Fast food: Slow down to speed up (a meal prep strategy that works)

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Does this look like “fast food” to you? Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up. This meal prep strategy “slow down to speed up” can work wonders for busy weeknights.

With so many activities being cancelled, most people’s lives have a different level of busy-ness than what they are used to. We may have more time at home, but our “surge capacity” or energy is poor. Regardless, at the end of the work day, most people appreciate having access to “fast” food.


What do you consider to be fast food? What is your end-of-day approach to mealtimes? (especially when you don’t feel like cooking). If your current solution includes take-out food or drive throughs, and this is not what you want, then I have another meal prep strategy for you to consider.


Meal prep strategy: Slow down to speed up

Slow down to speed up. This was a brilliant reframe on perspective from one of my clients. Investing 20 minutes on the weekend to meal prep some food for the week ahead can be a lifeline for people struggling with their meals on busy weeknights.

Meal prep is the idea of doing some food preparation or cooking at one time, so that that food can be eaten in the future.  It is the idea of investing in time today so that you save time later. This meal organizing strategy can help simplify your food and meals in the week ahead. Slow down to speed up.


Meal prep can be flexible

Meal prep can be as simple or as thorough as you like. For example, you might:

  • Make a big batch of chili on a Sunday, so that you can enjoy chili for lunch or dinner in the days ahead. You might also have enough that you can freeze some for the future.
  • Create a grainy salad on the weekend, to allow for grab-and-go lunches for your busy week ahead.
  • Cook up a batch of hard-boiled eggs for a protein-rich addition to breakfast, lunches or snacks.
  • Prepare a batch of freezer breakfast sandwiches for breakfasts on-the-go.
  • Place oats in a few containers so that you can make overnight oats throughout the week.
  • Place chopped up veggies in clear bags or containers for easy grab and go lunches.
  • Make a batch of energy balls for your mid-afternoon snack.


This meal prep strategy can also include preparing a big batch of quinoa or rice so that you have this part of your meal ready for the week ahead. Scoop and serve. Meal prepping might even include something like draining and rinsing chickpeas from a can so you have ready access to plant-based protein toppers for a power bowl or a nutrient-rich salad. It can even start with doing a grocery shop for some core meal and snack “staples” for the week ahead. It can be as simple or as thorough as you like.


Is meal prep right for me?

Slow-down-to-speed-up is a meal prep strategy might be for you if you consistently find yourself struggling with getting good-tasting and goal-aligned food choices into you. You may be struggling with poor energy at the end of the day, you may be tied up in meetings and literally cannot stop to prepare something for a meal and/or you may be exhausted with the literal and emotional demands of your day.

Slowing down on the weekend to speed up during the week allows you to get ahead each week, helping you bridge the knowledge-to-action gap. You already know you would benefit from eating more vegetables. With this strategy, you influence your diet and lifestyle at one time. The pay off? Your meals might match the vision you hold for your desired lifestyle. You feel empowered that you have eaten in a way that energizes you and supports your body.

There are many ways to achieve your goal(s). Meal prepping is not a panacea. But it can be a helpful strategy to add into your toolbox.

Will you slow down so that you can speed up?

Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall MSc, RD Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian Calgary, AB.

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