It's Monday. I'm one of those weird people that really like Mondays! I feel like it's a new beginning. If I had a crappy time last week it doesn't matter anymore because Monday is the start of a beautiful fresh week. It's the perfect day to get organised for the next several days ahead. Now I understand that some people won't have the time to meal prep on a Monday and might find a lazy Sunday a better option but Meal Prep Sunday doesn't quite have the same ring to it....
Meal prepping involves cooking and storing your meals for several days so you will ultimately save time in the kitchen during the week and be less tempted to make bad food choices. Once you get the hang of meal prepping it becomes quite easy. Most of us can multitask in the kitchen anyway, so having a few more things cooking at once shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Your meals can get a little repetitive but I try to use as many different seasonings and sauces as I can and try to mix up the veg each day.
So what should a standard prep meal have? Generally a protein, complex carbohydrate and a mix of veg making around 1 cup.
You can make yourself a list of meals that you would like during the week and then you can write out your shopping list. Aim to buy in bulk for extra savings. Make sure you are also measuring your meals so you have correct portion sizes. Don't forget to have an array of plastic containers (good quality stuff that won't leak). So what should you choose?
- Chicken Breasts - Boneless, Skinless - Chicken thighs (okay for specific recipes)
- Minced Beef – 85% lean or higher - Minced Turkey
- Fish – Salmon, Tuna, Prawns, firm white fish
- Eggs (hard boil a bunch for the week for snacks or scramble for breakkie)
- Steak, Pork, or Sausage are all options too, but best kept to a minimum
Vegetarian or Vegan? Try plant based proteins:
- Beans (black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, etc.) edamame, tofu, tempeh
- Carbohydrate options: opt for whole grain, complex carbohydrates as your fuel
- Quinoa - Oats - Sweet potato - Brown rice - Wraps
- Pasta - Rice Varieties: Jasmine, Basmati, Wild Grain, Etc.
- Buckwheat - Amaranth
(there are other options as well but I just gave a 'basic' list)
- Vegetable options:
- Spinach - Green Beans - Mushrooms - Asparagus - Broccoli
- Cucumber - Zucchini - Kale - Bok Choy - Carrots
- Red, Yellow, Orange Capsicum - Sugar Snap Peas - Tomatoes
Of course there are many others you can add, I like to add lots of garlic for flavour, red onion for sweetness, low fat cheese, and a mixture of nuts to salads and also for snacks. Now you have your ingredients you can choose how to cook them. Steaming the veg is a great option and poaching chicken breast in stock is great to then shred up the chicken for salads, wraps and even tacos. Keep mixing up your spices to keep things interesting.
Oats can be pre made for breakfast (overnight oats), and you can bag up your own snacks, try boiled eggs, veg sticks, nuts and dried fruit, or opt for low fat, high protein yoghurt.
Now you have your basics you can start your meal prepping journey and soon become a master meal prepper! Let me know some of your amazing meal prep recipes.