A Basic Guide To Meal Prepping
It’s Easter Sunday, and I have to confess we are not doing anything. I’m sitting outside of my parent’s suburban home watching the neighbor’s kids find hard boiled eggs throughout their yard. But this weekend has been awesome! We went for a five-mile run with a local running group, followed by free brunch and beermosas. Does it get any better?!
I think that may be my favorite kind of run, a relaxed training run with a huge group of people, then beer, music, food and celebration. Just like a race, without having to pay a gazillion dollars to run my ass off. We followed that up with a power yoga class (I was teaching) and finished the day with a delicious dinner and a bottle of wine. That leaves us today with some much-needed work catch-up time.
I’m preparing for a couple of clients this week and doing our own weekly meal planning. This is a question one of my clients asked me this week, and honestly, a question that I get a lot; how do you eat well when you have a busy schedule? My answer is almost always meal plan and meal prep!
It is really hard to make a meal at 6pm when you don’t have food prepared or you have a kitchen full of dirty kale, frozen meat and uncooked grains. Rarely do we have the time to prepare a healthy, let alone tasty, meal when we get home late and still have work that needs to be done before we go to bed. The trick is to set yourself up for success. Who needs take-out when you have a fridge full of delicious, whole food ingredients, ready to go!
So, to shed a little light on how we set ourselves up for success and delicious dinners every night of the week, I will take you through the foundation of a weekly meal prep. I think telling you the kinds of food I prepare ahead will be more beneficial than exactly when I am cooking. You can pick a couple of foods from each category and make your own weekly meal schedule. These are the categories that I think about when meal prepping:
Before I begin my meal prep, I think about what we will be having for dinner eat night (usually 4-5 meal ideas, and 2-3 days for leftovers). I also make a list of 2-3 lunch options for the week and 2-3 breakfast ideas for the week. I also plan a snack for each day and like to make sure I have healthy snacks on hand and ready to go. I will then take this list of meal ideas and write out the grocery list of ingredients I will need to make this. I try to keep these meals simple, with a lot of the same ingredients so that meal prep is simple. For example, I may have hard-boiled eggs and celery with peanut butter for snacks all week long. We will also repeat proteins and grains, so rice three days of the week and maybe tempeh three days a week as well. Keeping’ it simple.
*note: I usually don’t make full meals, I prep individual ingredients and then make them into meals. I really like fresh, warm food and versatility so this well works well for us.
I always make sure to prepare enough proteins for every meal for the week ahead. I like to include a lot of plant proteins into my meals and make sure that I make proteins for lunches and snacks.
- Marinated tempeh/tofu
- Black beans
- Roasted Chickpeas
- Portioned protein powder for post-workouts
- hard-boiled eggs
- Grilled Wild Salmon/Trout/Halibut
- Bison meatballs
- Lentil dahl
- Frittatas or egg muffins
- Tuna salad
- Portioned jerky/nuts for snacks
- Grilled pastured chicken/turkey/grass-fed red meat
- Hummus/black bean dip
- Veggie burgers/burger patties
- Portion hemp seeds
- Quinoa (can count as either protein or carbohydrate)
We love rice in our house, but there are so many options for satisfying starches. Here are a few of my favorite for taste, satisfaction, digestible fuel and/or nutrient content:
- Baked sweet potatoes
- Roasted vegetables
- Baked red or fingerling potatoes
- Healthy muffins
- Roasted Squash or squash soup
- Roasted carrots/beets
I like to wash and chop all vegetables for the week. For me, having to wash the dirt out of my greens after a long day is enough of an inconvenience that I won’t eat as many vegetables. I'm not going to list all vegetables, just a couple of our favorites to eat raw. Just wash and chop!
- Kale (washed and dried)
- Spinach (washed and dried)
- Mustards (washed and dried)
- Arugula (washed and dried)
- Radish (washed and sliced for salads)
- Dandelion greens (washed and dried)
- Celery (washed and chopped to snack size pieces)
- Carrots (washed and tips cut off)
- Cucumber (sliced and soaked in vinegar and sea salt. mmm!)
- Peppers (sliced for eating raw or sautéing)
- Onions (chopped or diced for sautéing later)
- Broccoli (washed and chopped)
- Cauliflower (washed and chopped)
- Parsley (washed, pat dry and place in a jar of cold water)
- Cilantro (same as parsley)
- Cabbage (sliced thin)
I like to wash berries, grapes, etc. and make sure that if I want any bananas frozen for smoothies that I put them in the freezer. Our fruit choices vary greatly based on the season, we buy boxes of fruit from the farmers market or pick from our trees and I will prepare/preserve those. This time of year is much harder as we are relying on the grocery store.
- Bananas (frozen for smoothies)
- Grapes (washed)
- Berries of all kinds (washed)
- Apples (washed, esp. if conventional)
- Pineapple/mango/watermelon (chopped for snacks)
- Plums/peaches/apricots/cherries (washed and dried)
- Smoothie fruits: washed and frozen