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2022-05-14 20:03:26 By : Ms. Susy Lv

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The time you put into meal prep can make it easy for you to eat a balanced meal, even if you get home late, you’re too tired to cook, or life throws you another curve ball — scenarios when you might otherwise be inclined to order takeout.

In fact, meal prep was tied to more meal variety, a more nutritious diet, and a healthier body weight in one large study. But prepping can get cumbersome, and you might not want to spend a few hours on a Sunday getting your weekly meals ready. That’s why we’ve streamlined your prep using ten nutritionist-approved foods to create 15 easy and healthy meals you can enjoy all week long.

This strategy saves you time in multiple ways. First, you’ll fill your cart with fewer foods, so you’ll spend less time shopping. Second, since you’re re-using the same ingredients all week long, you can repurpose your ten foods in creative ways without spending time prepping everything at once. Finally, we’ve used numerous shortcut ingredients to simplify meal prep further, such as frozen veggies, canned chickpeas, and store-bought rotisserie chicken. Since no one wants to eat the same ten foods over and over, you can use this strategy while selecting ten new foods next week. Or just make a few swaps to the original list.

Before you head to the store, look at the meals, assess how many eaters you have, and determine the quantity of each item you need.

Here are 15 informal meal ideas to try. Since there are no precise measurements, experiment with the amounts and seasonings and taste as you go. We’re assuming you have some staple ingredients, like extra virgin olive oil, condiments and spices, at home, but otherwise, each of the following healthy meals is prepared using the ten foods listed above. While each dish comes together quickly, you can save even more time by making extra red lentil pasta or roasted broccoli or whatever else you’ll be re-using over the next few days.

Next week, use this same strategy while selecting ten new foods or just make a few swaps to the original list. Some suggestions: mix up the veggies, choose black beans instead of chickpeas, or replace romaine with a different leafy green.

Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, is a nutrition and wellness expert, author and columnist. Her latest book is "Sugar Shock." You can follow Samantha's practical balanced eating advice on Instagram at @nutritionistsam.