Ask any one who eats healthy what the most important rule is to keeping on track. I bet you that many people will tell you it’s food preparation!
Food prep? Why do you need to do that?!
It’s a simple reason. Life gets busy. You work late, or you have social events during the week. Not much TIME to figure out what you’re gonna make and cook dinner.
You also need to fit a workout into your schedule…and if your workout has to be scheduled in the morning, where is your TIME to get your lunch packed? How much time will you have to get your breakfast made if you have to workout and shower and make lunch? Isn’t it so much easier to skip a workout and grab lunch on the go instead?
You may think that living healthy is too expensive. Or, you may think it takes too much TIME. I know that time is a precious commodity, because for all of us TIME = MONEY.
But to me, and probably to you, time is more than that. Time is spent with your loved ones. Time is spent doing little things that make you happy.
So, we need to make sure that we are using our TIME as WISELY as we can! Especially those coveted minutes during the weeknights – the time that you want (and need to) RELAX.
Let me tell you now, you don’t have to spend a TON of time trying to eat healthy every.single.day.
All you need to do is food prep!
On weekends, I grocery shop and food prep. Today I wanted to provide an example of what my family does to get ready for the week. (Yes – while my husband is the grillmaster of the household, he does get pulled into the kitchen to help make meals, too!)
This prep can be split up between different sessions in the kitchen over the weekend. For example, while you’re making Saturday breakfast or brunch, go ahead and chop some extra veggies or whip up a batch of muffins! It will only add 20 minutes or so to the time you’re in there.
In today’s post, we’re gonna go through two things.
First, a bunch of examples of what you COULD prep.
Then, you’re going to meal plan and make your checklist!
Ideas on What to Prep
- Breakfast are easy and delicious. They also reheat well! Try these sweet potato or Mexican breakfast casserole recipes.
- Overnight oats could be made in big batches or in separate containers
Protein Ideas for Dinners and Lunches
We will prepare a select protein for lunches all week, and whatever other recipes I have planned for dinner at night during the week. Here are some examples of things you can prep.
- Chicken breast (we will make 3-4 pounds), prepared in one of three ways:
- In the crockpot, and shredded
- Grilled! My favorite way.
- Baked: clean up, bake at 350 for 40 minutes in a pan with chicken broth and desired seasoning (This is no longer my favorite method, but can be done if you need to!)
- Ground Turkey
- Cod and other fish we will thaw. It doesn’t take too long to cook, and we will have sides already prepared to go with it
Healthy Carbs for Dinners and Lunches
- Brown rice or quinoa
- Baked or roasted sweet or white potatoes (used as snacks)
- Thoroughly rinsed canned black beans or soaked dried ones (goes with eggs, salads, tacos)
- Pureed or mashed cauliflower (YES! Always a favorite)
- Others that I keep on hand and prep from time to time
- Old fashioned oats
- Whole wheat bread
- Whole wheat pasta
- Corn tortillas
These are a HUGE time saver! Try some of these or search Google or Pinterest for crockpot meals, you will find so many!
- Black and white bean chicken chili
- Potato soups
- Try one of the pork tenderloin recipes listed above
- Shredded chicken for tacos, salads, pastas, sandwiches
Batch pasta recipes or casseroles
- I always make some kind of dip or spread for veggies and crackers
- Wash and make ziplocks of grapes
- Peel and slice veggies (carrots, celery, cucumbers, broccoli)
- Chop veggies for salads or sauteing with dinner
- Thaw frozen peas or edamame for salads
- Hard boiled eggs (I don’t always do this one since I eat a lot of eggs for breakfast)
- Chop fruit like cantaloupe
- Roasted chickpeas
- Crockpot applesauce
- Cook other veggies that I’ve put on my meal plan for dinner
- Portion out Greek yogurt and protein powder for yogurt bowls
- Try adding peanut butter granola
- One baked good of choice – usually muffins
- Other snacks usually include: bananas, cottage cheese, almonds, whole wheat crackers and Laughing Cow cheese wedges
Meal Plan and Make Your Food Prep Checklist
Meal planning is a MUST! I only meal plan different dinners, and my lunches are usually the same each day (protein/veggie/carb), or leftovers from dinner. But, making a meal plan helps me figure out what it is I even want to prep for the week. Check out any of my weekly meal plans for ideas!
You do NOT need to make everything on this list above – oh my gosh, that would be so much food. It’d probably feed the Duggar family for a week! I don’t make everything on this list. I choose certain items I know I’ll want and use for the week!
Start out simple! Pick out a breakfast item, 1-2 protein dishes, a complex carb, a casserole or crockpot dish, and 2-3 snacks to prep. See how long that lasts you, and whether or not you actually use all these items in a week.
Use this post as a guide – download the food prep checklist!
Maybe it will take you a few weeks to figure out exactly what you need to prep to get your family through the week. But once you do figure it out – it’ll be worth it!