My Basic Approach to Healthy Meal Prep 2018-
With school starting soon, I just wanted to share with you approach to “meal-prepping” for the week!!
I am not a huge meal-prep person — I need my weekends to work on the blog and do photo shoots, etc. So spending hours in the kitchen on a Sunday are just not happening for me! Instead, I have kind of come up with my own little approach of making sure we are ready for the week and that there is always something healthy in the house that we can grab! Some weeks I am completely on my game and I do ALL of these things – other weeks…. I don’t :-). But this kind of thinking/planning has kind of been ingrained in my mind at this point, so I usually end up doing at least part of it without even thinking. And I don’t necessarily do it all on the weekend. Sometimes it spills over into the first part of the week. Bottom line -there is no wrong way to do this, you guys!! So take this for what it’s worth and I hope it helps you in some way!
Basic Fridge Staples:
Hard-Boiled Eggs: my technique – place eggs in medium saucepan. Cover fully with water. Bring to boil and THEN set timer for 10 minutes. Let simmer for those 10 minutes. Then remove and rinse with cold water.
Avocado- I eat about 1 per day
Some type of greens (spinach, mixed greens, etc)
Veggies to roast – asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccolini
Some sort of extra protein – smoked pork shoulder or just some shredded chicken breast (just put some chicken breast into boiling water – let cook fully – about 15 minutes or until fully cooked – remove and let cool slightly – shred and keep in storage container) OR you can make my Sunday Dinner Butterflied Chicken which is more flavorful but takes more effort.
Breakfast: For work breakfasts I really kind of rotate some of the same things:
- Sometimes I make a frittata on Sunday for the specific purpose of bringing it to work during the week. I have two really good recipes on the blog for Sunday Morning Sausage and Mushroom Frittata and Creamy Prosciutto and Asparagus Frittata – so easy!!
- Sweet Potato or Yam + Cashew Butter + Cinnamon + Cut up Apples. (feel free to add a breakfast sausage or roasted broccolini or avocado)
- Homemade Breakfast Sausage + Avocado + Sweet Potato Cinnamon Sticks (feel free to add in some roasted broccolini too)
- When I am really in a pinch! RxBar + 2 hard-boiled eggs. For those mornings when you feel like you would otherwise lose your head if it wasn’t attached!
- Homemade cold brew (of course!) but if you don’t have time to make your own (or don’t want to) I highly recommend Califia Farms Black Label Cold Brew
- Homemade creamer (cashew or cinnamon vanilla Whole30 creamer)
- Homemade almond milk
- Califia Farms Better Half Coffee Creamer
- Milk Frother
Lunch: For me, lunch is ALL about leftovers. That is my go-to. Whatever we are cooking for dinner, I swear I generally double it. Or, if we are grilling, for example, I will throw on a couple Whole30 compliant Italian sausages, burgers, hot dogs …. anything really. Just because I want to make sure I have something healthy to grab for lunch that will take just a few minutes to throw together and even less time to think about. When I don’t have leftovers – I always make sure I have these back-ups in my fridge/pantry – just in case:
- Safecatch Tuna and either some homemade mayo or Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo so I can make my Go-To Tuna Salad.
- Amy’s Organic Soups – Chunky Vegetable I love this soup with a cut up avocado in it!! Not Whole30 (because of the corn and peas) but so delicious and has amazing ingredients. (Note: the Amy’s Organic Low Fat Split Pea Soup is also amazing and also not Whole30 compliant) – both would be easy to take to work as well!
- Eggs – especially if I didn’t have eggs for breakfast, sometimes I will just cut up whatever veggies I have and make a little scramble with those – throw an avocado on top.
- Leftovers, leftovers, leftovers. And I don’t necessarily eat them the same exact way I had them for dinner. Since it is usually a protein, I almost always throw it on top of some greens, add some avocado, maybe a hard-boiled egg, tomato and add some ranch or olive oil/vinegar. Basically just take anything from my fridge that looks good, throw it in a bowl with some lettuce and call it a “salad” :-). And this is where that “extra prepped protein” I talked about above comes in handy!!
