5.22.2013

Food Prep and Meal Planning



I get comments all the time at work about my organized lunches and healthy packed snacks  “You’re so healthy…” “How do you have time to make your lunches?” “You eat so well.”

My answer is pretty simple. I plan.

Most week nights, the hubs and I don’t get home until late so instead of eating take out or just peanut butter sandwiches, I’ve gotten into the habit of planning the week in food to make life easier.

Maybe it’s a little neurotic, but it helps me keep organized, healthy and prepared.

And once you do it for a few weeks, it just becomes part of your routine. It simply takes an hour or so on the weekend to get your entire week ready. It makes such a huge difference.

So how do you get started with this whole food prep thing? You can do several different things. Do a google search on how to plan meals or check out the Lean Green Bean blog - she has amazing tips and ideas on what to prep for the week and she does a weekly post about other food preppers.

This is just what works for me. 

First, I start with grabbing a piece of paper and laying the entire week out. I am a very visual person, so it helps to see what the week will look like.


On the back on my meal plan I usually write down some breakfast ideas, lunches and snacks for the week.


I usually do my food shopping on Sundays so that’s when my week of meals starts. Scan your pantry and fridge to see what you have and go from there. After I make my meal plan, I usually make my grocery shopping list. I also keep a very well stocked pantry full of stuff from the bulk bins and a freezer full of meat from Costo. 

I've found it helpful to plan at least one meal a week where we will have leftovers too – one less meal to make. For example, tacos for dinner one night can be a taco salad the next day for lunch.


Then you prep.

Some basics and ideas:

Breakfast: 
  • hard boiled/baked eggs, granola, overnight oats.
    • Hard boiled eggs make for a quick easy breakfast that I can just through in my bag when I am running out there door. 
    • I  make a batch of granola and it lasts for a couple weeks. I just throw 1/2 cup in a bowl with some yogurt and fresh fruit and I am good to go. 
    • Overnight oats: These have become my new favorite I've been making them for when I go to early yoga classes and eating them when I get to work. 
Lunches:
  • pick 2 types of lunches and rotate through out the week
    • tuna salad you can make ahead of time
    • green salads; wash and cut up your lettuce early in the week. You can make this salad easy by cutting up all the veggies
    • make a large batch of salad dressing to use throughout the week. 
    • roast nuts/seeds to top off salads (sunflowers, almonds, pepitas)
Snacks:
  • pick several snacks and have them ready in the fridge to pack in your lunch or just grab from the fridge/pantry
    • roast raw almonds
    • make a trail mix or energy bars like these homemade lara bars
    • peel and cut carrots/other veggies
    • make a batch of hummus
    • roast chickpeas
    • wash apples or other fruits
Main Meals/Proteins:
  • Meat: Grill a batch of chicken or throw a whole chicken in the crock pot on Sunday – for dinners, salads or quesadillas one night. Broil some salmon.
  • Soups/Casseroles; make ahead of time and freeze or use it throughout the week. They make good meals for several nights in a row or leftovers for an easy lunch.
  • Stir fries/bowls: If you want stir fry for one night, cut your peppers and onions ahead of time so they are ready to go into the pan. Add whatever protein you have prepped and you have an easy meal. Same with the grains/beans – these make great, easy meals. 
The main thing to remember is that your plan isn't set in stone. This is a flexible guide made to help you get through your week and make your life just a tad bit easier.

Below is my food prep from a few weeks ago. I've got washed strawberries, prepped kale, granola, cut up peppers and shredded carrots, cucumbers, hard boiled eggs, carrots and hummus, sliced onions, and popcorn trail mix.



Do you meal plan? What's your secret? Please share your tips and tricks!

Cheers,

Erica

1 comment:

  1. You are SO my inspiration! I wish I could get my act together enough to do what you do! I'm super impressed!

    ReplyDelete

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