If the expression meal prep conjures up images of fitness bloggers standing proudly next to a table full of matching tupperwares all filled with identical portions of lean chicken, broccoli and sweet potato, you’re not alone. I get that it must make it so much easier for the fitness blogger mums to stay on track with pre packaged portions, but I really don’t know if I could handle eating exactly the same thing every day; and who has space for so many tupperwares?!
The concept of Meal Prep, preparing a batch of meals in advance, saves a load of time and doesn’t need to take hours! You probably already do a bit of meal prepping already, even if you don’t call it that.
My meal prep has three clear objectives: 1. spend less money eating out during the week, 2. avoid cooking everyday and 3. eat heathy home cooked food on a daily basis. Whilst I do enjoy cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, I hate feeling under pressure to cook everyday. I normally spend one or two hours on a Sunday afternoon to make a few dishes which I mix and match over the week.
Sunday was my day to prepare a week’s worth of food
Last week I took advantage of a lazy Sunday to get my cook on for the week. No difficult recipes, no long cooking times, I simply made a few things that I could put together in different ways for a week of lunches without feeling like I was eating the same thing every day. Here’s what I came up with:
1. I like to prepare a big undressed salad, that way I can grab a handful and pop it on my plate without ceremony. I added some grated carrot and beetroot for texture. The cabbage can be either used as a salad or can be easily made into a vinagrete as the week progresses.
2. The broccoli was lightly steamed without seasoning, as was the sweet potato, that way I can choose the seasoning I want at that moment. If I know I will have a particularly demanding day I like to have sweet potato with almond butter for breakfast to give me an energy boost and the presence of garlic would not be very welcome first thing in the morning. 😉
3. Quinoa and whole grain rice pasta are great to mix with salads. I like to store some chopped coriander, or another herb, in a little pot to sprinkle my dishes as and when, I always find that when I leave the bunch whole, I never manage to use all of it before it goes bad. I made a super easy chick pea curry with red onion and coconut milk that took all of 15 minutes.
4. I spiralized 3 courgettes and froze them in a bag for a quick “freezer” meal anytime of the week. The butternut squash was chopped and roasted with a touch of honey, balsamic vinegar, lime and garlic. A truly delicious combination!
5. And last but my no means least, the sauces. This tomato sauce is zero effort. Simply wash 5-6 tomatoes, cut them in half and place on a roasting tray. Season with salt, olive oil, garlic and a good helping of basil. Roast on a low heat for 20 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, remove skins with a fork (they will just slip off) and blend in a food processor and hey presto, healthy tomato sauce in minutes! The other sauce was supposed to be a pesto, but in the absence of any kind of nut, pine or otherwise, I opted to experiment with an avocado, spinach, lemon and garlic combo, it was delicious!
Meal Prep, The End Result
Ok, so I admit, I ended up exaggerating a little in terms of quantity, but everything was eaten within 10 days. I took 3 tupperwares to the office with me on the Monday and I had food for the whole week! My weeks aren’t always this well organised, but when I mange it, I definitely feel better prepared to face the week! What did you think? Is Meal Prep worth it? Have you got any other suggestions for healthy, time saving dishes? Let me know in the comments below.