a pain management specialist at the Spine Center of the MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center. “Weight gain that puts a load on the spine and weakened abdominal and back muscles together with weakened ligaments would lead to further load on the spine,” he continues. “All of these effects and changes would create a vicious circle of back pain and further physiological and mechanical deterioration of the spine.”

The vicious cycle that results from adopting a sedentary lifestyle gets further supported by the gradual appearance of different health issues as more and more Americans follow the lockdown protocols mandated to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, there is a need to exert some effort, even when remaining at home, so that this sedentary lifestyle does not take hold—and encourage the onset of several physical and mental issues.

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Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle During the Holidays

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It is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This becomes particularly difficult during the Christmas holidays when food becomes overflowing and simultaneous celebrations sway you toward overindulging your palate.

Experts stress that it is important to focus on having a healthy lifestyle during the upcoming holiday season. Harvard’s Medical School fellow, Dr Beth Frates, provides us with several tips on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the year-end celebrations.

Dr Frates mentions the necessity of maintaining your workout routine. She points out that people tend to forget their exercise routines during stressful situations. To halt such drastic decisions, however, she recommends integrating a new activity. People get easily stimulated when they are presented with new activities. She adds that it is also helpful to request for exercise-related gifts or even opt for holiday celebrations that allow you active participation.  Playing a simple game with the family, for example, can provide you with the opportunity to physically exert yourself.

It helps to maintain your habits, as well. Dr Frates stresses the need to track your routine. A healthy lifestyle cannot be easily attainable without the conscious effort to control what you do. Hence, recording what you eat and drink during every meal is beneficial. Keeping a record of your daily exercise routine is essential, as well. She says that your logbook permits you to measure your efforts and also allows you to approximate the level of indulgence you can appropriate for yourself during the holidays.

Dr Frates also shares that it is crucial to have a proper mindset. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle cannot be done without changing your point of view. A positive outlook in life is essential. Thus, it is best to throw away all the negative thoughts and pursue only the good vibes that typically accompany the holiday celebrations. Spending time with your family and loved ones can provide you with this, as well.

Food, she says, is an integral part of the upcoming celebrations. However, we should not forget that Christmas and New Year are both centered on new beginnings, as well. Hence, focusing on beneficial modifications and resolutions should be looked into. Banishing undesirable habits, addictions, and even people can greatly help shape—and maintain—a healthy lifestyle. Infusing yourself with good thoughts and plans can further contribute, as well. Allow yourself to discover new things, as well. Find loved ones to do outdoor activities with.

Finally, Dr Frates points out that overindulging yourself during this holiday season can still be a possibility. However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to your maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. Allow yourself to enjoy. The Christmas season is a time of celebration which specifically allows you to relax and be with your loved ones. It is the moment when you get to let your hair down and simply be yourself. She stresses that slipping up on your exercise routine, for instance, shouldn’t be a cause for worry. You can always start again, she adds.

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Rapid Weight Loss and Healthy Living to Prevent Diabetes

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A new international study asserts that the best way to prevent diabetes is through maintaining healthy eating, doing regular physical activity, and promoting fast weight loss. Stopping the deadly and prevalent occurrence of diabetes is a major issue all across the world. While numerous lifestyle transitions proclaim a successful prevention of type 2 diabetes, new research stresses the significance of maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle.

To highlight the importance of observing World Diabetes Day, the PREVIEW (PREVention of diabetes through lifestyle Intervention and population studies in Europe and around the World) project points out its recent findings. The study did a comparison between a high-protein-and-low-sugar diet and a moderate-protein-and-moderate-sugar diet in relation to the maintenance of weight and the prevention of diabetes. Combining these two diets with either high-intensity and moderate-intensity exercise was also looked into.

Jennie Brand-Miller, Co-author and Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, explains that the study provided significant results in connection to the lifestyle modifications that can possibly help people who have the predisposition to develop type 2 diabetes. She points out that there is, indeed, a better way to prevent diabetes.

“Overwhelmingly, participants who lost eight percent or more of their body weight in eight weeks and went on to complete the trial, did not develop diabetes within three years despite regaining some weight,” Brand-Miller stresses.

To prevent diabetes, the research was conducted in a span of three years in several countries simultaneously: Australia, Denmark, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, the UK, and New Zealand. The participants went through an eight-week weight reduction stage followed by a three-year weight preservation stage.

To achieve the required eight percent weight loss, the 2,326 participants, who were aged 25-70, had to follow several meal replacements. At the end of the said study, about 97% of the participants were able to maintain satisfactory weight loss. They were also able to prevent diabetes development.

“The most important finding in PREVIEW was the low incidence of diabetes in all groups at the end of the study,” Brand-Miller points out as she reiterates the necessity of maintaining a healthy lifestyle to prevent diabetes especially among those who are predisposed with the condition.

She highlights that there was no significant difference observed between the two diet categories or even between the two exercise intensity categories. Brand-Miller, however, notes that fewer participants who belonged in the high-protein diet category had normal sugar levels. In addition, she mentions that further research may provide better insight into the role of weight loss in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.

Nevertheless, the PREVIEW study provides crucial findings to help prevent diabetes occurrence as the prevalence of this disease is proving to be extensively worrisome. “We believe this approach has been more successful in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes than any previous diabetes prevention study and represents a significant clinical advance in the treatment of pre-diabetes,” she adds.

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