Taking a few hours on Sunday to prep my meals for the week has been a serious lifesaver. I’ve been meal prepping (on and off) for a couple years now, but it has really become more consistent since I got married. Having to pack lunch for my husband has forced me to be make it a weekly task – and I absolutely love it!
When I first started my meal prep journey, it was really simple. Chicken breast, rice, veggies. Boring. It gets even more boring if you’re doing that for an extended period of time. Meal prep requires so much preparation and creativity – I do not want to be eating the same thing from week to week. I do a lot of research and spend (probably too many) hours on Pinterest looking for new ideas.
Why Meal Prep?
Meal prep is crucial when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. It can be so difficult to reach for healthy options if you don’t have any in the house and you pass by your favorite fast food chain on your way home from work every. My goal is not to lose weight or to build muscle – and all our goals are different so my meal prep looks different from everyone else. My goal is to feel healthy, eat as many whole, plant based foods as possible, and to be in tune with my hunger without overeating. I feel great when I eat fewer animal products, so my meal prep reflects that. I have tried to diet and have prepared my meals in the past to restrict myself from having more than a certain amount of calories, carbs, fats, etc. This calorie restriction and constant habit of keeping a food diary to make sure I was meeting my macros, or staying under 1,500 calories has caused me to resort to binge eating. I can talk more about that in a later post, but I have learned that restricting does not work for me. With that in mind, the focus of my meal prep is one thing: eat a TON of veggies. Veggies make me full, they make me happy, and they make me feel really, really good. I am hoping that through good habits, I will see the results that I want even though it may take a lot longer (and I am okay with that). And let’s be honest, one of the reasons I do meal prep is so that I can go out and enjoy myself on the weekends without feeling as guilty. 🙂
So, that is why I meal prep. A lot of veggies and healthy carbs – that’s what you’ll be seeing in my meal preps!
I won’t be going into specific recipes in this post – mostly because I have really simple recipes this week. And like I mentioned earlier, my meals change from week to week so I hope to be doing more of these posts!
I told you it was simple, didn’t I? I’ve never done smoothies for breakfast before so I’m giving it a shot this week. It’s hard to figure out ways to incorporate vegetables for breakfast. This week it’s just a smoothie with one banana, spinach, kale and almond milk. Yumm! Unfortunately, this is not something that can be prepped beforehand. But it’s simple enough for me to whip up each morning!
For lunch I’m having vegetable soup an open face tuna sandwich. The vegetable soup is made with green beans, celery, carrots, potatoes, crushed tomatoes, chicken broth and various herbs and spices. I make a huge pot of this at the beginning of the week and store it in an air tight container. I put half in the freezer and half in the fridge. The tuna salad has canned tuna, celery, unsweetened coconut yogurt (dairy free) and herbs and spices. I like to spread mine on a slice of Ezekiel bread. Ezekiel bread is a great option because it is made using sprouted whole grains and it does not contain any preservatives. I make the tuna salad all at once and store it in the fridge – it should be good for 3-5 days.
Beans and rice! I love beans and rice. Beans are a great way to get some plant-based protein and they are SO filling. I cook my dry beans in a slow cooker with home made creole seasoning, celery, onion and water. The beans are served on a bed of rice – half long grain brown rice and half long grain jasmine white rice. I serve a few zucchini skewers alongside my beans and rice to get in some extra veggies. Veggies at every meal, please!
Popcorn is a great snack because it is a whole grain. I’m used to buying bags of popped popcorn at the store, but they usually have fats and unnecessary sodium. I just got an air popper which solves the problem! I use the kernels from Trader Joe’s. Once they are popped, I spray them with some lime juice (this acts as a glue for the spices) and quickly sprinkle on a seasoning blend. The blend includes garlic powder, onion powder, dried dill and paprika. Using a mortar and pestle, I grind up the spices to make a fine powder. This makes it easier for it to stick to the lime juice. Aside from the popcorn, I eat a ton of fruit in between my meals!
So, there you go! That’s my meal prep for the week. Meal prep, like the word, requires A LOT of prep. But once you have the system down, it is so helpful. I ensure that my meals are well-balanced and that they all include protein, carbs, and veggies. If I get hungry during the week I’ll probably throw in avocado toast or peanut butter toast for some added healthy fats.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I’ve enjoyed writing my first blog post. I can’t wait to write more in the future!