Let’s talk meal plan and prep! Sunday is the day that I use to meal plan and prep, so I wanted to share my tips on meal planning and preparation. This is a very important part of eating healthy, especially for people who are on the go, working, or busy all day! It will help you stay on track and make healthy choices throughout your day.
I always try to plan my meals for the week. I sit down on the weekend and write out all of the meals for the week. Then I make a list and go shopping for all of the food I will need for the week. Stick to the list! It is easy to get side tracked and buy food that is NOT on the list. I always suggest shopping the perimeter of the store for your fruits/veggies, meats, and dairy and AVOID the center aisles as much as possible.
So what am I planning for this week? Many of you may know that I am doing the 21 Day Fix program, so my meals are planned around that. I focus on eating healthy whole foods in correct portion sizes (If you are curious about this program and want more details you can click here and I will contact you with all of the details!). So here goes:
Breakfast: I am a creature of habit and have 1 of 2 meals for breakfast. I either have scrambled eggs with fresh fruit and a slice of Ezekiel bread topped with all natural peanut butter or a chocolate protein shake. My favorite chocolate protein shake recipe is:
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 scoop of chocolate vegan Shakeology
- 1/2 of a banana
- 4-5 frozen strawberries
- 2 tsp natural peanut butter
- handful of ice
Blend for 30 seconds and enjoy
Lunch: Again, I am not very creative with lunch! I usually make a salad or have chicken paired with a healthy carbohydrate such as quinoa or sweet potato and a veggie. I stay away from store bought dressings and make my own.
Dinner: Ok…so here is where I get creative! I make dinner every night and generally the entire family eats the same thing (thank goodness!). This is what I have planned this week:
- Monday– Hamburgers (no bun), grilled veggies, and baked sweet potato. I spear my sweet potatoes and bake them in the oven at 425 degrees for an hour. They are delicious and you do not even need butter. Sometimes I sprinkle a little cinnamon on the sweet potato and the kids love it!
- Tuesday– Taco Tuesday! Every Tuesday we make tacos. I fry up hamburg or turkey, add my homemade taco seasoning (see below), and top with lettuce, tomato, avocado, corn etc…
-1 lb lean ground turkey or beef-1 tsp Cumin powder-1/2 tsp Chili Powder-1/2 tsp Garlic Powder-1/2 tsp Dried Oregano-Salt and Pepper to taste
- Wednesday-Broiled chicken with Flavor God seasoning (I coat chicken with desired seasoning and place it on a foil lined cookie sheet. I then broil it for 5-6 minutes on each side until cooked all the way through), spinach and mushroom quinoa, and roasted asparagus. I wash and clean my asparagus and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Heat the oven to 425 and cook asparagus for 10-12 minutes or until tender.
- Thursday-Bacon wrapped chicken with maple balsamic Brussels sprouts and sweet potato fries. For my bacon wrapped chicken I simple wrap each piece of chicken with 2 pieces of nitrate free turkey bacon, then place it on a cookie sheet (lined with foil) and bake at 425 degrees for approximately 40-45 minutes or until cooked through. The recipe for the maple balsamic Brussels sprouts is:
-1 bag of Trader Joe’s shaved Brussles sproutsDressing-1 tsp Dijon mustard-2 tsp balsamic vinegar-1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil.-2 tsp maple syrup (I use real Maple syrup)-Salt and pepper to taste-1 Tbsp raw chopped walnuts-1/4 cup cranberriesCook shredded Brussels spouts until tender in a sauté pan. Combine the dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup in a mixing bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while you whisk to emulsify. Then season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Toss dressing with cooked shredded Brussels sprouts. Add in cranberries and chopped walnuts. Enjoy!
- Friday– Zoodles and meatballs (see my post on how to make homemade meatballs and zoodles)
Meal prep is a very important part of eating healthy, especially for people who are on the go, working, or busy all day! Meal prepping will help you stay on track and make healthy choices throughout your day. On Sunday I take some time to do some meal prep. That way I am ready to go on Monday!
Foods I Prep for the Week:
-Lean meats–You can bake, broil or grill chicken and fish and/or brown up lean turkey meat or beef. I like to add seasoning to my meat to give it some extra flavor. Try adding some seasoning to your chicken and broiling it for 5-6 minutes on each side. This helps to keep it moist in the center. I use this chicken throughout the week for salads and dinner
-Veggies/fruits – I like to chop and toss my veggies in a little bit of olive oil and sea salt and roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Steaming vegetables is another great option. I also clean and prepare all of the veggies that I will need for salads, such as cucumbers, celery, carrots, and lettuce. This saves me time during the week. Lastly, I like to wash and prep some of my fruit like grapes, pineapples, melons, cherries etc…so they are ready for everyone to grab for a quick snack. I find that if the fruit is already washed and cut, my kids and husband are more likely to eat it.
After Meal Prep
After you prep your food you can separate them for easy lunches or dinners using your portion containers. Be sure to include a protein, carb, and veggie/fruit for each meal. If you know that you will be eating lunch at work or on the go I suggest using divided containers, such as the divided containers made by Ziploc, to store your lunches. That way you can grab them out of the refrigerator in the morning and go!
Don’t forget about snacks! Be sure to have at least 2 healthy snacks per day. Use your containers to measure out foods that you can have on hand for a healthy snack. Examples are fruits, veggies, hummus, nuts, sunflower seeds, cheese, hard boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese. Always be prepared with a healthy snack if you are on the go. Place things like nuts, seeds, fruits, and veggies in a ziploc bag so you can quickly grab them and run out the door. This will help you avoid making unhealthy choices while you are out and hungry! I found these great portion control snack bags at Target. They are perfect for snacks on the go.
If you have any additional tips for meal planning and prep, please feel free to share! I would love to hear them!!