Meal Prep 102: What’s inside

Hey guys! I decided to write this blog per my sister’s request. After reading my last post, she really liked it, but wanted to know more. You see, my sister and I are always swapping recipes and meals to try in the upcoming weeks. My sister and brother are some of the best cooks I have encountered, next to my mom, (even though they don’t realize it). If either of them suggests a recipe, you can bet I’m trying it the next week!

In my last blog, I mentioned that when starting to live a healthier lifestyle, it’s 80% your diet and 20% exercise. I want to state this again here because it’s so important for us all to really wrap our heads around this idea:

  • Every 7-10 years most of the cells in our bodies change entirely.
  • Those cells change based on the foods we put into our bodies.
  • If you have eaten healthy fruits and vegetables the past couple years, you’re probably in pretty good shape.
  • If you’ve eaten lots of french fries and pizza … well not so much. 

If you’re part of the former, great, you can still learn some creative ideas here. If you’re part of the latter, well then this is your time to change for the better!  

In the quest for health and fitness, people go on crash diets, and we watch celebrities remain a size 0 for their entire lives–yet I can’t help think they aren’t telling us the whole story. When celebrities come out with lifestyle books, like Cameron Diaz’s “The Body Book” or Kate Hudson’s book “Pretty Happy”, I buy them and read every word. I’ve actually read both books twice to make sure I didn’t miss anything, but that’s not the point. The point is for us all to share to help each other. This is my attempt to do this, using my favorite subject in the whole world. Food.

As part of a healthier lifestyle, meal prepping can prove to be very valuable. It’s our own way to guarantee that we are creating healthy meals for ourselves all week long. Eliminating the last minute breakfast, lunch or dinner, or ideally, all three. By meal prepping, you know exactly how your meals are being prepared, you know exactly where your food is coming from, you can portion it out to make sure you’re not overeating, and you know exactly how much your spending on food every week.

So let’s get to it, what exactly am I eating?!

I also mentioned in my Meal Prep 101 blog that I eat a lot of the same thing. I change it a little once in a while, but being consistent with variations sprinkled in is the easiest and fastest way to get my meals prepped every week.   

Before I dive into any of my meals, I need to note that I am NOT a doctor or nutritionist. I have just read a lot of books and articles, watched a lot of documentaries, consulted doctors, nutritionists and health professionals.  From all of that, I have put together what works best for me personally. I encourage you to read, try out new things and listen to what your body is telling you. Whatever feels good, keep doing that. Whatever you hate, drop it.

My general rule of thumb every day for every meal is to get as many vegetables in as humanly possible. Vegetables are like magic pills for our bodies, giving us the vitamins, nutrients, and fibers our bodies need to prevent disease and function at its overall peak state. I also love vegetables, cook them the right way, or tuck them away in dishes and you would never even know they were in.

As a reminder, I break my day out into four major meals and one nighttime snack.  

BREAKFAST:

Breakfast shake
Photo by Tara Evans on Unsplash

I typically have a shake. This is mostly for convenience. I drink my shake on my car ride to work every day. It’s quick, easy and not messy. My shake typically consists of spinach, a fruit, Chia or ground flax seeds, almond milk, peanut butter, and hemp protein powder. The fruit is always changing whether it’s a banana, berries, or frozen mango – whatever sounds delicious to me that week. 

Another great on-the-go breakfast option is egg pods and steel-cut oats. I am pretty sure I made up the term “egg pod”, but it is essentially a pre-baked egg. You crack a bunch of eggs into a bowl, add some chopped spinach, maybe tomatoes or cheese, then mix it together. Then, I take a muffin or cupcake tin, spray it with non-stick spray, and then divide the egg mixture into each little tin. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 or 400 degrees and then you have yourself egg pods! They are delicious and super easy to make for your grab and go morning.

If I have egg pods, I usually need something else, so I have a little oatmeal. My favorite is cooking steel cut oats. I like them because they feel hardier than rolled oats. I always make my steel cut oats with almond milk to make it creamy, and then add cinnamon and vanilla extract.

LUNCH:

kale and quinoaFor my lunches, one always will have a carb and one will not. Some of my favorite lunch combos are:

  1. Quinoa with slightly roasted kale, peppers, and avocado with a fried egg if I work from home. If I’m at work, I swap the fried egg with white beans.
  2. Zoodles with broccoli and pesto sauce with grilled or fried shrimp.
  3. Veggie burger on an Ezekiel muffin or two pieces of Ezekiel bread with lettuce, tomato, roasted peppers, and pesto sauce.
  4. Tomato, cucumber and cubed with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a veggie burger or shrimp.

This will always vary on the season and what vegetables are more available. I am trying to eat more with the seasons because it’s better for us, the foods are cheaper, and it’s more sustainable. If you have ever tried to buy blueberries in January vs. June, you will totally understand.

DINNER:

I try to have a little more fun with my dinner meals. If I can, I like to cook it the night of and just have what I am cooking cut, prepped and ready to throw in the oven. The problem is, I pack three of my dinners every week because I teach at my sister’s yoga/barre studio certain nights. Therefore, I only have the luxury of cooking my dinners on Tuesday and Friday nights.  With that said, my weeknight meals are still generally simple. I try more complex things when I have more time on the weekends.

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When I prep my dinners for the nights I am working at the  studio, I typically cook salmon or cod, while separately baking/cooking string beans, roasted carrots, and parsnips with an avocado (sliced on top after the veggies are done). The string beans I typically just boil in water, but the carrots and parsnips are fun. I roast those in the oven with olive oil, garlic salt and pepper. Delicious!  Seriously, so freaking good.

 

 

 

When I am home for dinner I get to try fun things. Some of my go-tos are:

  1. Spaghetti squash with roasted mushrooms and onions in a quick red sauce
  2. Cod (or any readily available white fish) cooked in a white wine sauce with panko crumbs, along with asparagus and brown rice/cauliflower rice
  3. Roasted butternut squash and brussel sprouts over sauteed kale or barley with craisins.
  4. Veggie burgers on a house salad with sweet potato fries on the side

 

NIGHTTIME SNACK:

When I get home from the studio, it can be as late as 9:30 pm, but I ate my dinner at 5 pm, so I tend to be pretty hungry! Some nights I like to have just a little something. Most nights I will have fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries. Yes, I am a total weirdo and love to eat frozen fruit.  On the nights I am hungrier I will have a handful or two of unsalted nuts and dried fruit. For me, it’s that little bit of sweetness that tastes like dessert. =]

If I am really wanting a sweet, I always have a bar of organic 70-80% dark chocolate that I will take a chunk of.

darkchocolate.jpg

So there you have it. What’s inside my meal preps. The foods I am making and LOVING … Feel free to share in the comments your own meal go-tos.

Until next time, happy prepping!

-Emily

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