Monday, March 31, 2014

Meal Prep Monday - Healthy Meal Prepping (cont'd)

I may dedicate then next few Monday's to Meal prepping... Meal prep Monday has a nice ring to it right...

Okay so there are sooo many different ways you can meal prep so I will try to hit on each one of them.  You can do meals 1 week at a time you just have one big day of prep and have them ready to roll for the week.  You can partial prep so you just have to throw stuff together (this is my favorite because it leaves me options in case I am not in the mood for something I have already prepared).  You can do crockpot ready meals, you can do freezer meals, you can do pre made mixes, you can do a month at a time, you can do an extra meal each time you cook so you get them as you go and use as needed, you can do sooo many different things.  The key for me is you can meal prep and still end up with unhealthy meals so watch how you are prepping if healthy meals is the goal.

Here is my week prep.  I start with a calendar and put down what your weeks meals look like.  Currently with my marathon training I am eating 5 small meals a day with a carb, protein, and fat at each meal, with at least two of my meals having 2 fistfuls of green veggies.  Here is a calendar for you if you want to use it....

Weekly Meal Planner

Here is what mine looks like for this week:

Steel cut oats prepped and sectioned into containers, eggs boiled and marked, veggies and fruits (at least the ones you can) cut up and put into individual baggies for snacking, veggies cut up to throw in an omelet or tortilla wrap, green smoothies prepped in baggies.  My kids will snack on fruits and veggies if they are all ready for them so I will make little easy to grab baggies of them for my kiddos.   My kids love pancakes so I will make a big batch on Monday morning, and they have pancakes for 3 -4 mornings during the week, we just have to heat them up and put something on them.    So breakfast is solved for the week for the family.  I usually serve their breakfast with some type of fruit, and my youngest will eat green smoothies so we are good to go there.

The kids are really good to eat what we eat for dinner, sometimes there is a fight but mostly they are pretty good.  Lunch is an area I need to work on for my kids, it is usually a sandwich or quesadilla and then I always make sure they have either some fruits or veggies, so not terrible, but could be better.  Right now they are young enough that just eating can be a chore so one battle at a time.

Lunch:
I take and grill up a bunch of chicken so I have chicken ready to put on my tortillas for lunches.  If you really want to get organized, you can get each meal figured out and then section it out into baggies or container so all you have to do is grab the container and you are good to go.   Ziplocs work great for this.

On to Dinners:
On Sunday I cook a big batch of brown rice so it is ready for reheat, cook some black beans for a couple of meals during the week, get all my chicken that needs grilled marinating and thawing in my fridge.  Because I am using Sunday to prep everything and get it all ready for the week I am using Sunday night as a cheat meal (where I don't have to follow the rules)  We ended up having pancakes and bacon (a favorite cheat meal) so I got the pancakes ready for the week while we made dinner.

Sunday I cooked my chicken for my enchiladas in my crockpot and shredded it up, then placed it in wraps with black beans, rice and a bit of cheese with enchilada sauce rolled them up and placed them in a baking dish covered with enchilada sauce and a tiny bit more cheese (I am using a low fat cheese during the game on diet so as to follow with the rules, and a whole grain tortilla)  This is the type of recipe where I can sometimes sneak in some extra veggies all shredded up too and no one really notices.  This is all ready to throw in the oven and then I just need to put my asparagus in a pan with a bit of water and steam this (I like my asparagus freshly cooked and it doesn't take much time, but it is all cut up and ready to go).

Also on Sunday because I have 2 crockpots I cooked my pork tenderloin and shredded that for the pork salad. The beans are done, the rice is done all I need to do is throw it on a plate and add the ingredients I usually make the yummy Cafe Rio knock off dressing but because I am wanting to be healthier I am going to go with a cilantro vinaigrette dressing instead.  My kids don't love salad (they will eat it, but I usually make theirs into more of a burrito/taco type meal with a salad on the side.

The soup I can pre make completely, I take an onion and a couple stalks of celery chop it up and saute it with about a tsp of garlic in a tsp of coconut oil a pan.  Add 2 chicken breasts and 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth with a can of diced tomatoes, and black beans (drained) and cook on low for 1 hour.  Then pull out chicken and shred put back in with 1/2 bunch chopped cilantro and juice of 1 lime.  Place this in a container and all you have to do is reheat and dinner is ready.

On the Steak and potato night, I will have my potatoes washed and rolled in foil and ready to put in the oven, but I would rather have those fresh (you can do them in a crockpot too), and steak must be fresh and not reheated.  The grill is an easy go to when I am short on time.

For my roast, I will cut up any veggies I can and have them ready to put in with the roast, but this is another one that I want fresh and not reheated so I have it ready to put into the crockpot Saturday morning or Sunday night if my roast is frozen.  I will use water and either onion soup mix or ranch dressing mix to cook it in.  Don't add the veggies until a few hours before dinner so they don't over cook.  The potato cauliflower mash you can make in advance.  Get a couple red potatoes, a head of cauliflower and cut them up and steam them, then add in a bit of chicken or veggie broth, a bit of greek yogurt usually about 1/4 cup, and salt and pepper to taste, mash up and these can be put in the fridge to be reheated as well once your other food is done.

You can do this with almost any recipes, just take and figure out what reheats or get it as prepared as you can and sectioned out so you have minimal prep time in the kitchen on the day of.  I hope this helps you get through the week a bit easier.  I would love to know what tips and tricks you have tried to help with meal prepping and serving healthy meals your family will eat.  Next week I will have my friend Roxie posting on meal prep, as she is a meal prep master!

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