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Cooking with Karina: Prep for Success

Karina Arnold
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Roasted Rosemary Vegetables

Roasted Rosemary Vegetables complement any entree and are easy to prep in advance. (Photo: Karina Arnold) 

Karina Arnold is a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma who’s passionate about healthy cooking. She provides creative, healthy recipes and tips on clean eating.

I am 100 percent pro “prep,” and you should be too. Planning your outfit for the next day, writing your workout before you hit the gym or organizing your schedule are examples of daily habits that can alleviate stress.

Although I cannot lay your clothes out on your bed, I can help you prep for success, food-wise. Food prepping assists in maintaining nutritional goals and save time. Check yourself before you wreck yourself with these meal planning tips.

First, I look at my weekly schedule. When will I be home? Will I have access to a microwave or refrigerator?

Second, I look at Pinterest, Spoon University, cookbooks and other food feeds to inspire recipes or meals I want to make that will fit my schedule and current ingredient selection. I try to incorporate the three major food groups (proteins, carbs and fats) into all my meals. Occasionally, if I am short on some ingredients, I make a stop to the grocery store.

Tofu Curry Scramble

Tofu Curry Scramble with a side of steamed sweet potato and goat cheese. (Photo: Karina Arnold)

Third, it’s time to cook. This does not have to be time-consuming and will save time in the future, while keeping health goals in mind. I usually roast a large batch of vegetables until fork tender. These can include carrots, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Wash, cut and coat with olive oil and your favorite seasonings. After fork tender, let cool completely and store in air-tight container in the refrigerator. Reheat on a pan with a little oil or microwave.

Try these Roasted Rosemary Vegetables with your Baked Chicken and Veggies Plate. Baking sweet potatoes makes an easy side, like with this recent favorite dish of Tofu Curry Scramble. Mixing curry and vegetables makes this dish flavorful and filling.  

Another versatile and simple item to food prep is a batch of hardboiled eggs. Use these in salads, sandwiches or as a quick snack. Additionally, I cook a large batch of brown rice, quinoa or couscous to use in salads, these Frittata Muffins, or mixed with vegetables.

Preparation is key to have a good week. It is impossible to be completely prepared because some days throw curveballs. However, prepping what you can anticipate is a winning strategy that will benefit you and your peace of mind. What are weekly rituals you do to get you ready for the week? Comment below! 

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