• Crunch by Nuffnang

Simple Meal Prep Ideas For Busy People Like You

by Cheryl Choo. |

39 degrees. 4 days. 3 meals.

Sitting elbow-to-elbow with a sweaty office worker with a beam of sun steadily tanning your forehead through a gap in the steel sheet roof, you sit down on the same red, dingy plastic chair as you order your 4th Nasi Lemak of the week at the mamak or kopitiam. As you tear into that crispy golden chicken, you get a sudden – and a little belated – revelation: the chicken is on a dry side and your pants are tad tight.

“I can probably cook one better than this.“

Just before you could dive even deeper into the allure of being your own chef, project deadlines and endless meetings pulled you short and you think I don’t have time for this.

We get it. Malaysia is home to so many delicious food and it would be a crime to turn away the chance to try them all – and yes, it’s a crime. But eating out 3 meals a day for one year can drastically change a person’s physique, and not in a good way.

There is a perfect way to enjoy good food, healthy meals, ace those deadlines and have a solid savings account.

Here are some simple #mealprep ideas to satisfy your dietary lifestyle and cravings for the week:

1) Feeling Vegetarian?

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Source: As Easy As Apple Pie

Ok. So that Nasi Lemak maybe didn’t appeal to you as much, or maybe you’re in need of a good veggie cleanse. While salads are a good way to go, eating raw vegetables for a week builds up a gassy stomach. Malaysian as we are, we love our rice. And the perfect ingredient that checks both categories is cauliflower. With just the basic ingredients from your pantry – onion, garlic, carrots, peas, or really, just anything you want – you’ll have a healthy and carb-free Cauliflower Fried Rice.

And trust me, it doesn’t taste like “healthy food” at all!

Grab the recipe here.

2) If you’re feeling Keto

Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Salmon

Source: The Steele Kitchen

There’s a new diet trend in the neighbourhood that calls for high fat and low carbs. The Ketogenic diet promotes an eating mindset that benefits physical and mental health. Who wouldn’t want that? It’s not that hard either and it promises delicious food journeys ahead. But we’ll start with something small, simple and quick with roasted-to-perfection, crispy-skinned salmon fillet with garlic and aromatic rosemary.

The rich omega and healthy fats from the salmon will not only contribute to better health but keeps you full for a longer period of time. Plus, it’s delicious!

Grab the recipe here.

Tip: We know that it salmon can be pretty expensive in our Malaysian market. Hence, opt to buy frozen salmon in bulk from wholesale distributors like Lee’s Frozen Food. It’s much cheaper if you’re planning to prep the same dish for several meals in a week.

3) Feeling Basically Millennial (or just plain lazy)

Mason Jar Salads

Source: A Sweet Pea Chef

Want your meal to look aesthetically pleasing and look tasty? We’re all guilty of stalling a few seconds to find the perfect flat lay angle before digging in. (Don’t lie to yourself) Fresh greens, bright tomatoes and grilled proteins topped with crunchy nuts for an added texture, salads are foolproof meals to garner likes from both your Internet friends and satisfied stomach. Best part is, you can even put it in a mason jar - making it super easy to make and convenient to have when you’re rushing for a last minute deadline.

Grab the recipe here.

Tip: Layer the ingredients bottoms–up, from wet to dry, leaving the leafy greens at the very tp to avoid soggy greens (ew).

4) Feel like having something local?

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Source: Foodie Baker

While our country prides itself in all things curry (think roti canai, ayam rendang, and curry laksa), we wouldn’t recommend keeping coconut-based dishes in the fridge for more than a few hours. But who says that’s to stop you from making food alá hawker-uncle style at home? You don’t even need a big 15-inch wok or an exhilarating open fire stove. Impress your friends and colleagues with your Hainan Chicken Rice made in a rice cooker. There’s no excuse for you to not try this out because every Asian definitely has this in their home.

And it’s a one-pot dish!

Grab the recipe here.

5) Feeling Adventurous

Beef Bulgogi

Source: Damn Delicious

Meal prepping is a great excuse to experiment on new recipes and cuisines. The Internet is filled with endless resources and maybe you’ve spent one too many nights on Facebook watching countless Tasty or Tastemade videos to satisfy your midnight cravings. Before making a big leap to the other side of the world and screw up your batch of borscht that you wouldn’t even like, try a fail-safe recipe that’s closer to home. Smoky char on the meat and a umami packed sauce, the beef bulgogi will have you looking forward to your next meal.

Grab the recipe here.

We hope these recipes helped to channel your inner Masterchef, to pick up your cooking utensils and more importantly, be motivated to adapt healthier eating habits.

All in all, take everything in moderation. You don’t need to meal prep everyday just to stay healthy. Just do it at your own pace and slowly, but surely, you’ll find it easier to do it on a regular basis. The key is to do it as often as you can and make it into a habit ;)

Good luck!

Meantime, if you've tried any of these recipes and so happen to gram them, don't forget to tag us at @CrunchbyNuffnang!

You may also find Cheryl on Instagram.

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