Dinner: Here is my approach to planning dinners: I look at the week ahead with my husband and we figure out what nights we have activities (and thus an easy dinner) or what nights we have open and can actually plan something that takes more than 10 minutes to throw together. For the nights when we DON’T have any plans/activities/sporting events, we have any one of the following (obviously this changes a lot, but these are some of our major go-to’s that we never seem to get sick of):
- Simple Weeknight Salmon
- Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Crockpot Jerk Chicken
- Roasted Broccolini
- Mashed Potatoes
- Grilled Weeknight Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Greek Chicken Bake
- Garlic Burgers
- Chicken Tenders
- Lemon Garlic Chicken
- Beef and Broccoli
- Curried Meatballs
When we DO have a million other things going on and the goal is just to get something in our kiddos bellies, then the picture isn’t so pretty and there isn’t always a recipe :-). Those are the nights when the girls might have something different than what we eat because …. because that’s just easier sometimes. Here is the honest truth of what we eat on those crazy nights (and no these are not all Whole30 compliant – when my husband and I are doing Whole30 you would see a lot more salads for us, breakfast for dinner, etc. But these are realistic meals for our kids when we have busy nights):
- Roasted veggies + Poached egg (the girls actually really like this combo!)
- Applegate Natural Uncured Beef Hot Dogs + Ketchup + Sauerkraut + carrot sticks + apple
- Turmeric Chicken Caesar salad or Shrimp Caesar Salad (or just chicken thighs cooked in ghee, salt, pepper and turmeric and then, once fully cooked, dipped in a mustard mayo)
- Gluten-Free Pasta (served with either 1. ghee+salt+parmesan cheese 2. homemade marinara sauce)
- Sandwiches (either almond butter or cashew butter with honey or jelly) on Dave’s Killer Bread or Udi’s Gluten-Free Bread (this is more for the girls)
- They love Amy’s Chunky Vegetable Soup and maybe a grilled cheese (I skip the grilled cheese and just add avocado to my soup)
- Annie’s Homegrown Organic Variety Macaroni and Cheese (but I use Califia Farms unsweetened almond milk)
- Burgers – throw them on the grill and top with avocado and tomato!
- Annie’s Spaghetti O’s(more for just the girls)
- Applegate Farms Natural Chicken Nuggets
- “Component Dinners” – which basically means take whatever you have in your fridge and throw it all in a bowl together! This may be a protein and some veggies with an egg on top or a salad with olives, artichoke hearts, sweet potatoes and broccoli! Sometimes those are actually the best!
Those are just a couple of ideas – there are plenty more, but those come to mind first!
Snacks/Drinks: Technically, if you are following the Whole30 guidelines to the T you are discouraged from eating snacks. That being said, you gotta do what you gotta do (and I am currently pregnant as I type this so snacking is a thing right now!). If you are need of a snack then these are what I have on-hand:
- Cashew Butter and Apples (don’t be afraid to warm up that cashew butter and then sprinkle cinnamon on top of everything!) And obviously if you haven’t made your own something like a Justin’s Almond Butter works just fine as well!
- Carrot sticks/celery and either homemade ranch or Tessemae’s Organic Creamy Ranch
- Hard-Boiled Egg
- Avocado + Coco Aminos + Red Pepper Flakes (or use soy sauce if you aren’t doing a round of Whole30)
- Sweet Potato Cinnamon Sticks + Ranch
- Bone Broth + Avocado
- La Croix
- GT Kombucha
Tools/Appliances: Here are a few things that make meal-prepping easier!
- Glass Meal Prep Containers – 2 Compartment
- Glass Meal Prep Containers – 1 Compartment
- Stasher Reusable Snack & Sandwich Bag Set
- Slow Cooker
- Parchment Paper
- Sheet Pan/Baking Sheet
- Extra Large Cutting Board
- Knife Set
- Vitamix 5200 Blender
- Food Processor
- Immersion Blender
- Milk Frother
So that’s it you guys! Not exactly your typical “meal-prep” guide, but this is what we have in our house and what we eat! A lot of it is Whole30, but some of it isn’t. Of course, things look a little different during a Whole30 round, but that is for a different post! With school starting soon I just wanted to share how I look at the week and some of the staples that automatically run through my head when I am planning out what to buy and what we are going to eat! I hope you guys found this helpful!!
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Lots of fabulous ideas! Thanks! Are the potatoes in the pic the cinnamon sweet potatoes, or something else? They look delicious!
Hi, Kelly! Glad you like the post! Yes! The pictured potatoes are my Cinnamon Sweet Potato Sticks – I just cubed them instead of cutting them into stick! I do that sometimes if I am a little more pressed for time!
Mary Bailey (Soelberg/Ames) says
You are amazing! Terrific ideas. Doing everything could seem overwhelming, but doing a little at a time might make it work for those of us who are “energy challenged”. Thanks for all of the wonderful ideas and recipes!
Thank you :-).