Quick and Simple Meal Prep Tips

Weekly meal prepping has been that thing that I never knew I needed, and then once I started doing it, my whole life changed. It’s kind of like when you go through your whole life without ever getting a mani/pedi, thinking it’s a waste of money, and then you go once and think to yourself how in the hell you waited that long to jump on the bandwagon.

I always looked at meal planning and prepping as the biggest drag in the world. I tried it once. I hated it. I couldn’t get the hang of it. It sucked and I never looked back.

Until I did look back! This week will be Week 4 of my new-and-improved “life” in the ways of exercising and eating, and these small changes I’ve made have really changed my entire perspective on how I want to live my life, spend my time, and plan for the future. So exciting! While I was meal planning yesterday, I was thinking of ways to make my prepping easier and quicker. If you don’t plan your meal prep the right way, it can be frustrating and take forever, which will led to regret and self-loathing… like it did to me when I did it last. I wanted to share what I had going on for meals this week, as well as some quick and simple meal prep tips to make your meal prepping easier!

The first two weeks of meal planning and prepping, I prepped mainly for dinners by making freezer meals with 4-5 portions, and then bringing the leftovers for lunch in the following days. While this was awesome and time-saving, the recipes I was making weren’t as healthy as they could’ve been and I felt like we were wasting a little of the food since we didn’t want the same thing for days and days in a row. I switched to meal prepping lunches instead with just pre-cooking the protein for dinners on Sunday, and this has worked out great so far!

This week’s meals are:

Monday

img_5628Breakfast: Green mango smoothie (baby spinach, unsweetened almond milk, banana, frozen mango)

AM Snack: Baked eggs, baby spinach, sweet potato

Lunch: Chicken and pesto with squash noodles and asparagus, and cucumbers

PM Snack: Apple and peanut butter

Dinner: Homemade pizza with chicken, green pepper and onion on multigrain crust

Tuesday

Breakfast: Green blueberry smoothie (baby spinach, unsweetened almond milk, banana, frozen blueberries)

AM Snack: Chocolate chia pudding (chia seeds, chocolate protein powder, unsweetened almond milk, greek yogurt)

Lunch: Turkey burrito bowl (recipe to come on Tuesday!)

PM Snack: Apple and peanut butter

Dinner: Chicken salad with olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing

Wednesday

Breakfast: Green mango smoothie

AM Snack: Baked eggs, baby spinach, sweet potato

Lunch: Tuna wrap with quinoa and bean salad

PM Snack: Apple and peanut butter

Dinner: TBD

Thursdayimg_5627

Breakfast: Green blueberry smoothie

AM Snack: Vanilla chia pudding (chia seeds, vanilla extract, unsweetened almond milk, greek yogurt)

Lunch: Turkey burrito bowl

PM Snack: Apple and peanut butter

Dinner: TBD

Friday

Breakfast: Green mango smoothie

AM Snack: Chocolate chia pudding

Lunch: Leftovers from last night’s dinner (TBD)

PM Snack: Baked eggs, baby spinach, sweet potato

Dinner: TBD

I gather ideas for breakfasts, snacks, and lunches throughout the week and then plan out each meal on Saturday. On Sunday we do our grocery shopping and I make all lunches and snacks ahead of time. I already know what the smoothies consist of and make those the morning of, right before work. For dinner, I get a rough idea of what we’ll have some nights (typically chicken and some type of veggie with a little starch), however only really plan what we’ll have about two days out (hence the TBD on most dinners in the meal plan). To cut back on time spent in the kitchen each weeknight, I’ll still cook our chicken on Sunday and then just refrigerate or freeze it to thaw later in the week.

  • When I begin meal prep, I take out all the containers I’ll need for each meal. I don’t have uniform containers as I’d like, so I mix and match whatever I have. I have five three-compartment lunch containers, and several glass bowls of varying sizes
  • I first chop everything I need to chop – sweet potatoes, green peppers, onions
  • I usually start our Nu-Wave with the sweet potatoes while I bake our eggs in the oven so that two things are cooking at the same time – I try to do this throughout the entire meal prep, switching to roasting the asparagus in the Nu-Wave the same time that that I bake the chicken in the oven, to cut down on time
  • Ingredients that are easy to whip up – like the chia pudding, rice for the burrito bowls, and sautéing the squash noodles – I try to do while other ingredients are baking so my hands are always busy
  • I usually cook all of my meat at the same time at the very end (I only do this because my cats are always on the prowl for whatever I’m making, meat most importantly, and then I don’t have to shoo them away as often)
  • I have all of our containers laid out and build them as I go
  • Ingredients like sour cream (for the burrito bowl), side of condiments for the lunches, or fruit for the chia pudding, I don’t put in the container until the morning of, for the sake of freshness

I try to beat my time spent meal prepping every week, and so far I haven’t beat about 2 1/2 hours. Sometimes I mess up my routine and cook things out of order which takes a little longer, but I’d much rather spend that time on Sunday cooking than doing it after work every single day. That time can be much better spent!

There are definitely ways to eat healthy and not make poor food choices, and I feel like I’ve been on the right track so far this month. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, and if that’s true then this week will drive this habit into the ground!

Who has healthy, easy lunch recipes and ideas that I can make in future weeks? Does meal planning and prepping work for you?

xo Tausha

 

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