Each day we consume three meals, and many of these are enjoyed away from home. Although plants are abundant in the world, and growing in their demand as more and more people are turning to a plant-based diet, the best way to guarantee healthy meal options is to be prepared. Put your best foot forward by prepping smoothies and salads during the week. Here are some simple steps that will help you get started.
Develop a Shopping Schedule or Find a Shopping Service
The easiest way to prep quickly is to always have food in your home. A shopping trip and the time to prepare food could easily become a whole evening event. To eat fresh, shopping often is helpful, but fruit and veggies do not spoil as soon as you think. A trip a week could work, or maybe you have a corner market where you can always pick up an apple and a pear for a green smoothie if you have all of the lettuce ready to go. Develop a plan that fits your life.
If you have challenges, like living in a urban area or time limitations, try taking advantage of delivery services such as AmazonFresh, Instacart, Fresh Direct, or order for pick up or delivery with your local grocery store.
Have Plenty of Mason Jars and BPA-free Salad Containers
Carve Out Time that Works for You
For me this is typically on Sunday afternoon or evening. I will make 2 batches of Kimberly Snyder's Glowing Green Smoothie, which makes 6, 16 oz smoothies, which is enough for Scott and me for 3 days each. If planning to store for more than 3 days, fresh juice should instead be frozen. Since I use glass jars, I avoid freezing; however, if you were to use a plastic container, you could make even more bottles at once and freeze. Just remember to move the bottle to the refrigerator the night before so it is ready for you in the morning.
I will also attempt 6 salads, which is actually pretty easy as I'm well stocked with food. Doing it all at once, clean up is easier too. I can use the same strainer, salad spinner, cutting board, knife, and other items for all the salads, and I only need to wash them once. Saves dishes and water!
Prepping food also helps prevent spoilage as the fresh, whole foods that I purchased are rinsed, chopped, and ready for someone to eat, and not going bad in an untouched bag during the week.
Some good vegetables for simple salads include: kale, romaine, tomatoes, sprouts (bean, alfalfa, and crunchy are my favorites), zucchini, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, cabbage, cucumbers, avocado (take separately and slice just before eating), and plenty more. If at the very least you have a container of lettuce ready to go, you can always throw leftover cooked vegetables and grains on top from your evening dinner and grab an avocado.
Living with someone who has similar health goals is really wonderful. Perhaps you do, or you do and they don't know it yet! Try giving a book from our resource page as a gift or make a plant-based meal for your friends and family to try. Whatever size your team, try switching tasks so that you get time off. If Scott preps once for 3 days, and then I prep once for 3 days, that's 6 days of smoothies and salads for just one hour of work each!!
If sharing tasks is not an option, look around to see if there are stores and restaurants that can give you a little break. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have pre-made salads that are free of meat and dairy. Salad hubs such as Just Salad and Chop Chop make made-to-order large lunch salads. To be extra prepared, find vegan, oil-free dressing options to keep in your kitchen at work. I like Cindy's Kitchen dressings available at Whole Foods (the sesame ginger is my favorite). Other quick dressing options include: fresh lemon juice, raw apple cider vinegar, Bragg's liquid aminos, and nutritional yeast.
For green juice, in NYC, I have found a lot of places that offer similar juices like Bread and Butter, Juice Generation, Brooklyn Crepe and Juice, Farsik, and more. Read my resource guide to green juices in NYC.
Prep with Joy!
Remember, this is something you are doing for you! Make it you time! Play music, catch up on internet TV, share it with someone you love, light a candle, take cute veggie pictures with your iPhone - whatever makes you happy! (Bonus points for anyone who sends me a plant-themed playlist!) Enjoy your time in the kitchen and your time around fresh, whole foods that truly love you back. Do not put huge expectations on yourself or box yourself into something that does not work for you.
Never be upset with yourself for not being well-prepped. Set a realistic goal of introducing the change you want to see little by little. I do not walk out my door everyday with a green smoothie and a salad, but I do not think about the days I don't, I think about the days I do. Celebrate your achievement!
- Cutting down on meat for health: More people are trying it by Mary Macvean, LA Times
- Storage Conditions: Fruits and Vegetables The University of Maine reprinted with permission from Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service, Manhattan, KS. Written by Karen L. B. Gast, Extension specialist, Post Harvest and Marketing