I started prepping meals in 2016 when I was searching for ways to make better food choices and live healthier. Since then I have waxed and waned, and found a hundred excuses for why. In February of this year, I buckled down on on meal prepping, and since May, I’ve been successfully planning and prepping our weekly meals without faltering.
A lot of people argue that meal prep and clean eating take too much time to plan and worry about. Although at first lifestyle changes are hard, like all things, once you fall into a routine, it’s hard to fall out of it. Yes, prepping eats up quite a few hours of time BUT I find the result to be very rewarding.
For example; this morning I was at the farmers market before 8. I grabbed everything on my list, lucked out with some fresh picked blueberries, and was in the kitchen and hard at it by 9. It usually takes me until noon on Sundays to have everything done for lunches, and then I tie up loose ends with dinner as the day goes on. (I cook things in the crockpot or on the stovetop throughout the day for weeknight meals.) As tough as it is to have to cut up what seems like hundreds of cucumbers and peaches, being able to have ten lunches ready to go for me and Ross, plus snacks, is a super awesome feeling.
Meal prepping also frees up time during weeknights or during early mornings when you’d otherwise be rushing around packing a lunch. It also helps you choose healthier snack options throughout your day.
For this post, I decided to share one of my favorite meal prep recipes that virtually ANYONE is capable of. This is great for beginners or someone who may be curious about prepping and clean eating. I’m slowly going to start eating less red meat and am hoping to find a more plant friendly diet to help suit my life and my health best, so you will find a lot of vegetables and in this post. I try to avoid a lot of sodium, preservatives, butter, and processed foods, but you can cater these recipes to your liking.
If you’re interested in a quick, easy way to have lunches ready for the work week, scroll on down!
1 quart cherry or grape tomatoes halved
1/2 red onion sliced/chopped
2 yellow squash, sliced
2 zucchini, quartered
Head of broccoli, chopped
3 chicken breast diced (organic, or hormone free is best.)
Italian seasoning (homemade spices best)
Olive or coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Arrange your vegetables on a cookie sheet, drizzle a small amount of oil over top,sprinkle with Italian seasoning, just enough to give flavor. Add salt and pepper if desired.
- On a separate baking sheet, arrange diced chicken breast, and sprinkle with seasoning and oil.
- Place both cookie sheets in oven. I always place the chicken on the lower rack. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes or until chicken is browned and vegetables are crisp and starting to char. Remove and let cool.
- Divide among containers, serve over brown rice or on its own.
(This recipe filled 9 containers. Five of them were chicken, veggies, and rice, the other four were vegetables and rice only.)
These meals can be eaten cold or heated up in the microwave and should keep for a full five days if sealed in an air tight container.
I also prep snacks, including peppers, cucumbers, and hummus. I prefer the Sabra humus because it’s Gluten Free and non-GMO, and they have a variety of flavors. I usually slice up some red and orange peppers, peel and cut up a cucumber, and place everythig in a sealed container as well. These snacks are easy to grab and usually hold me over until dinner.
I try to change up my meal plan weekly, so that I don’t get sick or bored of eating the same thing every week. Boredom can lead to bad food choices, so it’s better if I Mix things up. This is just one of the recipes I use, but I would love to share more if you’re interested!
On a personal note, this is my first week tying a more plant based diet. I’m also avoiding Pepsi (my weakness), refined and added sugars, and am cutting back on dairy. A lot of this is in regards to my last post, and an “endometriosis diet” that I found. I also found a ton of education a reader left in the comment section, and have decided to try another approach to this diet. Wish me luck! I do like to indulge every now and again on my favorite snacks, but I’m hoping I can make it through this week on track!
One last thing – don’t be too hard on yourself at first. Lifestyle changes especially those involving food are hard. If you’re making changes for health reasons, or because of allergies, etc, its best to research what’s best for you and your body, or consult with a nutritionist or dietitian. If you have a family, it can be hard to get everyone on board, but a lot of recipes are kid friendly and can be combined with other ingredients to help with the transition! Start small, aim big! You’ll get there!
Thanks for reading!