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Prep is the first step to good care

This first step into summer is always my favorite time of year. Seeing kids playing outside, food trucks set up around town, people playing music, the sound of the ice cream truck down the street and the sweet, savory smell of barbecue in the air. 

Summertime is the perfect time to get outside. With summer coming along, people have more daylight hours  to get things done. 

The sun comes up bright and early; the morning is the best time to get a head start! If you want dinners and snacks to be easy, light and healthy for the entire summer, you must prep.

It is so easy to just pick something up or order out when you have had a long day and are too tired to cook an entire meal. These simple prep tips will keep healthy snacking easy and cut your cooking time in half, while helping fresh produce last twice as long.

Plan  your dinners for the week. Taking some time to find inspiration for meals the following week is a great way to know how much time you will need for each day. This is a good way to gauge ingredients you need in the house that week to cook when you’re buying fresh produce. Grocery shopping with a list of specific ingredients for meals is a good way to stop aimlessly shopping around for foods that “look good” and end up letting go bad.

Wash, cut and package your fresh produce. This goes for any fruits or vegetables you buy. After I finish grocery shopping, I put away any dry or cold products and leave out the fresh produce. A great way to help healthy snacking is leaving fruits and vegetables easily accessible. I wash my fruit with cold water and place them in bowls with dry paper towels at the bottom to leave in the fridge for when I’m feeling peckish or am trying to quickly pack a lunch.

For my vegetables, I wash with cold water, then slice each to put in Ziplock bags with dry paper towels, making sure to seal tightly. This is also very effective when creating more room in your fridge. To help me eat more vegetables, I will try to buy things like baby carrots and celery with my favorite dip (ranch, spinach, artichoke, cheese). After washing the carrots in cold water, I will place them in a Tupperware container to have easy access and no excuse. When I buy celery, I automatically cut it up after washing it or else the celery will sit at the bottom of my fridge and stay there for months.

Meal prep the lazy way 

I will buy a pack of frozen chicken breast, a carton of eggs and a pack of romaine lettuce to prepare lunches for the week in under 30 minutes. Using the oven or pan-frying, I cook about half the bag of chicken breasts and season to chop up and keep in a Ziplock bag for salads, wraps and  pasta throughout the week. While doing that, I also boil water to make hard-boiled eggs to keep in a Tupperware container  for a great snack high in protein and very delicious, with salt and pepper or in a salad. Lastly, I wash and cut all my lettuce for salads or sandwiches throughout the week.

All of these tips help you stay on a nutritious and filling meal plan while saving you time and hassle in your busy schedule. The summer is the perfect time to try something new and eat more fresh foods. Try washing and cutting up some strawberries to put in a bowl, and I guarantee no strawberries will go bad before everyone finds their way to them.

Christelle Temple is an WVU honors sophomore. She contributes a weekly column on health, fitness and motivation. Follow her on Instagram @ellesbells2. Contact her at