Meal Prep Hacks!
It's time to get started on next week's meal prep! Here are a tips and HACKS to make weekly prep painless. Save time in the kitchen and spend more time focusing on YOU (and that body you're building beautiful!)
- Cook ONCE! - Plan your meals at least one week in advance. Set aside a few hours, on whichever day of the week you prefer to prepare your meals. We've all been there, the fridge is full, with tupperware in toe but, a few days into the week, you find yourself feeling blah! Chanting to yourself, "do I really have to eat this AGAIN"...Well, you know what they say, "eat according to your goals". Be sure to prep multiple proteins and veggies (fresh or frozen) to keep your hunger satisfied. For example, chicken breasts and white fish, or leaner cuts of your "it's nice to have you sometime" proteins (turkey, ground beef, etc.) HACK - Flavor your proteins (and veggies) a few different ways and bake all at once! Use foil as a pan divider if needed. If you chop and skewer your proteins, you'll have readily available portions. Let's say one skewer of chicken holds 4oz. You can quickly prep, without the need to weigh each meal (not to mention it's more fun to eat).
CSCJ FLAVOR FAVES:
- Teriyaki - low sodium teriyaki glaze (add one packet of bourbon seasoning if your macros allow to make it bourbon!)
- Pesto - Garlic, Basil, Toasted Pine Nuts, Parmesan Cheese (a dab will do) & OO (skip the cheese if desired!)
- "Fried" Chicken - Rice crisp cereal, your favorite spices, and a splash of OO for coating.
- Keep it SIMPLE - You've been googling all week and you've prepared the perfect list of meals for the week. While this may sound exciting, purchasing multiple ingredients can get expensive and you may end up spending more time in the kitchen then desired, if you're striving to be a Food Network star. Choose a few staple items that you enjoy, and finds ways to incorporate them into multiple meals. HACK - Tupperware everything including your snacks! This will help you to stay on plan, as you'll always have a tasty (and macro friendly treat) available to eat. You can also refrigerate jars of your favorite salad mixes w/ vinaigrette, zucchini spiral pastas w/ light sauce, oatmeal blends w/ greek yogurt, fruit, nuts, etc.
CSCJ FLAVOR FAVES:
- Balsamic Chicken Berry Salad - grilled chicken breast, balsamic vinaigrette, mixed greens, and a few strawberries for a touch of sweetness
- Apple Raisin Oats - oats, almond milk, 1/2 apple, 1/4 cup raisins, cinnamon, swirl of light agave (optional)
- Veggie Pasta - spiral zucchini and yellow squash, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, crushed almonds (ditch the cheese)
- Fill The Freezer - While fresh produce and cuts directly from the butcher are optimal, times will come when you want to preserve your food budget and continue to reap the benefits of clean eating! Most cuts of meat can last weeks (if not months) in the freezer, and frozen veggies are very cost effective. Where possible buy in bulk, portion, and freeze. HACK - You can portion just about anything, proteins, smoothie ingredients, pre-cooked cauliflower rice, assorted veggies, etc. Nothing blows the day like having to spend extra time preparing your side dishes or chopping produce for each meal.
CSCJ FLAVOR FAVES:
- Strawberry PB Smoothie - Strawberries or sugar free jam, oats, PB, vanilla whey protein, dash of cinnamon, almond milk
- Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice - "riced cauliflower", cilantro, garlic, scallions (heat with OO or non-fat spray & toss with lime juice before serving!)
- Cook Slow - You rarely see a meal plan that doesn't include chicken breasts! After all it's a lean mean fat fighting machine with loads of protein to fuel your body and help preserve muscle and achieve new gains. If not prepared properly it dries out quickly (understatement). If time allows, cook slow! Find a liquid base you like such as low sodium chicken broth or veggie broth, pile in your protein (and veggies if desired), spices of your choice, and let it simmer away. The result will be a much more desirable, tender, juicy, dish, that's bound to disappear from your plate. You know you've done good, when the naughty eaters in your house, come back begging for more! HACK - If slow cooking isn't your thing, and you're looking for quick prep recipes, consider baking! Egg white muffin tins with veggies or baked protein treats are great for breakfast (gives your usual breakfast ingredients a spin) and broiled meats cook in just a portion of the regular time (don't forget the liquid, vinegar is great for retaining moisture, and let it cook low).
CSCJ FLAVOR FAVES:
- Chicken & Rice Stew - Chopped chicken breasts, sliced onion, carrots, brown rice, low sodium veggie broth (season to taste)
- Turkey Chili - lean ground turkey, tomatoes, black beans, garlic, chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper
- Spice it up - Spices will become your BFF during prep! They're a great way to add extra flavor to dishes without acquiring excess calories. There are tons of spices out there but, a few staples you might want to consider are garlic, onion, and chili powder (and salt and pepper of course --- take it easy on the sodium though!) HACK - Dollar/bargain shops often have a pretty good supply of dried herbs and spices. If you're looking to experiment and see what flavors you like, this is the place to do it. In addition to this, you can find inexpensive complex carbs such as oats, whole grain toast, and assorted wraps. Grocery bill going down for the win!