Meal Prep mania has taken over. People are getting a little crazy with some of these plastic containers too, I think. I’m not going to portion out my every morsel of food on a Sunday. I can tell you what would happen. I’d have 50 containers of rotting food on a Friday. That’s just me. I’m a firm believer in being prepared, as in having foods prepped and ready to go, especially cooked proteins. But if I want to change up the plan, I want to be able to change up the plan. I’m rebellious like that. I don’t want a little plastic container running my life.
So I have many many healthy options at my disposal. This way I feel as though I still have choices. This is what works for me. It makes me feel like I’m not an inmate at fat camp, but rather a grown adult who’s making smart choices because she wants to. Usually.
Some weeks I prep more than others. Some weeks my kitchen looks like this. Other weeks, it doesn’t, and I take more help from the store. It’s really OK either way.
I am going to share with you some meal planning recipes and strategies that work for me. Yes, there are plastic containers involved. But only a few.
I always need breakfast options because I never know what I’m going to be in the mood for at breakfast. There are days I wake up not feeling like eating anything, but I know that I’ll regret it later if I don’t, so I have to eat whatever it is I can talk myself into.
But, I have been trying to eat a granola with less carbs. I’ve been making a raw granola. I take equal parts sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, almond slivers, walnuts and pumpkin seeds and mix them together. That’s it, nothing else. Just nuts and seeds mixed into granola with or without berries.
Add a tablespoon of raw cacao to the vanilla yogurt for a super healthy chocolate twist. I made a big batch of this, I store it in a plastic container, and I eat about 1/4 cup serving at a time. It’s really yummy and really healthy. There’s a lot of healthy fat and protein in it.
Another breakfast option would be my Quinoa egg muffins served with a side of turkey sausage or veggie sausage. The muffins are only 65 calories each, so you can eat 3 or more. That’s a big breakfast!
Last would be a shake or a smoothie. I really love whey protein. I love the taste and the texture and the full feeling that I get from the protein. Just mix it in a blender with frozen berries, some unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and baby spinach or kale.
I keep the berries frozen so they don’t go bad. You can buy bags of frozen berries to save time, or in the winter when berries are out of season, it may even be cheaper. Smoothies are really filling for breakfast, or you can make them smaller for in between meals.
I like to keep a big container of baby spinach on hand, along with packs of flavored tuna, avocados, cherry tomatoes, and fresh lemons. I sometimes add other veggies, but at the bare minimum, this makes an amazing lunch salad.
On Sundays, I’ll make soup in the slow cooker so I’ll have leftover soup for lunches throughout the week.
I try to make a few dinners throughout the week that make plenty of leftovers. Cook once eat twice. Or cook once eat three, four, or five times. I love the oven for this. It doesn’t get any easier than letting the oven do the work for me! All I need is some baking sheets and some extra virgin olive oil, some salt and pepper, a few seasonings, and a lemon, and I have dinner, plus lunch leftovers for multiple days.
Here are two options. The first is roast chicken with sweet potatoes and vegetables.
The oven will literally do all the work here. Just a bit of chopping required on your part. I started the sweet potatoes before the chicken and vegetables because they need a little longer to cook. I cooked everything on 375. The sweet potatoes probably needed about 45 minutes to an hour depending on how fat they are. I buy thin ones on purpose.
Poke some holes in them with a fork and get them in a preheated oven. Once they are tender, scrape out the flesh and mash it with a fork. I only add salt and pepper to mine, although cinnamon is yummy sometimes as well. You do not need butter, just FYI. You’ll totally get used to them without it.
For the vegetables, I chose zucchini, summer squash, one onion, and a head of cauliflower. I simply chopped them, drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil, and seasoned them up with a little sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and garlic seasoning.
They will need to go in the oven at the same time as the chicken and cook for about 35-40 minutes.
I cooked five chicken breasts so we would have plenty leftover. I seasoned these with salt, pepper, some rosemary and some garlic seasoning, then sprinkled some lemon juice on top. Very simple, fresh flavors.
The second option is salmon with asparagus, carrots, and brown rice. Here it’s served with a salad with feta cheese.
This is even easier. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the vegetables and season with some sea salt and fresh pepper. I like a little grill seasoning on my asparagus. Then season the salmon with some sea salt, pepper, some fresh or dried dill, and some lemon juice. Easy! Roast the salmon and veggies all at 400. The carrots for 20-25 minutes and the asparagus and salmon for 15 or so. Don’t overcook your salmon. Cook it until it just flakes. Any longer and it will be dried out and gross. Make the rice on the stove top. Five ingredients for dinner, super simple!
My kids really like this one, even my two year old and seven year old.
The chicken undoubtedly made a lot more for leftovers than the salmon here in my pictures, but you are only limited by how much you want to purchase. The point is, if you are cooking, why not cook more? It doesn’t take that much longer. Cook more food less frequently and then you’ll always have healthy options that are prepared and easily accessed when you get hungry.
We had enough extra chicken and vegetables for 4 lunches. One was just chicken served on top of a salad.
If you really don’t like to cook and prepare foods, buy rotisserie chickens at the deli. Get pre-made veggie and fruit trays, and hit the salad bar. Yes, you’ll pay more for the convenience, but that’s what happens when you don’t want to do it yourself. You have to pay someone else to do it for you.
Try things like raw veggies like sugar snap peas or chopped bell peppers dipped in hummus, fruit, nuts, string cheese, and hard boiled eggs.
Nuts, dark chocolate, halo top ice cream.
Nutritionally, my approach is this.
I try to eat plenty of fruits and non-starchy vegetables, and to eat plenty of lean protein like chicken, lean beef, fish and seafood. Also, I try to eat plenty of healthy fat like nuts, salmon, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil, and I try to get most of my carbs from the fruits and vegetables. I also get my carbs from things like beans, legumes, and sweet potatoes a lot of the time, although there are days where I will eat a small serving of brown rice or a serving of oatmeal, or even a slice of whole wheat bread.
I also try to eat clean foods and whole foods. If you notice, most of these foods are in their natural forms. Not a whole lot of processed foods, and while, yes there is more preparation involved with this type of eating, it is still very easy to choose simple cooking methods and to stick to quick recipes.
I usually eat three meals a day, plus one snack between lunch and dinner, and then after dinner I’ll eat a healthy snack of veggies and hummus or I’ll have a small treat a few days a week.
I also have a cheat meal every week. It gives me something to look forward to and makes me feel rewarded.
We shouldn’t expect ourselves to eat perfectly all of the time, but we should make every effort to make it easy for ourselves to do so and to set ourselves up for success.
I hope this is helpful. Please let me know what you think!
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