How You Should Actually Meal Prep
Sure, leftovers are great. Who doesn’t want a healthy meal ready when you come home from work? And we’ve been taught by the muscle-y meatheads and nutritionists alike that food prep is key on the road to all things healthy.
The enthusiasm of getting all meals ready for the week ahead slowly wanes when you are bored to tears eating the same thing every day. What starts as delicious, convenient leftovers turns into a pile of resentment. I bet you reach for the chips in your pantry instead.
The bottom line: we usually food prep all wrong. Quadrupling recipes isn’t the way to go. But having a stocked pantry and food prepping key ingredients for the week will allow you to be healthy while still getting creative with your meals.
I’ll take you through how I did it last week.
1. Pick and prep your veggies. Always prep the veggies. I repeat, always prep the veggies. It’s the first thing you’ll forget in a rushed or tired meal, so make sure they’re ready to go and accessible.
I did some veggies two ways:
- roasted kobocha squash (Also known as japanese pumpkin. It tastes like a butternut squash and sweet potato had a magical food baby.)
- veggie saute of onion, crimini mushrooms and broccoli
Roasted Kabocha Squash
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cube a kabocha squash. Make sure to take out the seeds, but keep the skin on for extra nutrients and texture.
- Season with olive oil, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
- Roast for 25 minutes until fork tender and golden.
I’m going to take the Mark Bittman approach and assume you know how to saute some veggies 😉
Now that the veggies are done:
2. Get your bases in place. Your veggies are going to be the heart and soul of your meals throughout the week, but keep in mind some important pantry and fridge items like grains, beans and/or animal proteins will help make your veggies into more complete meals.
My bases were:
- unsalted bone broth
- organic, antibiotic free chicken
- soba noodles
Make any grains ahead of time per package instructionstpal and store them in airtight containers so you’re ready to go!
3. Get your condiments in place. These give life to your meals rather than forcing feeding yourself bland food or relying only on salt and pepper.
In addition to my spice rack, my condiments were:
- sriracha (PaleoChef is my favorite brand! No sugar, artificial sweeteners or yucky corn syrup.)
- coconut aminos
- fresh rosemary
- balsamic vinegar
A lot of these I already had in my pantry, and I highly recommend that if you don’t have the above base or condiment items go out and grab them now. Food prep doesn’t feel like begrudging food prep if you already have ingredients ready for you.
4. Plan your meals or go with your cravings. At this point you have a bunch of items lined up to be able to make some meals easily throughout the week; however, if you know the lazy monster is still going to get you when trying to cook after a long day of work, then definitely prep those meals ahead of time or at least write down what you’re going to eat when so you can hold yourself accountable.
Here’s what I did over the course of four days. Note that these are simple yet healthful examples. You don’t even need a recipe write out because they’re so easily thrown together.
Dinner time: Prepped my veggies. The kabocha squash was so yummy as is that I just had a bowl of it with a tahini sauce for extra healthy protein and fats.
I put the rest of the veggies in airtight containers in the fridge after they cooled.
Breakfast: Veggie Egg Scramble
Reheat the onion | broccoli | mushroom saute in a pan with coconut oil. Added two organic, free range, antibiotic free eggs with some nutritional yeast and salt and pepper.
Dinner: Chicken with roasted kabocha squash
Cook your chicken however you like it (just please don’t deep fry it…) with a lovely side of squash. If you want to get fancy, you can totally butterfly and stuff that bird. Add some fresh chopped rosemary to brighten up the leftover squash.
Lunch: Chicken and Veggie Salad
Take your leftover chicken and veggie saute and put it on a bed of greens. Dress with your balsamic vinegar or another dressing of your choice.
Dinner: Kabocha Squash Quinoa bowl
Top that deliciousness over some quinoa with some coconut aminos and you’re good to go. A quinoa bowl is always a great base to add anything else you have in the house like other veggies, nuts, pepitas, or seaweed.
Dinner: Kitchen Sink Miso Soup
Put the leftover veggie saute and kabocha squash in a pot of bone broth with some miso, herbs and soba noodles. Add some of that chicken if it’s not already gone.
Two simple veggie preparations and at least six different meals made. And just over the course of four days! If you’re okay with repeat eating, feel free to make multiple batches of something. There are endless options here.
The bottom line, think of your main veggies for the week and always prep that ahead, get your pantry bases and condiments in line, and your healthy food for the week will be manageable yet different with every meal.