Recently, I have dubbed myself the Meal Prep Queen :-)
At my old job, my schedule was so crazy and random that I didn't have time to prepare my lunches in advance. So I ate fast food at least 4 days a week, and chips and candy on the other days. My food choices began to show on my bank account (eating from the dollar menu starts to add up!) and on my body :-( Now that I have a normal, predictable schedule, I have the time to better prepare my meals for the week. I can honestly say that prepping has saved my life! I don't spend nearly as much money on food, my morning routine is much smoother without having to think about lunches, and I'm losing weight!
Basically, I have a ritual that I do every single weekend. Saturday, I plan out my meals and go grocery shopping; and on Sunday, I cook and pack. It's that simple! All you need is about an hour or two to cook (depending on what you're making), and at least 5 food storage containers (one for each day of the work week).
Here are a few essentials that I include in my weekly meals:
I cook maybe two different types of meat just to add some variety throughout the week. I'm not a fan of eating the same exact thing every day, so this just makes my lunch a little more exciting. Since it is only me, I calculate how much I would eat in a week. If you have a family to prep for, this may be a little more difficult. NOTE: Sometimes, I don't feel like cooking for 5 days, so I may cook for two or three days, and whip something else up in the middle of the week! This also prevents meal boredom :-)
I try to aim for healthy carbs, such as brown rice or sweet potatoes. I especially love brown rice because it's very cheap and a little goes a long way (2 cups = a week!). Since it does last all week, I switch up my meat and veggies for more variation.
My favorite part of the meal! I don't really cook veggies to last the whole week just because they tend to rot faster. I cook my veggies for two days at a time and make more as needed. Most vegetables only take a few minutes to cook so it's not a big deal. My favorites are steamed broccoli, sautéed spinach, and zucchini. They go with everything!
I love fruit! For me, it takes the place of a dessert at the end of a meal. I just buy whatever is in season and throw it in my lunchbox.
I don't know about you, but I'm always hungry! Since I'm a teacher, I don't have time to take a 15 minute snack break each day. So I take things that I can easily munch on while walking the kids to P.E. or while taking them to the bathroom. I usually measure out the serving size of a snack and pack them into sandwich baggies (This keeps me from overeating). I love to snack on almonds just because you don't need many of them to curb your appetite for a while.
Sidenote: Some weeks, I just don't want to cook so I prepare salads for the week. One thing that I love about salads is you can add whatever ingredients you want to add variety. Also, they are so easy to pack.
This week's meals barely took any effort. I wasn't feeling very fancy this week lol. I've been encouraging everyone I know to meal prep just because it's so convenient! In the morning, I just throw my lunch and snacks in my lunchbox and go. In the evenings, I already have something prepared to eat, so I don't have to cook. It's well worth the effort! Also, I'll post more meals throughout the weeks!