Sunday Meal Prep
On Sundays, I meal prep. I’m a self-proclaimed expert meal-prepper and a huge advocate of weekend food prep. To be honest, it took very little time for me to get comfortable tackling 5 days worth of breakfast, lunch and on a REALLY productive Sunday, dinner! When ever I post about my meal prepping I get a lot of the same responses i.e. "doesn't that take you forever to do?" or "how do you make the time and have the energy to do that every week?". Let me hit you with some truth - - the time is insignificant when you factor in all of the hours and guess work it saves you during your work week! And as far as energy goes, I feel the most productive and energized when I am in my kitchen for 3 hours and can walk away with 30 meals prepared! If you set yourself up for success on the weekend, it plays a major part in self-control and sticking to a healthy diet throughout the work week. It also saves money, decreases your chances of "cheating" and helps you meet your fitness goals.
Initially, based on the size of your family it will take some calculation of amounts of food *and Tupperware* to purchase but after a few weeks of trial and error this became second nature for me. You will figure out what works best for your family in no time! What better feeling is there than taking control of your health and ensuring you're making the best nutritional choices? Meal prep does. not. mean. boring... It doesn’t mean plain chicken, steamed broccoli and brown rice… it does NOT have to be basic! In this blog I aim to share time friendly, creative recipes that keep your meal prep interesting.
I do want to note that the majority of my meals involve meat and focus on lean protein, low carb and lots of veggies as my fitness goals are a big factor. That being said, I will do my best to provide a variety for those of you who may follow a specific diet i.e. vegan, vegetarian, gluten or dairy free. I also try to use the most natural and organic ingredients that I can afford, which I will provide details of in my recipes. I would love to hear your feedback about what you would like to see more recipe coverage on in this blog!
Okay, down to the nitty gritty... Are you a beginner to meal prepping? Well, so was I at one point- do not feel overwhelmed- everybody has to start somewhere *wincing at how cliche I sound*. This specific post will focus on beginners and how to zone in and have a successful meal prep session. I will provide you with two of my go-to, super simple recipes for the following: snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner. In future posts I will provide more in depth recipes for some of my favorite dishes I prep for my weekly meals but for now, lets start simple.
I want you to try something- over a few workdays, note whenever you find yourself eating something and wishing that it was something else—for example, that bag of chips you grabbed out the vending machine? What if that was a cheese stick & a hard-boiled egg? You’re pressed for time in the morning and grab a protein or snack bar- but crave warm eggs or a breakfast sandwich. You’re tired from work and rather than having something ready to heat up at home you instead swing through a drive-thru. Been there, done that, easy fix = MEAL PREP!
If this is one of your big problem areas where you find yourself needing something to nibble on between meals and making poor choices there are so many ways to have food with real sustenance on hand!
· Veggie Sticks- peel and chop your own or buy pre-cut <<no judgment zone>> served with a side of dressing, nut butter or hummus
· Boil a dozen eggs or make some “easy egg-muffins” with whole eggs or egg whites for a lower cholesterol/calorie option
· Make your own energy balls or trail mix
· Chop up a sweet potato and bake for homemade sweet or savory fries
· Fruit cups – chop up your favorite fruits and drizzle with yogurt or honey
Now that you've got a plan, get to work! Place your eggs in boiling water and cover pot to sit for 10-12 minutes (or prepare egg muffins) ---> meanwhile peel/chop your sweet potatoes and place in oven to bake---> while those bake, combine ingredients for and roll out the energy balls or trail mix, portioning out into ziplocs---> then chop up veggies or fruit and portion out into containers with your hummus or yogurt and, BOOM, snacks for the week DONE!
This is the easiest in terms of meal prep for me. I don’t easily get tired of eating the same stuff every week day for months at a time. I love eggs and I love oats. That pretty much sums up my breakfast meal prep! The following two recipes have endless possibilities so feel free to get creative with the ingredients, seasonings & toppings!
Breakfast Egg Muffins:
· 1 dozen eggs or 1 large carton of liquid egg whites (I eat 3 muffins a day, 4x/week- adjust accordingly based on your family size or how many you think you will need)
· Cheese of your choice OR my favorite dairy-free option is to add nutritional yeast (I will havean entire post about this in the near future)
· Shredded carrots, kale, spinach, diced cherry tomatoes
· Precooked breakfast meat of choice (sausage or bacon crumbles work well)
· Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder
1. Thoroughly coat muffin tins with nonstick spray of choice
2. Fill cups ¾ of the way, add “toppings” of choice and press into eggs
3. Bake at 350 degrees until firm in the middle (15-20 minutes)
· ½ Cup old fashioned oats OR Gluten Free Oats (feel free to use quick cooking oats but expect less texture; steel cut oats are another option)
· 1 Tbs Chia Seeds or Ground Flax Seeds
· 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
· ¼ Cup yogurt of choice (Dairy-free optional)
· ¼ tsp Cinnamon
· ½ Cup Milk (Cows, Almond, Coconut)
· Optional to add sweetener to mixture or add with toppings: Honey, Stevia, Coconut Sugar, Pure maple syrup etc…
· Toppings of choice to be added once eaten: fresh or frozen berries, banana slices, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, nut butter, honey, pure maple syrup or sprinkle with brown or coconut sugar
