Meal prepping is key to creating nutritious and healthy food without sacrificing time, nutrients or money. Our lives are busy and finding time to shop, prep, and cook can be exhausting.

Effective meal prepping depends on how organized you are and how it fits with your lifestyle and eating habits. Do you prefer to pre-portion each individual meal eaten during the day in containers, or do you whip up a few recipes during the week and eat the leftovers throughout the week? You may find it convenient to prepare a variety of separate food items during the week and then combine those items into a meal. There is no right or wrong in meal prepping. Rather, you need to find what works for you and your lifestyle. The basic premise for any style of meal prepping however, is eating healthy with minimal time spent in the kitchen.

Benefits of meal prepping:

  • Spend less time in the kitchen
  • Eat healthful and delicious meals all week long
  • Stay on track with nutrition and health goals
  • Limit decision-making when it comes to meals
  • Save money!

Here are some tips when it comes to meal prepping and keeping life easy in the kitchen all week long:

1. Allow some time – Set aside adequate time during the weekend (or weekdays) that you can spend in the kitchen. One to two hours in the kitchen putting together food for the week is a great place to start. This may seem like a big commitment at first, but in the long run, this time investment is worthwhile because it means time saved during the week when hours are more valuable.

2. Stock up – Obviously, having your ingredients for a recipe is a great idea. Take it a step further and draft a grocery list for everything you plan to prepare that week so you won’t get sidetracked at the store. Buy a variety of vegetables and experiment with new ones. Expand your nutrient profile. Navigate the perimeter of the grocery store, where you will find the healthiest variety of foods.

3. Get out the tools – Inevitably, the kitchen can become a disaster area when prepping food! Don’t be afraid to use all of the kitchen tools: the food processor, cutting boards, knives, pots, pans, blenders…whatever it takes to get the job done. Having useful kitchen tools–and not being afraid to use them–is key to creating and cooking your own food. Build your collection slowly if you’re just beginning to learn how to cook. During the week it may seem too time consuming to use the food processor if you are short on time and patience. But during a meal prep session, when you’ve specifically set aside time for cooking, it becomes easier to produce healthy and delicious meals using the right tools.

4. Chop – Vegetables, herbs, meats, fruits…pre-chop it all! It’s easy to buy vegetables with the intent to indulge on healthy snacks. But often the vegetables wilt because it takes time to slice and dice and prep these snacks. As a result, many of us give in to unhealthy snacks that don’t require any prep. Also, adding chopped herbs to meals during the week is easy when it’s prepped and easily accessible. Ditto for meats and fruits. Aim for easy access and convenience by planning and prepping healthy snacks.

5. Double your recipe – When cooking for only one or two, doubling the recipe can save some serious time. Using the freezer is a great way to store leftovers, but pre-portion the meals ahead of time to prevent heating a solid block of frozen food when you’re looking for a quick dinner. Defrost the meal using the same method you used to cook it. For example, if you baked a spaghetti squash casserole in the oven, using the toaster oven on the bake setting is a great way to defrost it quickly.

6. Invest in some glass containers – After chopping the food, you’ll need someplace to store it. Ziplock bags work for some food items, but in the long run this will cost more, and water-rich vegetables and foods (think cucumbers and zucchini) will turn soggy. Investing in high quality glass containers with lids is an excellent solution. Avoid plastic containers as much as possible due to the harmful toxins that can leach into food, especially when heated. These glass Pyrex containers are great, and have snap lids that won’t leak or fall off in a lunch box. They are also microwave safe and won’t absorb food odors.

7. Roast vegetables – Roasting vegetables on a large sheet pan with some avocado oil and spices is a great way to prepare vegetables ahead of time. Roasting is easy and it brings out a lot of flavor in many foods. Chop up a potato or Brussels sprouts, drizzle on some ghee or avocado oil, sprinkle pink salt, pepper and garlic powder, and roast at 375 degrees for twenty to thirty minutes. You’ll have delicious, crispy veggies that you can save to add to a variety of meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner all week long.

8. Experiment – As with many things in the kitchen, meal prepping can take some experimentation and exploration before finding the pattern that works best for you. Experiment with different foods, ways of cooking, and food quantities as well. Learn what will stay fresh in the fridge and what goes bad right away. Learn how much food you or your family eat in a week and plan accordingly. It will take some trial and error, but in the end, meal prep saves so much time and is well worth the effort.

Hope you find these tips helpful. Please send us your favorite meal prepping tips!

Stephanie Ritari, PA-C

Stephanie Ritari is a board-certified Physician Assistant who offers primary care for adults at the Functional Medicine of Idaho Meridian Wellness Center. She specializes in Internal Medicine and has spent the majority of her career in the field of cardiovascular disorders.

Stephanie has more than 15 years experience as a Physician Assistant in a variety of medical areas, including cardiology and electrophysiology. Holistic practices have long been a part of Stephanie’s lifestyle, with a particular focus on clean living and nutrition. She has embedded functional principles into her conventional medicine practice throughout her career. After watching family members struggle to find answers for their chronic illnesses, Stephanie became more interested in finding ways to take a root cause approach in her own practice. Wanting to provide a proactive, comprehensive, and preventative scope of care for her patients, Stephanie began studying functional medicine. In 2021, she joined Functional Medicine of Idaho, where she is able to provide evidence based, root cause medicine.

