The concept of a meal routine can seem unappealing, or even unachievable, so how do you find one that works for you? Our recommendation is simple – incorporate things that make you feel good so you work to make it happen and end up with moments to look forward to throughout your day. Recently, we conducted a study that showed the little things in life really are what help boost our moods. Here are the top mood-boosters our respondents shared:
- Being able to sleep in with no alarm set (55%)
- Petting a dog (48%)
- The first sip of coffee of the day (41%)
- Baked treats (i.e. fresh blueberry pie) (40%)
So, how do we incorporate some of these boosters into our daily lives, especially as the holiday stress and chaos set in? Being prepared for your day before it even begins can help make room for the good stuff – some of us set our clothes aside for the next day, so why not have a game plan for mealtime? Swapping 30 minutes of TV time for meal prep may just help you sleep in a little later or get to that first sip of coffee a little faster, getting your day started on the right foot. As for the dog, we may not be able to supply you with one, but we can certainly help you meal prep for your furry friends, too! Read on for some of our favorite meal prep tips to help get you started.
1. Choose meals that are easy to prepare in bulk
You may be drawing a blank as you think of having to pre-plan a few days’ worth of meals, but trust us, it’s not as tough as you think! The key is to not go overboard and create more work for yourself – master a few recipes that you love and can alternate by week, and you won’t find them tiring. For example, this simple-to-assemble Blueberry Quinoa Power Bowl has a recipe that can easily be doubled for a batch that’ll feed you for a week.
2. Don’t fall into a routine rut
Just because you’ve chosen your go-to meals doesn’t mean they need to be the exact same every single time. Recipes like these Blueberry Almond Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps are perfect for little tweaks that’ll help keep your interest piqued. You can swap the lettuce wrap for a whole-grain tortilla, chow down with crackers, or opt for walnuts over almonds – your options for customizing are endless!
3. Go further with frozen
Keep frozen blueberries as a freezer staple and you’ll always be ready for a quick snack. Available all year, blueberries are frozen at the peak of freshness, locking in their healthy goodness, and last up to 10 months in the freezer. Keep them in your lunchbox for an afternoon treat – and to help keep your other food cold – and they’ll be thawed and ready to fuel your afternoon. Another option – whip up a batch of these Blueberry Energy Balls, throw them in a storage container Sunday evening and tap into them all week long for your everyday pick-me-up.
4. Meal prepping doesn’t mean you can’t have fresh fruits and veggies
It can be easy to start your meal prepping journey by finding a handful of recipes and ending up with a week’s worth of casseroles and baked chicken. And while those might be easy to prep, not every meal needs to be a hot, heavy dish – you can keep it simple with something light like a salad. We love this Blueberry Greek Salad in a Jar not only because it shows off every delicious ingredient in a compact container, but it helps keep your salad crisp – never soggy. And since blueberries are a good source of fiber, you won’t have to eat a ton to actually feel full.
5. Leave the oven out of it!
We’re food fanatics, so if there’s a way to get to eating faster, we’re all in! As evidenced by our recipe selection, you don’t need to mess with cook times or dirty sheet pans. For breakfast, try these Easy No-Bake Glazed Blueberry Oat Bars. With just a handful of ingredients and a food processor, you have a delicious treat that’s ready to help you roll into whatever the day will bring.
Meal prepping can absolutely be your ticket to holiday mood-boosting – it can alleviate all sorts of stressors and clear your plate and mind for what you want to be spending your prime-time on … self-care, your kids, or the furry friends in your life. Whether you’re a meal prep pro or a newbie, remember that simplicity and alternating are key to your success. For more inspiration, check out the Blueberry Council’s Meal Prepping 101 board on Pinterest. Have a happy and positively bluetiful holiday season!