The Insider’s Guide to Healthy Hawaii: Meal Prep Tips, Plus 2 Easy Recipes

Medically reviewed in February 2022

Even if you enjoy cooking, life can get busy. I used to come home from work hungry and tired, only to open my refrigerator and find rotting vegetables, week-old leftovers and bottled condiments. At lunch, I’d spend extra time deciding where to eat. I knew there was a better way. So, I started planning my meals.

You may be hesitant to meal prep because of the time commitment. I understand. At first, I thought that I’d rather be at the beach or hiking instead of spending an entire afternoon shopping, cooking and washing dishes. But after a few weeks of meal prepping, I discovered it saved me time and money throughout the work week, and helped me eat healthier.

When I cook my own meals, I have more control over the amount of fat, salt and sugar I eat. And I save money shopping for my food instead of eating out.

Here are some of my tips to get started with meal prep:

Make a plan. Write down your meals for the week—breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I make sure my meals have a balance of low-fat protein, whole grain carbohydrates, vegetables and fruits.

Go shopping. Make a list of the ingredients you’ll need. Since I’m cooking for the entire week, I end up saving money when I buy in bulk. I freeze any extra meats, fish or poultry for another week.

Start cooking. Reserve a couple hours for prepping, cutting, cooking and parceling out your meals. You’ll need containers and lids for each day’s meals.

Need some inspiration? Check out two easy recipes below for a simple mixed fruits parfait and hearty roasted salmon with Brussels sprouts.

Mixed Fruit Parfait

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Green seedless grapes

Wash and drain fruit. Hull and cut strawberries in half for smaller strawberries or in fourths for bigger strawberries. Mix fruit in a bowl and divide evenly in 5 containers. When you’re ready to eat, top with yogurt, granola and a drizzle of honey.

Roasted Salmon With Brussels Sprouts
Adapted from Sheet-Pan Salmon in the Winter 2018 issue of Island Scene

  • 1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 lbs. salmon fillet, divided into 5 portions
  • Salt-free seasoning
  • Lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 lemon, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Drizzle Brussels sprouts with oil. Add garlic, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Spread evenly onto a baking sheet lined with foil. Set aside.

On another baking sheet lined with foil, arrange salmon. Sprinkle with seasonings and top with lemon slices.

Bake about 25 minutes or until salmon is done and Brussels sprouts are caramelized.

This content originally appeared on Well-Being Hawaii.

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