1. Combine all ingredients and stir well in small Tupperware containers
2. Seal with airtight lids and refrigerate anywhere from 2 hours to 5 days
3. Whenever ready to eat, stir once opened, add toppings & ENJOY!
Baked Chicken & Old Bay Green Beans
· 1 lb Free Range Chicken Breast
· 1 Lemon
· 2 Cloves minced fresh garlic (separated 1:1, half for chicken, half for beans)
· Salt & pepper
· 1 Bag green beans with ends trimmed
· 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
· 2 Tbs EVOO or Avocado Oil (separated 1:1)
1. Place Chicken in glass baking dish and coat with 1Tbs oil, 1 clove garlic, salt, pepper and juice of 1 lemon, cover with tin foil and bake on 375 until cooked through ~ 30 minutes
2. While chicken is baking, heat oil over medium heat in a cast iron (or regular) skillet, add garlic until fragrant (careful not to burn)
3. Add in green beans, old bay, salt and pepper and coat well
4. Stir frequently until beans are tender and browned in some areas
Mini Meatloaf Muffins
· 2 lbs 97/3 or 99/1 Lean Natural Ground Turkey Breast
· 1 Tbs Dale’s seasoning or Worcestershire sauce
· ½ cup Ketchup (no sugar added)
· 1 tsp of the following: Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder
· 1 Egg
· Chopped Spinach
· Shredded Mozzarella
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl
3. Thoroughly coat muffin tray with nonstick spray oil
4. Press mixture ¾ of the way into the muffin tins, add a little additional ketchup on top of mixture and bake until cooked through ~25 minutes
Quinoa or Cauliflower Rice
For something to put the chicken or Meatloaf Muffins over, I will usually prepare a brown rice/quinoa blend for my husband on stove top- using ½ Cup of quinoa and ½ cup of Brown rice, using organic chicken stock according to package instructions
· For a lower carb option for myself:
1. Heat 1 Tbs avocado or EVOO in sauté pan over medium heat with 1 clove minced garlic until fragrant
2. Add in 1 bag of riced cauliflower (Publix and Trader Joes carry this in their produce sections)
3. Add salt, pepper & 1 tsp fresh or dried basil and cook until tender/sautéed to your desired softness
I probably include dinner into my Sunday meal prep 50% of the time. If it is a week where I know my husband and I have plans on one or two nights I will skip the dinner prep and just cook on those nights. If I do plan on including dinner in my meal prep I utilize the crockpot often so that I can throw everything in there and work on the rest of my breakfast, lunch and snack prep…
Crock Pot Chili
· 2 lbs 97/3 or 99/1 Lean natural ground turkey or grass-fed beef (or if it is on sale we will do Bison which we love)
· 2 Cans organic diced tomatoes, with juice (fire roasted make it extra tasty)
· 1 Can organic low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
· 1 Can dark red organic low sodium kidney beans, rinsed and drained
· 1 bag frozen corn or 1 can of organic corn, drained
· 1 Tbs EVOO or Avocado Oil
· 1 Packet of McCormick’s organic chili seasoning (or mix of choice)
1. Brown meat in skillet with 1 Tbs EVOO or avocado oil
2. Add all ingredients to crock pot, stir to mix thoroughly & cook on high heat for 4 hours or low for 6 hours
Suggestions: I LOVE to top this chili with fresh chopped cilantro and either shredded sharp cheddar or Nutritional Yeast (dairy free cheese substitute)
Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken
· 2 lbs Natural Chicken breast (frozen, thawed or fresh)
· 1 Packet of McCormick’s slow cooker “Sweet & Smoky Pulled Chicken” seasoning, or 1-2 cups of your favorite BBQ Sauce to coat the chicken
1. Combine all ingredients in crock pot and cook on high 4 hours or low 6-8 hours
That’s it, guys! I hope that by sharing some of my go-to quick and easy recipes that you can see how simple it can be to prep most of your meals for the week! You will find your groove after a week or so of doing this and figure out how to tweak things to fit your family’s needs. Just don’t overthink it! I guarantee when you finish, knowing that you don’t have to think about what you’re going to eat for the next 5 days you will feel SO relieved & accomplished!
I look forward to continuing to provide y’all with more recipes to give variety to your meal prep! Feel free send me any suggestions of specific foods you would like to see more of, and any recipes you would like me to cover on the blog! I really hope that this was a helpful post for any of you that have an interest in meal prep. Thank you so much for reading and stay tuned for more...