5-Step Food Prep Tips from Lily Kunin at Clean Food Dirty City

Parsley Health
March 29, 2016

We have really messy lives, which means we likely aren’t going to make it into the kitchen every night to put something healthy on the table.

As a cook, even as much as I love cooking, I actually don’t need to be in the kitchen every night. When I do get in the kitchen, I make it count in all the right ways.

So bring on the late nights at the office, last-minute work out classes, subway delays, and happy hours with coworkers—nothing will be able to throw you off your healthy-eating game with my 5-step strategy for food prep that keeps you fit, slim, and energized.

5 ways to prep for your busy week:

  • Bank on breakfast . Start out by mastering breakfast. It sets you up for success the rest of the day by making sure your blood sugar is stable and you don’t get hangry by 10 am (and grab that leftover muffin). I do a super easy smoothie with homemade almond milk, organic frozen blueberries, a few walnuts, and my favorite Parsley protein powder .  It takes me two minutes to make (including washing the blender!) and keeps me full until lunch. If you have negative time in the morning, try prepping a chia pudding or overnight oats on Sunday and pre-portioning them out to grab and go all week long.
  • Choose 1 (or 2) recipes per week. I don’t plan out every meal because part of city life is unexpected dinners and schedule changes, but having a couple things on hand can make a week of meals no problem. When you’re picking out recipes, opt for ones that keep well in the fridge for a couple of days, like soups, stews, grain dishes, or even sturdy kale salads (you can always leave the dressing on the side). Change it up so you aren’t eating the same thing every day—serve the grain salad with roasted vegetables one day and poached salmon the next, or soup with avocado toast one day and crackers and hummus the next. You can also freeze half of the recipe, and in just a few weeks, you'll have a few easy meals ready to pull out at a moment’s notice.
  • Take some shortcuts. I’m all for making your life easier in any way possible. In fact, it’s my New Year’s resolution this year. But this doesn’t mean sacrificing quality or being lazy. For me, it means not always lugging home bulk items from the store, but instead placing orders on Thrive Market, which helps ensure my pantry is stocked for last-minute meals. You don’t have to break your back grocery shopping. Stock up on frozen fruit and canned beans for smoothies or meals, and keep lots of crackers and nuts on hand for last-minute snacks.
  • Calendar it. This seems a little bit rigid, but it can be very helpful to plan time to cook—even just for one hour per week. This is something Dr. Berzin recommends for exercise, too, and it’s worked wonders for many Parsley members (and me, too)!
  • Eat tasty food. Feeding yourself is one of the most primal things you can do and an amazing way to show yourself and others love. Food MUST taste great—that is what will keep you satisfied, eating healthy, and having fun in the kitchen. Cook healthy dishes you know you love. Add lots of fresh herbs and citrus to add flavor. Don’t be afraid to try new dishes—invite friends over to cook with you and have fun. If you aren’t enjoying the ride, take a step back and ask yourself why. Do you hate doing dishes? Look for more one-pot meals.

So what recipes do I make every week?

I try to head to the store on Sundays to pick up ingredients for the couple recipes I’ve picked out for the week. This week, I’m having smoothies for breakfast every morning, which is the perfect way for me to reset after two weeks on the road. I'm making my Indian-style daal bowls and a big kale salad along with a whole bunch of roasted cruciferous vegetables.

Now I have the 5 following meals ready to go:

  1. Easy Indian lentil bowls with roasted sweet potatoes and cilantro-mint chutney
  2. Kale salad with avocado and hemp hearts
  3. Roasted vegetables over spinach with pepitas and lemon-olive oil dressing
  4. Roasted vegetables with brown rice, chickpeas, and cilantro-mint chutney
  5. Roasted sweet potatoes with kale salad and poached salmon

Even though it starts out as preparing two meals, meals can easily be extended and diversified with some simple add-ons. Feel free to make it your own—add avocado to whatever (duh) and lean protein if desired. I also know I have a couple of dinners out with friends and will grab lunch on-the-go during between meetings some days, so I’ve factored that in.

Remember: this isn’t an all-or-nothing game. Just because you ended up ordering pizza late night on Saturday doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Forgive yourself. Do the best YOU can, even if it’s just making one meal a week (and two the next, then three, and so on!), and you’ll be amazed by how quickly all the little things add up.

Lily Kunin  of Clean Food Dirty City is a nutritional health cook and plant-based cook in New York City. When she is not in the kitchen, she’s with clients creating personalized health roadmaps that suit different lifestyle and dietary needs. Lily’s services include everything from private health coaching and cooking classes to customized meal planning and grocery shopping tutorials.

Ready to take control of your health? Schedule a call  to learn more about Parsley’s root-cause approach, using insurance  with Parsley, and how we can personalize your health journey.

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