Stephanie earned her Bachelor's of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Montana and her masters in Physician Assistant Studies from Rocky Mountain College. She is currently working towards her certification with The Institute for Functional Medicine. 

In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her husband, son, and dog doing outdoor activities including biking, hiking, and skiing. She also loves interior design and traveling, and is hoping to start her own garden in the near future.

Dr. David Musnick, MD, IFMCP

David Musnick is a board-certified medical doctor who offers in-person and telemedicine care from the Functional Medicine of Idaho Eagle clinic (coming soon). Dr. Musnick offers Functional Medicine, Sports Medicine, Functional Immunology, and Primary Care for adults and teenagers. He specializes in sports medicine, internal medicine, frequency specific microcurrent (FSM), scars, homeopathy, prolotherapy, and low-level laser treatments. 

Dr. Musnick is interested in getting to the root of underlying causes and factors that affect healing, including diet, sleep, exercise, stress, GI health, brain region health, toxins, hormones, infections, and electromagnetic fields (EMF). In medical school, Dr. Musnick spent a year studying nutrition. He has always been interested in the complex interrelationships of different systems of the body. Taking on challenges in the past, he created new treatment programs to heal the brain after concussion, treat chronic pain, arthritis, and tough SIBO and IBS cases. Dr. Musnick wants to help his patients achieve the highest level of health, vitality and function. 

After his internal medicine residency in Seattle, Dr. Musnick completed a fellowship in sports medicine where he became interested in helping patients get back to optimal musculoskeletal health and eventually back to their favorite activities. He quickly learned that many areas of the body were interrelated and started learning more about nutrition, supplements, and other facets of functional medicine. Dr. Musnick has more than 24 years of experience in Functional Medicine and achieved a very high level of both experience and expertise with many health conditions. He is also the author of the book, Conditioning for Outdoor Fitness, and helped in writing textbook chapters on arthritis and concussions.

Dr. Musnick received his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of California, San Francisco. He is certified through the Institute for Functional Medicine as an IFMCP. He also studied in the French school of Homeopathy. He is uniquely rare in that he teaches Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) and how to integrate it with functional medicine. 

In his spare time, Dr. Musnick enjoys hiking, nature photography, cooking healthy food, mountain biking, and skiing.

IFM Certified Practitioner

Aaron Dykstra, DNP, FNP-C

Aaron Dykstra is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. He offers pediatric primary care, including well-child checks and acute visits, in the Pediatric Department of the Functional Medicine of Idaho Meridian Wellness Center.

Functional and alternative therapies were a part of Aaron’s life from a young age, and he has implemented these principles into his conventional medicine practice throughout his career. Aaron has more than 8 years of experience in a variety of medical disciplines, including pediatrics, obstetrics, mental health, and nutrition. He has practiced in rural health clinics in California and Oregon. For the last 5 years, Aaron has had a passion for working with children and implementing positive change through the family unit. Aaron joined the Functional Medicine of Idaho Pediatric Team in 2021. His enthusiasm for educating children and parents about living a healthy lifestyle allows him to provide preventative and acute care for infants, children, and adolescents. 

Aaron obtained his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Brigham Young University. He earned both his Master’s of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice through the University of Arizona. He has obtained a Family Herbalist and Family Nutritionist certifications through The School of Natural Healing by Dr. Christopher. He is currently working towards his certification with The Institute for Functional Medicine.

Outside of work, you will find Aaron spending time with his wife and 5 kids, mountain biking, running, or camping in the backyard. Aaron is a big fan of Master Chef and enjoys cooking.

Nadia Kravchuk, DNP, FNP-C

Nadia Kravchuk is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. She offers functional pediatric primary care, including well-child checks and acute visits, in the Pediatric Department of the Functional Medicine of Idaho Meridian Wellness Center.

Nadia and her family immigrated to the United States in 1989 where they first settled in Oregon and then moved to Idaho in 2001. Complementary medicine practices were embedded into her lifestyle at a young age, and she has implemented these principles into her conventional medicine practice throughout her career. She has more than 15 years experience in a variety of medical environments, including emergency room, intensive care unit, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, family practice, and aesthetics.

Nadia joined Functional Medicine of Idaho so that she can combine functional principles with the foundations of conventional medicine to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. As an avid gardener, beekeeper, and sustainable living enthusiast, she understands the importance and role of optimizing nutrition, sleep, physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being. She has a passion for pediatric functional medicine and understands that early recognition and interventions can correct imbalances, prevent chronic illness, and improve overall outcomes for children.

Nadia obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Northwest Nazarene University. She earned both her Master’s of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice through Frontier Nursing University. In 2017, she was the recipient of the HCA Excellence in Nursing Award. She is currently working towards her certification with The Institute for Functional Medicine.

Outside of work, you will find Nadia working on her urban homestead, hiking, foraging, camping, snowboarding, and spending time with her husband and her dog, Wolfy. She is also fluent in both English and Russian.