Its Monday! I love Mondays. A new week means a new beginning and more opportunities to become who I want to be. That’s not to say Mondays aren’t hectic. We usually pack our weekends full and have family dinners each Sunday evening, so by the time we arrive home and crawl into bed Sunday night my time to meal prep for the week ahead has come and gone. Because of this, I’m usually left to eat whatever creations I come up with from all the produce and possible leftovers stocked in our fridge.
This weekend was a little different than the others, but still pretty jam-packed. I kept thinking I’d have time to get some prep cooking done, but it didn’t happen again and again. Instead of waking up this morning scrambling to throw together a lunch or some snacks for the day, I took initiative and got my butt cooking first thing in the morning. Thanks to a list I emailed myself the night before when I was laying in bed [What?! You’re saying you don’t do that?] I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to get prepped for the next 5 days ahead of me, based on the produce we received in our From The Farmer basket and whatever other food we had floating around.
So, what’s usually on my list? The produce I prep each week is ever-changing based on seasonality and what’s available from the local farmers. Sometimes its great salad fixings and other times its excellent roasting or grilling veggies. I always want to have a grain or starchy item like sweet potatoes or quinoa I’ve soaked overnight. Sometimes proteins are important, but I know I get a good amount of protein in both my breakfast and dinner, so if I want to skip adding extra protein for lunch I’m usually a-ok with that! Breakfast items are super important, too – this means cutting and freezing bananas and other fruits for smoothies, and also pre-cooking protein pancakes or baking healthy breakfast muffins that are great to grab on-the-go or have when my mid-morning hunger hits.
I’ve compiled a list of my fave meal prepping ideas, tips, and tricks that keep me eating clean, lean, & green, even when my days are out-of-control busy!
- protein pancakes & clean breakfast muffins [cook a large batch ahead of time & freeze until ready to heat in the oven or microwave in the AM]
- egg muffins filled with veggies [bake one for each day or the week – or just a couple if you crave variety with other breakfast foods – and store in air-tight container until you’re ready to eat, then just heat in the microwave]
- bananas cut into 1/4 sections for freezing
- extra fresh berries bagged for freezing
- mason jars or tupperware containers filled with perfect amount greens, protein powder & almond butter – stored in the fridge until ready to blend [dump all the contents in the blender, just add milk of choice & frozen fruit, and hit blend!]
- roast, steam, or grill veggies [beets, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, mushrooms] for topping salads or adding into a grain bowl
- bake or steam starchy veggies [sweet potato, carrots, acorn or kombocha squash] to “bulk up” salads or combine with other veggies & a protein
- salad dressings [lemon+shallot+olive oil//grapefruit+s&p+avo blended//good ol’ balsamic vinegar+olive oil] stored in small jars or air-tight containers for the week – don’t forget to shake before using!
- cook ahead soaked quinoa, rice, or other grains for adding to grain bowls
- roast a chicken – this is so simple & versatile and will last you quite a few days [Ina does it best.]
- make a fave dish that you don’t mind eating a few times throughout the week [curry, ratatouille, zoodles with marinara on the side!]
- homemade trail mix [goji berries, cashews, walnuts, freeze-dried fruit, almonds, cacao nibs]
- kale chips – so easy to make & so delish [you’ll want to eat them alll]
- 1/2 an avocado with a little sea salt & a squeeze of lime or lemon [you don’t even need to prep this, unless you want to cut the citrus ahead of time]
- apple with almond or peanut butter [in small containers, portion out the nut butter ahead of time so you can grab & go]
- pickles! I love pickles & will snack on them any chance I’m craving something salty. [make the usual dill pickles, pickled carrots, green beans, or pickled peppers to add to your salads or other lunches]
Meal prepping is so easy once you make a list and get movin’. I try to really stick with basics that will go together when I mix & match. I also add in at least one complete meal that will spread out over the course of a few days – which also comes in handy when you’re home late from work, have to run an errand, and by the time you actually settle in for dinner you have no energy for cooking. Your prep sesh doesn’t have to happen over the weekend, or even in the morning. Do it whenever its convenient for you because we don’t all have 9 – 5’s!
Don’t forget to keep healthy drinks on hand, too, for fast & convenient hydration – think kombuchas, a few water bottles filled ahead of time, coconut water, and maybe some iced tea.
What else do you meal prep to healthify your week??