How often are we running out the door in the morning? School, work, doctors appointment… you name it, we are always on the go. This is making it difficult for us to stay on track with our diets and exercise, always having an excuse to put it on the back burner. And when we finally get some down time, the last thing we want to do is plan out meals for a week. When I had started this journey, I was told meal prep is what will keep me on track to live a healthier lifestyle. The thought of spending hours on my Sundays off cooking in the kitchen sounded awful, but I knew it had to be done.
After spending three Sunday’s in the kitchen for 2+ hours at a time, I knew something had to change if I wanted to continue eating healthy. I took 15 minutes of my next Sunday morning thinking of fruits and vegetables that I genuinely enjoy that don’t involve cooking, along with protein I could prepare the same way, without getting bored of it. What I had come up with was not only simple, but enjoyable AND affordable!
I bought one dozen eggs, spinach, and broccoli. I would crack the eggs into a giant bowl with salt and pepper, chop up the spinach and broccoli, and mix that in with the eggs. I would pour this into muffin tins and cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. While that was in the oven, I would also put 5 chicken breasts in the oven, which conveniently cooks at the same temperature for the same amount of time! For the 20 minutes that took to bake, I’d cut and portion cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and strawberries, along with 5 bags of almonds. When the timer had gone off on the oven, my week of meals were prepared.
That’s all it took. Twenty minutes. I had cut my meal prep back by a good two hours, and I had 5 days of breakfast, lunches, and snacks! I am here to tell you that there is absolutely NO need to take more than a half hour on a Sunday to prep meals for the week. It not only makes it easier for you, but it leads you to live a healthier life style. Gone are the days of wasting $10 on an unhealthy lunch Monday through Friday. You no longer have to skip breakfast because you’re running late, or go to the vending machine for a snack! You’re whole day is pre-planned with healthy meals for you to enjoy 🙂
As for the quantity of food I was packing, I would have 3 of the egg muffins for breakfast at 8am. At noon, I would enjoy one chicken breast (about 6 ounces) seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper, with a 1/2 cup cucumber slices and a 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes. For a snack at 3pm, I would eat 1 cup of strawberries with a 1/4 cup of almonds. The food was always tasty, I never had to worry about reheating lunches if I wasn’t near a microwave, and breakfast only took 30 seconds to heat up in the morning!
As I had mentioned above, what kept this simple was cooking less. Find fruits and vegetables that you WANT to eat every day that don’t involve peeling or cooking (or chopping, if you’re really ambitious). Find meals you can enjoy without having to heat up if you know you won’t have access to a microwave or oven during the day. And again, create meals that you won’t get sick of half way through the week – otherwise you’ll be tempted to go out for lunch and waste what you had prepped. And please, ALWAYS incorporate a healthy fat in with every meal as this will hold you over longer than you might anticipate.
It takes time to figure out what you will enjoy eating every day for 5 or 6 days in a row. I enjoy most fruits and vegetables, but my problem was figuring out the best way to make prepping quick while keeping meals delicious. But once you find what works best for you, and you prep those meals for the week, nothing will stand in your way of living a healthy life!
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below 🙂