Meal prepping often gets a bad rap for being bland and boring (oh, another meal of chicken, broccolli and rice am I right?) The reality is, meal prepping can be boring – but that’s not meal prepping’s fault – it’s the fault of the person doing the meal prep. Now look, we aren’t trying to attack anyone’s cooking skills here but rather show you that meal prepping can be be exciting.

Healthy cooking and meal prepping doesn’t just mean salads and protein all day every day. That’s gonna get pretty boring real quick – and boredom can quickly turn into reaching for the UberEats app to find something tastier (and likely unhealthy).

The good news is we’ve got some great tips to adding variety into your meal prepping efforts to keep you enjoying the meals you’re eating because let’s face it, food is one of the best parts about life, right? Let’s get stuck in!

8 Ways to Spice Up Your Meal Prep

1. Add Literal Spices

You don’t need to pile on sugar-laden sauces to make your meals tasty, all you need is a cupboard full of herbs and spices. Adding variety to your meal to make it taste better and more nutrient dense can be as simple as: 

  • Adding chili powder or cayenne pepper to your stir fries 
  • Sprinkling your roast veggies with ground cinnamon
  • Make your own home-made dressing with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and fresh herbs and spices like rosemary, thyme, and oregano. 
  • Go for nutritional yeast instead of cheese – it’s vegan, and a great source of protein and B vitamins.

2. Add Some Colour to Your Meals

We know eating enoguh fruit and and vegetables is essential to a healthy diet,  and we defintiely all have our individual favourites and go-tos. But rotating your typical fruit and veg choices is a great to add variety into your meals and spruce things up. Normally eat red capsicum? Try a yellow one instead! Mostly eat carrots and cucumber? Try some lettuce and tomato instead. Don’t often go for beets or eggplant because you don’t know how to cook with them? Practice makes perfect! Every week try fill ytour shopping cart with at least two new fruit or veg and we’re have no doubt you’ll quickly pick up a few new favourite options!

2. Try a New Cuisine

Do you have a go-to meal prep cuisine? Tend to stick to the same meals or types of food? Try a new cuisine! Mexican Monday, Thai Tuesday… you get the idea. This is great way to not only try new recipes but also still  satiate your takeout cravings but with a healthy and home-cooked option. Different cuisines base their meals around different ingredients, so by going out of your way to cook different cuisines each week, you’ll be ensuring you’re getting a bunch of new nutrients into your system. And your tastebuds will thank you too!

3. Get Fancy With Your Meal Prep Leftovers

Have some old meal prep meals in the back of the freezer you don’t want to waste? All you need to do is add some different falvour profiles and combos and you’ve got a whole new and tasty meal to try. Here are some ways to use leftovers and boost the variety and flavours of your diet:

  • Leftover beef? Make tacos with taco seasoning, salsa and guac.
  • Leftover keto banana bread? Try a health french toast with berries and coconut yoghurt. 
  • Leftover stiry fry? Beef up the flavour with some chilli and add some fresh greens to boost the nutrients and texture.

4. Mix & Match Your Proteins

If you’re a meat-eater, why not mix and match your protein sources to really add some variety to your meals? For example, spaghetti bolognese with ground beef and lentils, black beans & turkey tacos, beans with your morning omelet … you get the picture. This not only signifcnlty bumps the protein of each meal but can add a whole bunch of different falvours, textures and nutrients. Yum! 

5. Try Dairy-Free Alternatives

Dairy-free alternatives are a great way to boost the variety in your meals. Dairy free alternatives also typically have a rage of extra nutrients and vitamins that’ll help keep your diet varied and well-rounded. For example: 

  • Swap full fat milk for almond milk for a low-fat, protein-rich option
  • Swap parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast for extra b vitamins 
  • Swap dairy ice-cream for banana “nice-cream” 
  • Swap dairy yoghurt for coconut yoghurt for added probiotics 

6. Go Nuts With… Nuts

Nuts and seeds are an excellent addition to a healthy diet and a great way to add some tasy and textural variety. Nuts and seeds are a great source of plant-based protein and healthy fats, with walnuts, hemp, flax, and chia seeds also pack a punch with omega-3 fatty acids. You can add nuts to a variety of meals – including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here are some of our favourite ways to go nuts with nuts. 

  • Add almonds to your morning yoghurt 
  • Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over salad
  • Make homemade pesto with pine nuts
  • Chop up walnuts to sprinkle on your oats
  • Add pepitas to your smoothies
  • Make homemade trail mix with your favourite nuts and seeds and add some shredded coconut, raw cacao nibs and a small handful of dried fruit . 

7. Sign Up for a Meal Delivery Service

Signing up for a meal prep delviery service is one of the best ways to save time, sometimes save money and always ensure you’re getting variety in your meals. Meal prep services often create tasty and healthy meals you wouldn’t cook at home, so it’s an easy and effective way to incprate different types of food into your diet. Not to mention with meal delivery providers oyu don’t need to shop, cook or wash up (except maybe a fork and bowl). 

Check out our lsit of the top meal providers across Australia here.

Fail to Plan and Plan to Fail 

As the old saying goes, if you fail to plan you’re planning to fail… and the same goes with your health and meal prep goals. 

Having a plan in place for your weekly meals ensures you’re not only getting enough of the right nutrients to thrive, but it also prevents you form getting bored in the kitchen, which can easily lead to binging on less than healthy meals.

Check out our guide here to meal prepping in advance, and how to write a killer shopping list for meal prepping success. 

Why Add Variety to Your Meals 

Why bother adding variety to your meals anyway? Why not stick with what you know and what you’re good at cooking?

Well, there’s no rules to say you can’t stick with the same meals each week, but there are certainly a range of benefits to adding variety to your meal prepping, such as: 

  • More nutrients: The more variety in your meals, the more nutrients you’re feeding your body. The human body is an amazing thing and can survive off very little, but it will thrive when you properly feed it a range of foods and nutrients. And we all want to thrive in life, right? 
  • Prevent boredom: Eating the same thing over and over is boring. Boring for our brain and boring for our tastebuds. Making an effort to add variety into our meals is one of the best wayts to fight boredom.
  • Prevent food fatigue: Food fatigue is a real thing and can lead to you making some unhealthy choices and binging on food that’s less than ideal. By varyuing up your meals, you’re less likely to having cravings for unhealthy foods and more likely to stay on track with your health and fitness goals. 
  • Reduce risk of metabolic syndrome: Studies have found those with more variety in their diet were at lower risk of metabolic syndrome. This syndrome, involving abdominal obesity, low HDL cholesterol and high fasting glucose levels, increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

FAQ

What’s a Healthy Sauce to Add to Meals?

There’s no denying sauces can make meals taste a whole lot better, but many store-bought sauces are often high in calories, sugar, salt, and other additives. Some healthy alternatives are salsa, tahini, guacamole (homemade), or balsamic vinegar. These sauces/condiments are minimally processed and made from nutrient-dense ingredients to add a good amount of variety to your diet.

What’s the Healthiest Way to Make a Meal Taste Better?

You don’t need to add a whole bunch of sauce, sugars or oil to make a meal taste better. Often, just a little extra salt and pepper or chopped herbs will go a long way to bringing out the natural flavors of a dish.

How Often Should I Change My Diet for Weight Loss?

If you’re trying to lose weight and the current diet is working for you, there’s no need to make any drastic plans to keep losing weight. The best way to incorpoate variety in your diet for weight loss is aiming to make one new healthy recipe at least once a week. This will change up your food and nutrient intake and also help fight food fatigue.

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