Wining & Dining
Be A Meal Prep Pro
8/6/2018 12:23:04 PM
Meal Planning

"What do I make for dinner?” Who doesn’t ask that question several times a week, if not daily? Meal prep is a buzz phrase in healthy eating circles lately, and you may want to get on board. But do you know what meal prep is, how to do it, and why it is important?

Some people think of meal prep as merely batch-cooking casseroles on the weekend. However, according to Meghan Abraham, Lake Charles native and owner of FreshFuel, LLC, meal prep is so much more than a weekly time saver. She says meal prep is the best way to guarantee healthy eating and achieve weight loss, if that is your goal. It also saves money because there are fewer restaurant meals, fast-food drive-thru trips, and less waste from unused food from the grocery store.

Abraham understands the importance of meal prep firsthand. With her husband, Ross, she created FreshFuel in early 2017 as a result of her personal struggles with health and wellness due to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (an auto-immune disorder where one’s body attacks the thyroid.) Since then, she has helped over 540 mostly local "challengers,” as she calls her clients. As a wellness coach and holistic nutritionist, Abraham cares about her clients’ overall health. "I believe a person’s spiritual, emotional, and physical health all matter when you are working towards optimum health. We wanted people to learn how to properly fuel their body with nutritious, whole food, their minds with positive thoughts, and their lives with fresh perspective and ideas,” she says. 

FreshFuel28 is Abraham’s twenty-eight-day program focused on supporting a healthy lifestyle through weekly meal preparation of fresh, whole food paired with nutritional knowledge and accountability. With three levels of programs, Abraham provides meal prep instructions, recipes, shopping lists, daily attainable goals, and encouraging, informative videos on healthy eating. The higher levels add more meal plans, exercise instructions, motivation, and tips on healthy restaurant choices (and they’re not all salads!) So far, she has partnered with Main Squeeze Juice Co., Maximum Kinetics Sports Performance and life coach Scott Riviere to bring even more value and expertise to her programs.  

Abraham’s goal is to help people understand the "truth about food.” She believes we make food and eating too complicated. "People do not realize how simple it is to be healthy. We are taught to look at calories and nutrition facts, but the most important thing is eating whole food, the way God created it to really fuel our bodies.” 

Anyone can benefit from the practice of meal prep. Abraham’s client list includes men, young singles, retirees, and especially mothers of young children who often find themselves too busy to cook healthy food for their families. "I recently became a mom and have had the same problems,” she says. "I wanted to make the program streamlined and effortless for moms, so they can spend less time stressing and more time enjoying their family.”

For more information on FreshFuel, LLC, find Meghan on her website, or on social media @thefreshfuel

Follow these meal prep basics to help get you started:

Check your calendar
Assuming you are meal prepping on the weekend for the upcoming week, determine the number of meals you will prepare for. Know how many breakfasts, lunches, and dinners you’ll be eating at home or packing that week. Eliminate meals at social gatherings, business meetings, and travel days to save time and avoid food waste. 

Inventory your Pantry
If you have ingredients in the pantry or fridge you need or want to use, plan your meals with these items in mind to cut down on food waste and keep your storage spaces tidy.

Create menus
Make sure your meals are nutritionally balanced by including healthy proteins (chicken, fish, beef, eggs, Greek yogurt), high quality fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts), complex carbohydrates (brown rice, quinoa, whole-grain pasta or bread) and plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit.

Mix up your menus
You don’t want to get bored with your food so be creative. Meats can be chunked for stews, cut in thin strips for stir-fries, or grilled in portion-sized pieces. Vegetables can be eaten raw with dips, tossed into salads or added to stir-fries.

Make a grocery list and head to the store
Shopping with a list ensures you don’t forget anything you need and decreases the urge to impulse-buy. A basic list includes olive oil, lemons, honey or maple syrup, garlic and onions, sea salt and pepper, favorite proteins, leafy greens and other favorite vegetables and fruits, and favorite grains.

Green Heart Meals

Convinced you have no time to meal prep? Then consider Green Heart Meals on Nelson Rd. They offer affordable, healthy, grab-n-go meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With over 40 pre-made entrees to choose from, each meal has less than 500 calories and costs $7. On Thursdays and Saturdays, meals are $5. Patrons can also pre-order custom meals by choosing one protein and two sides per meal.
3830 Nelson Rd. Lake Charles. or on social media, @greenheartmeals.

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