{ Meal Prep for Beginners }

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Meal prep, or preparing large amounts of healthy food for the week at one time, does not have to be rocket science. Sure, it will leave you tired and your kitchen a mess, but it is so well worth it when you can run out the door in the morning with your breakfast and lunch already packed and portioned. Plus, I’d rather get my kitchen dirty once than all week long! It dawned on me that I often write recipes for people who enjoy cooking. What about those, such as my cousin, who claim they are lazy or can’t cook? Here are a few ways to cook for your workweek in ways that are very basic, time efficient, and healthy. Stay tuned for the breakfast edition . .

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First, choose your favorite protein, veggie, and starch. I recommend starting out with these three staples, but as you get quicker and better at meal prepping, you can do two proteins, two veggies, and two starches to switch things up.

Adjust serving sizes depending on weight loss or weight gain goals. This is why a food scale (at Bed Bath and Beyond) comes in handy. It may sound crazy, like it’s only for bodybuilders, but you would be amazed at how wrong we get our portions.

Here are some ideas for one person, but double ingredients for two, or triple if you are feeding a 6’4 man who eats every two hours! Check with a nutritionist or a health coach to determine what your serving sizes should be.

The key is, with all of these recipes, is that you will be freezing leftovers. Make sure you have plenty of containers for your food. You will want some to use for the week, and some to label and place in the freezer for another week.

Some essentials for meal prep:

  • Crockpot
  • Food Scale
  • Basic cookware
  • Tupperware

Here is a simple way to do a LOT of chicken:

  • 2-3 pounds thin-sliced chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegarette dressing
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  1. Remove any gristle (white parts) from the chicken
  2. Place in all ingredients in Crockpot, toss to coat chicken evenly with seasonings and dressing
  3. Cook covered on low for about 8 hours.
  4. To serve, you can sprinkle your favorite seasonings on top if you need to. We use Lawry’s or Tony Chachere’s, but if you are concerned with sodium try salt-free versions.
  5. For meal prepping – you can weigh out your portions (about 4-5 ounces per person) and place in Tupperware.

 

For your starch, I recommend either a huge pot of brown rice, or baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.

Buy the big bags of brown rice from the grocery store and cook to package directions. Season with soy sauce, light butter, hot sauce, salt and pepper, or your favorite seasonings. Place about 1 cup in each Tupperware container with your protein.

If you prefer a baked potato or sweet potato, try to choose 5 or  6 that are relatively the same size so that they cook evenly.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Rinse potatoes with water, pat dry.
  3. Stab with a fork a few times.
  4. Place in the oven on a baking sheet.
  5. After one hour, try slicing into potatoes to see if they are done. Do not increase temperature if they are not or break up into pieces, just let them cook for another 20 or so.
  6. Cut in half and place in Tupperware with your meat.

 

An easy veggie to meal prep would be steamed broccoli.

  1. Buy about 4 heads broccoli.
  2. Trim giant stalks off, break broccoli into pieces.
  3. In a large pot or deep pan, place broccoli in about two inches of water. You don’t need to cover completely, the key is to steam.
  4. Cover and bring water to boil.
  5. Steam about 5-8 minutes.
  6. Check broccoli at about 5 minutes and pierce with a fork. You want there to be a “bite” to it.
  7. Drain broccoli in collander.
  8. Place about 1-2 cups broccoli in Tupperware with chicken and starch.
  9. Optional seasonings: Soy sauce, salt-free seasonings, light butter

 

Since this is just breaching the surface of a healthy meal prep, please post your meal prep questions in the comments and stay tuned for more blogs on this topic.

 

 

More Posts:

Healthy On-the-Go Breakfasts to Take to Work }

No Excuses! Tips for Getting Your Workout Done When Traveling

Healthy Red Beans and Rice Recipe

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

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For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

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