Meal Prep Hacks: Buy Pre-Cooked Meals & Foods To Save Time

Just because you didn’t make a meal from scratch doesn’t mean it can’t be healthy and support your goals. Some of us aren’t blessed with infinite amounts of time or even enjoy cooking. Sometimes we just need a break from cooking duties.

That’s why I believe it’s useful to supplement meal prep with pre-cooked foods and meals. You can save time and still eat healthy if you know what to get.

Here’s what I will typically buy:

  • Frozen or pre-cooked proteins like turkey, beef or veggie burgers, roasts, fajita meat, or pulled pork

  • Frozen veggies or veggie mixes

  • Microwave rice, pre-roasted potatoes or sweet potato fries, gluten-free waffles or pancakes, or canned beans for carbs

  • Frozen meals like fajita bowls or frozen entrees—especially cuisine I know damn well I can’t cook

Here are some low-prep foods I grabbed at Trader Joe’s.

Note: I’ll be reviewing most of these and if you want me to review anything you’re curious about trying, leave a comment.

Be mindful of what you buy

Pre-made foods can vary widely on their level of quality and processing. We want to do our best getting decent nutrition so here are some things to consider:

  1. Look for items with mostly while foods like lean proteins, veggies, or starches and whole grains.

  2. Look for foods primarily of a single macro for ease of portion control. Pre cooked meats, frozen veggies, roasted potatoes, rice and etc.

  3. If you choose a mixed meal like a frozen entree, choose a lower calorie one. You can always add more food if you need too.

  4. Typically the less ingredients the better but if there are a lot components or seasonings, it’s going to have more and it could still be fine to eat.

  5. Be mindful of food additives. While some may be ‘recognized as safe’, consider avoiding artificials (e.g. flavors, colorings, sweeteners), partially hydrogenated oils (trans-fats), high-fructose corn syrup, MSG or certain preservatives like BHA, BHT or TBHQ. They may be “safe” but we’ll be just as healthy without them.

Here’s a link to a solid website where you can visit to educate yourself on food additives.

Next time you go to the store consider picking up some meals to make your life a little easier. There’s no shame in that #lazyAFnutrition :)