When it comes to your nutrition, what is the thing that gets in the way from “eating healthy” and “being prepared”?…Meal prep.
Meal prep is one of those things you know you should do; it would make life easier…but when it comes to (a.) spending a weekend afternoon chopping, mixing and cooking or (b.) enjoying fun in the sun, watching the game or just relaxing…the latter tends to win. Not to mention the fact that, although you LIKE the IDEA of meal prep, you don’t love the idea of leftovers. By the time Thursday or Friday rolls around, Sunday’s meal prepped meals are less than appetizing to you.
You CAN have your cake and eat it too—plenty of time and fun this weekend, PLUS plenty of fresh food on hand (in no time) to get you through your week.
Here are 4 of my favorite simple meal prep hacks, PLUS 3 Easy, Peasy “recipes” to try out this weekend.
- Grocery Run. Instead of going to the grocery store when everyone else does on Sunday afternoon or Monday morning, consider going in the middle of the week, or first thing in the morning, or later in the evening when you can actually get around. I also like to go when I am conveniently already on my way home for the day—instead of going, then running back home, then back out. Stop, get the goods, stock the fridge and be done. Other grocery hacks include outsourcing (with an app like Instacart—available in many bigger cities), joining a CSA (farm-delivered veggies) or delegating (send your significant other with a list :) ).
- Double It. No matter what you’re making, double it. Instant breakfast or lunch for the next day! If I make burgers, I grill up enough for 2-3 more servings. Same thing with chicken, sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, and more. A weekly casserole dish or recipe, like a meatloaf, are also great ways to prepare for more than one day.
- One thing at a time. Most days, I cook only ONE TIME per day—and prepare enough food, not only for dinner, breakfast the next day and packing my lunch, but also, concurrently, throw in one or two meal-prepped foods to have on hand for the rest of the week. In other words: As the week goes on, I prep one thing at a time—and end up with several more servings’ worth of different proteins, veggies and dishes. This could look like:
- Baking 5-6 potatoes or sweet potatoes, in bulk, for the rest of the week
- Placing a pork tenderloin in the crockpot for pulled pork
- Baking 1-2 lbs. of my favorite Dijon mustard chicken thighs (recipe below)
- Roasting a big pan of veggies (squash, carrots, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus)
- Throwing a container of pre-diced butternut squash with cinnamon and coconut oil into my toaster oven
- Pre-assembling bags of greens, veggies and sweet potato wedges for easy add-ins for salads throughout the week;
- Pulling chicken from a Rotisserie and mixing it with my favorite Primal Mayo, diced apple and chopped celery (maybe even some nitrate-free bacon or cashews) for chicken salad
- Preparing mashed cauliflower or cauliflower rice
- Throwing a casserole together (One of my faves? Juli Bauer’s 5-ingredient Spaghetti Pie http://paleomg.com/almost-5-ingredient-pizza-spaghetti-pie/)
Choose one or two different ‘meal preps’ to do most days during the week while you also cook dinner and in as little as 30-minutes, you’ll not only have dinner on your plate, but also a couple easy go-tos for meals throughout the week. You get the picture.
- Keep it simple. I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a recipe with more than five ingredients, I get a little overwhelmed. Not to mention, cooking from recipes can often times be expensive (additional specialty ingredients). No need for complicated recipes here! Spices and herbs are beautiful additions to spice up any meat and veggie combo. For instance: “Boring, plain” chicken easily becomes Thai chicken, rosemary chicken, curry chicken, or Mexican chicken with just a shake or two of a few different seasonings.
Dijon Mustard Chicken Thighs
- 1-2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 2-3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1-2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- sea salt, pepper, garlic powder (to taste)
- Preheat oven to 400-degrees
- Coat chicken with spices and seasonings
- Place chicken in glassware baking dish, greased with coconut oil
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, until no longer pink
- 1 lbs. grass-fed ground bison (or grass-fed beef or ground turkey)
- 1 small sweet potato or 1 cup diced butternut squash
- 1-2 heaping handfuls of Power Greens, Spinach and/or kale
- sea salt, pepper (to taste)
- nitrate-free turkey bacon (optional)
- 1-2 tbsp. ghee or coconut oil
- Preheat pan on medium-high heat with 1 tbsp. cooking fat
- Cook ground meat until almost no longer pink
- While meat is cooking, also cook down potato or squash in a separate pan on medium heat until softened.
- Throw potato or squash into meat pan, along with raw leafy greens, cover and cook on medium heat until greens are wilted.
- Add sea salt and pepper to taste
Stuffed Sweet Potato
- Sweet potato
- 1 lb. ground turkey or chicken (Rotisserie chicken)
- Spinach and kale (or steamed broccoli)
- 1 tbsp. coconut butter
- Preheat oven to 425-degrees
- Wash and scrub potatoes
- Wrap in foil and bake 30-40 minutes
- While baking, brown ground meat in a pan or pull chicken
- Cut sweet potatoes in half
- Stuff meat and greens to sweet potato
- Bake for another 10-minutes
- Top with 1 tbsp. coconut butter
Salmon & Cauliflower Rice Bowl
- 1-2 Salmon Filets
- Fresh orange or lemon, zest
- Sea salt & pepper, to taste
- 1/2 Clove of garlic, minced
- Coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp. Coconut Aminos
- Optional spices: Sea salt, pepper, coriander, onion powder, curry powder, ginger
Cook the salmon:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Place salmon filet skin side-down on baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil; spritz with orange or lemon zest; and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, then roast in oven, 10 to 12 minutes.
Cook the cauliflower:
- De-stem cauliflower and break into florets, discarding as much stem as possible. Pulse in food processor until it resembles small grains of rice.
- Heat 1 tbsp. coconut oil in pan, add garlic, sautee down.
- Add cauliflower, along with any other spices of choice, and cook 2 minutes on medium heat until rice like consistency
Simple Roasted Veggies
- Zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts,
- 1-2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt & pepper, to taste
- coconut oil cooking spray or coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 425-degrees
- Prepare veggies (wash, dice)
- Spray or grease a glassware baking dish with coconut oil
- Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil
- Sprinkle and sea salt and pepper
- Bake for 40-50 minutes