We’ve all heard the saying “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” Well, in light of the 21 day fix and general meal planning BLOWING up on my facebook news feed I thought I would write a post on my tips about meal prep and how I’ve found easier (and tastier) ways to make my life easier during the week.
I won’t lie, I used to be from the school of thought where you had to eat 6 meals a day and everything had to be carefully measured and portioned out for each meal. No salt, condiments or anything that would add any extra calories. Don’t worry. I have long since moved on from there. However, I do still meal prep. I work full time now as well as train clients after work and write programs for remote clients so cooking during the week is not very feasible for me unless I want to eat at 9:30 at night (ahem, I’m usually in bed by then). Meal prepping can be a daunting task, how do you pick what to make for the week? What do you cook ahead of time? What can wait? Will it go bad before you can get to it? Here’s some things that I have found to help me.
It seems obvious right? But I plan for the next week, probably Wednesday of the week before. I decide what I want to cook and make my grocery list. I make sure all of my meals are balanced, there’s always a healthy carb, protein and a good amount of vegetables. Also, I look at my schedule for the following week.
2. Keep it simple.
Don’t keep it so simple that you’re eating boiled chicken and steamed broccoli
everyday. But don’t try to make your own salad dressing and meat balls from scratch in one afternoon (Yes I did this and I was miserable). I pick dishes that are easy, tasty and healthy. My cook time on a Sunday is usually only about an hour long. Lately I’ve been on a kick with one pot meals, simple and less clean up!
3. Get comfortable with eating the same things.
I eat the same meal for lunch and the same meal for dinner all week. But it doesn’t bother me as long as it tastes good. If the meal I’ve prepped is a flop, then it gets a little hard to swallow down. Same goes for the opposite. If I LOVE a meal I’ve prepped I can’t wait to eat it every day. I know a lot of people like variety, so do I. I usually never make the same thing twice in a month so that I can keep it fresh every week.
4. Don’t even try to MEAL prep
If you’re just starting out, don’t try to cook everything. I hate to cook everything on Sunday’s in fear of food going bad. If I have the rare night during the week where I have time to cook again, I’ll prep that food so it’s a quick into the oven or onto the stove. Any little bit helps, so if you’re making something that calls for chopping vegetables or marinating meat, do that ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. I even do this with smoothies, I’ll chop up fruit and put it in a bag until I’m ready to throw it in the blender so that in the morning when I haven’t gotten my coffee yet, I don’t even have to think about it.
5. Skip a meal.
I don’t know if you noticed, but I don’t prep breakfast at all. I love eggs as much as the next person. But honestly, it just one more thing on my plate. I used to do overnight oats as well, but sometimes at night I just want to come home and veg out. So I keep breakfast non-cooked. I’ll have oatmeal that I can just throw in the microwave or yogurt with my own fruit and granola added.
Here’s one meal that I made this week and was SUPER easy and quick:
Pesto Mozzarella Chicken w/ Brown Rice and Spinach (Makes 4 servings)
1 lb chicken
4 tbsp pesto (or you can make your own)
2 cloves garlic
1 Package Spinach
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 tbsp Olive oil or any oil of your choice
4 slices of mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice tomatoes. Finely chop garlic. Place chicken breast in oven safe dish. Spread 1 tbsp pesto on to each chicken breast and then top with 2 slices of tomatos. Bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove from oven, place mozzarella on top of eat chicken breast and then continue to bake for another 5 minutes.
Add brown rice and 2 cups water to a pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Once brown rice is cooked remove from heat, add tbsp olive oil, spinach and chopped garlic to the pot. Cover and let it steam, and stir everything together.
Then divide however you would like, Tupperware, eat it right away, feed it to the cat. Whatever you please but you just made lunch/dinner for 4 days!