Monday, May 8, 2017

Meal Prep Monday- Weekly Meal and Snack Prep



So I know by now that I have mentioned our practice of weekly meal prep on several previous posts, and since it is such a regular and essential part of our healthy diet I wanted to write a post specifically about what we do to prepare ourselves for the week. By doing this at the start of every week, we set ourselves up to have healthy snacks ready to eat and we save time throughout the week on meal prep by doing some of the work ahead of time. It's also a fun way for Heather and I to work together in the kitchen.




So for this post, there won't be just one recipe at the end like usual, rather this is more about sharing the ideas and practices we use in our weekly meal prep. One thing that we have been doing recently is to pre-cook and package Heather's lunches for the week. Heather is currently doing a 21 Day Fix challenge so we started preparing healthy lunches for her to take to work and found a cool idea on another blog. As usual, we took the idea and have changed/improved upon it and come up with something that works for us.

Art of Tea Organics



Lunch Prep


We start with a whole grain: Brown Rice, Quinoa, Farro, Barley, etc and cook up a small simple batch. I usually just throw the ingredients into my Rice Cookerand let it go so I don't have to worry about it while I work on other things. Then we prep our meat and veggies for the week. We do a simple one-pan roast and cook our meat and vegetables at the same time. We have been cooking four meals worth total, with two different meats and two different vegetables. So we load up our sheet pan with Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli on the sides and Salmon and Chicken in the middle like in the picture above. Drizzle the sprouts with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle on some sea salt and black pepper. Toss the broccoli in olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. For salmon, I brush the filet with lemon juice and olive oil, then sprinkle dill, sea salt, and black pepper. For chicken, I brush the meat with olive oil, then sprinkle with sage, sea salt and black pepper. Once everything is on your pan and seasoned you can transfer to the oven and bake until your meat is fully cooked. This is usually around 20-30 minutes but will depend greatly on the size of the cuts you use.



Now that all of your components are cooked and ready you can assemble your lunches. I would recommend letting it all cool down a bit before portioning. So now we just portion our grain into four containers and top with chicken/sprouts, chicken/broccoli, salmon/sprouts, and salmon/broccoli and refrigerate. There you go! Four good, healthy lunches ready to go for the week!



Snack Prep


The other thing that we like to do while we are in weekly prep mode is to prepare some healthy snacks to eat throughout the week. We like to have a variety of healthy snacks ready to grab and go. This helps us avoid other less healthy snack options throughout the week and makes it much easier to find something healthy to eat when we're hungry. The picture above is a good example of the kinds of snacks that we prep each week. We always hard boil eggs as they are a great high protein snack and can even make a decent breakfast and they are so easy to make. Just fill the bottom of a pan with however many eggs you want to boil. Then fill the pan up with water until the water is about an inch above the tops of the eggs. Bring the pot to a boil and then turn the heat off and cover for 15 minutes. That's it! It's that easy. I do recommend running some cold water over the eggs or letting them sit in cold water for a few minutes to cool them down before peeling. Then all you have to do is bag them up and refrigerate them for later.

We put two eggs per bag.


Once again, since the eggs are pretty hands-off, you can work on some other things while they cook like the rest of your snacks! We happen to have a regular supply of apples and oranges thanks to our local weekly organic produce delivery service Full Circle (If you are interested, that links to a post that contains a lot more information as well as our referral code), so we usually prep several of those each week as well. We have this great Apple Corer and Slicer that makes it very quick and easy to prep apples so we slice a few of those and portion them out into bags each week. The oranges I just peel and throw them into a bag. Heather also likes to portion out some baby carrots with a little container of ranch dressing for a quick veggie snack. One other thing that I like to do during this time is to take our bunch of bananas that we buy every weekend and separate them and wrap the ends in plastic. This helps to preserve them and they last so much better when I take a minute to do that.

3 Free Meals

The options here are endless and really only limited by your imagination. Another thing that we like to do during this time is to prep any vegetables we can for dinners during the week. So, for instance, if we needed sliced cabbage for a dinner during the week then we would slice it and save it for later. This can be done for a lot of vegetables but others do not last as long; for instance, I would not prep ahead potatoes, avocados or anything else that oxidizes quickly. We vary what we prep regularly and you can too. Feel free to take these ideas and come up with your own weekly prep plan with whatever you like or want to eat. I hope these ideas inspire you to eat healthy and do some weekly meal and snack prep of your own!

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