News from Illinois CancerCare

Easy Meal Prep Tips

Many of us have felt our anxiety skyrocket over the past few weeks due to the fear and uncertainty related to COVID-19. How can that anxiety be channeled in a productive way?

Our Oncology Dietitians recommend stocking up on food supplies in a calm, measured way without panic buying and hoarding. Your anxiety can be channeled into meal prep – a helpful way to make meals for the week super convenient!

Below are tips to help you get started.

PROTEIN

  • Throw in chicken breasts into a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours, or bake the chicken in the oven and shred with two forks. Then pair with your favorite sauce
  • Put the chicken on baked potatoes, use in soup, or add to rice, veggies or pasta
    • Remember: eggs, cottage cheese, canned beans and nuts are good sources of protein that require less preparation when time is limited!

VEGETABLES

  • Make use of easy prep veggies like frozen or canned vegetables to mix into or add to a side
  • Canned tomatoes, black beans, and corn can be mixed into foods to extend the meal
  • If you have kids stuck at home (that are old enough to safely use a knife), have them cut up vegetables for use or quick grabbing
  • Starchy veggies (potatoes, canned pumpkin, squash, parsnip) can be used as a base or addition to meals (baked and stuffed)

GRAINS

Grains are a great way to extend meals or make leftovers more exciting. Cook up a large batch of rice, pasta, quinoa, couscous, barley or oats for use with meals.

  • Add to soups or chili
  • Mix with greens/veggies and protein for a power bowl
  • Top pasta with last night’s protein
  • Mix with eggs and diced vegetable or spices for frittata

BREAKFAST

  • Overnight oats
  • Freezer egg sandwiches
  • Breakfast cookies
  • Freeze yogurt and fruit for a quick smoothie in the mornings

SNACKS

  • Yogurt and nuts or granola
  • Peanut butter energy balls
  • Cheese stick and an apple
  • Peanut butter crackers
  • Vegetables and hummus
  • Cottage cheese
  • Protein bar
  • Toast with peanut butter
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Handful of trail mix
  • Hard boiled eggs

LEFTOVERS

  • Mix meal with grain or on a baked potato
  • Mix left over veggies and beans with broth to make a soup
  • Use extra veggies and protein with eggs to┬ámake a quiche or frittata