In this weekly series, "Meal Prep Friday," I want to show you how do-able it is to eat healthfully throughout the week with wholesome meals if you put a little effort into planning and prepping in advance. I will share with you my weekly "game plan," my purchases at the store, and any helpful tricks and tips I've learned along the way. Let's get cookin'!
Hey guys. So I've been receiving a lot of emails lately concerning how I plan and prep my meals. So rather than repeating myself over and over again, I thought, "Hey, that's what this blog is for!" Starting today, I declare every Friday at MJ and Hungryman - "Meal Prep Friday." Since I do all my meal prep over the weekend, what you see will actually be what I made the previous week. This way, if you wanted to incorporate some of what I do into your weekly meals, you can do so, starting...well, this weekend! If not, you can just check out what I've been making and eating ;).
My weekly game plan has changed a bit since I graduated this past December. Because my commute was so horrendous and schedule so unpredictable, I used to prep for ALL (lunch and dinner) of the meals over the weekend.
You may be rolling your eyes and thinking, "Girl, I don't have time for that! I just want to relax on the weekend," and I can definitely relate. My beginnings were humble - washing veggies as soon as I brought them home from the store was quite a feat. Then you start picking up steam and doing a lil' more and then a lil' more... Before you know it, you've made wholesome meals that will come to your rescue on those crazy weekdays.
// Breakfast is usually overnight oats, egg toast, PB &J sandwich...just something quick.
Nowadays, I normally prep for all of our lunches and then 1 or 2 dinners. Occasionally, I'll cook on a weekday depending on how we are doing with our leftovers or my desire/energy level to cook.
Anyway, let's get to the game plan. As I shared in this earlier post,
I go grocery shopping early Saturday morning. I would say about 70% of my groceries are fruits and vegetables. For this week, I purchased red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, baby kale, baby mixed greens, rainbow carrots (my newest obsession), and Persian seedless cucumbers.
One valuable lesson I've learned over time is that it's best to wash and prep the veggies as soon as I get home from the store. Although there are days, of course, when that's just not going to happen (e.g. stayed up wayyy too late the night before, had one too many drinks, etc.). BUT I try my best to make it a priority. Pushing it off 'til later doesn't seem to work for me because 1) I forget about it until Sunday or 2) I just get lazier and lazier.
Carrots - I simply tossed them in olive oil, turmeric, and curry powder and roasted them at 400 F for about 25-30 minutes. Fantastic! I was totally inspired by these honey-roasted rainbow carrots via Meal Makeover Moms (listen to their podcast!)
As for the rest of the veggies, after cleaning and chopping them up, I added them straight into my Mason jars. Whatever I had left over, I stored separately in an air-tight container for snacking. Done!
The key to eating healthy really is prepping ahead. When hungry, the last thing you want to do is clean and chop, so you reach for that cereal box or some other sort of prepackaged food. This way, all you have to do is open the container and scoop out some kind of dip (hummus, guacamole, peanut butter) to enjoy with the prepped veggies, if desired. Whatever you do,
just make them visible! Place at eye level in the fridge.
You'll also be surprised to know that you end up throwing away wayyy less produce whose fate most likely would have been - forgotten and left to die in the crisper drawer.
Lunches and Dinners
Mason jar salads are what we've been enjoying a lot as of late. I try to change up the ingredients, dressings, etc. as best as I can. Some days I want more leafy greens and others lots of root or hearty vegetables. These jar salads are not only huge time-savers but an awesome way to get your daily servings of essential nutrients. AND the Hungryman has also grown to love them! I throw in whatever protein source I have the morning of. I've found that it just works better that way, especially with meat.
Would you guys like a tutorial on how I layer my Mason jar salads? If so, just let me know, and I'll be sure to include it in my future posts ;).
This week, I made a couple of Korean dishes in honor of the Lunar New Year.
On the menu:
Here are some of the meals (each one came together in under 5 minutes!):
That wraps up this week's Meal Prep Friday. Come back for more next week ;). Hope you guys have a fun-filled, relaxing weekend!