By: Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN
It’s common to move from the light salads that ran our lives in the summer to heavier, more comforting foods we can’t get enough of in the fall. But cooler weather doesn’t have to equate to unhealthy eating. Delegate an hour or two at the beginning of your week to prepare delicious meals to keep yourself fueled and feeling energized when you’re too busy to cook.
Here are some meal prep hacks to start incorporating this fall.
Sheet pan meals are a victory for everyone because they are simple to prepare and require minimal clean up. Just pick your favorite vegetables – like cauliflower, broccoli, peppers or green beans – add a protein and starch and toss with olive oil and some spices. Some easy ideas are salmon, green beans and butternut squash, or chicken breasts, tomato slices and sweet potatoes. Sheet pan meals also make great leftovers, so you can stock up for the week.
We can’t think of an easier way to elevate your fall recipes than by incorporating collagen. Just add 1-2 scoops (or more, depending on how much you’re making) to your go-to recipe and enjoy. Why we love collagen: Not only is it flavorless and odorless, it also easily dissolves in hot and cold liquids. We’re all about the versatility. Talk about an A+ meal prep hack!
RELATED: How to Use Collagen
Making your own tomato sauce isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. Not only is tomato sauce a versatile ingredient, but you can also save yourself from high sugar and other additives found in store-bought sauce. Plus, tomato sauce freezes well so it’s perfect for prepping for later, too. Pasta with tomato sauce is a crowd-pleaser, and a great base for adding in fall vegetables and your favorite protein source. For a fun spin, roast some spaghetti squash and use your homemade tomato sauce as a topper.
‘Tis the season to throw pumpkin pie spice on anything and everything! While store-bought pumpkin pie spice can be expensive, it is just as easy to make your own – especially if you shop the bulk ingredients at your local grocery store. Simply mix 3 T ground cinnamon, 2 t ground ginger, 2 t ground nutmeg, 1 t ground allspice and 1 teaspoon ground cloves. Once you have it prepared, you can use it for pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie or even sprinkled on your hot chocolate with a little whipped cream. It’s the perfect addition to please your sweet tooth and give your soul a little extra warmth.
Everyone has a favorite soup, and this is the perfect season to whip it up. Whether you enjoy chicken noodle or broccoli cheddar, soup – like sheet pan meals or make-ahead tomato sauce – is an easy meal to make and reheat later. Plus, the longer those flavors sit together, the bolder they will taste, especially if you have a favorite bread for dipping. Double or triple your favorite recipe to freeze for later. Your future self will thank you.
Imagine this: waking up on a brisk Saturday morning with a cup of robust, black coffee and a bowl of baked oatmeal. Baked oatmeal is a cozy make-and-reheat breakfast option when you’re nestled in your warm pajamas. We love this apple pumpkin pie baked oatmeal topped with peanut butter. Plus, it’s perfectly portable if you have a busy morning planned or need a snack to hold you over between meals.