Meal Prep has become a Sunday routine I’ve grown to look forward to every week! I have always been a heathy eater. I am that girl people look at like I’m strange when I say I prefer a salad over a cheeseburger any day; even more when I say I don’t eat fast food. I guess I can blame (or thank) my mother for that. I can’t recall eating much fast food as a child, and we only went out to eat for certain occasions. I always believed, and still do, that my mama can cook better than any restaurant we could go to.
I started cooking as a teenager. My sister and I were homeschooled for the last couple years of high school. We “took” a cooking class from our mother. She taught us all the basics about spices, recipes, and my favorite one to this day: how to never follow a recipe! That may sound funny to some, but the more you cook, the more you realize recipes are more like guidelines that you must tweak into your own. If you are a beginner at cooking, STICK TO THE RECIPES! This week on my list to make includes: egg white bites, breakfast scramble, zucchini protein muffins, jambalaya, and taquitos! I will put a couple recipes at the end for you to try.
It’s time to get to why you should meal prep every week:
Number One: It is Healthier
That’s right folks, planning out your meals is a much healthier option to eating out. You get to control what you are putting into your body. When you read health magazines or articles on weight loss, planning and prepping the food you consume is the best way to manage, lose, or gain weight. Every individual has different nutritional needs with different body types. A small girl like me (5’6, 125 lbs) would not need or want to have the same amount of protein as a man who is 6’4 250 lbs. and can bench press twice his body weight! I love to make a variety of different meals and snacks since I eat all throughout the day. When you prep beforehand, all you have to do is look in the fridge for what sounds good.
Number Two: You Will Save Money!
Not only healthier, also lighter on your wallet! Think of it like this: The average amount spent on a meal, let’s say fast food, with a drink and side is going to cost around $10. If you eat out five times that week, you’ve just spent $50 on one meal for each day! This does not include the other two meals, so right away you know you have to more than triple that amount for the whole week.
I like to go shopping on the day I cook. Before going to the store, I write out a list of exactly what I need and stick to it. (Ok I don’t always stick to the list!) This way, everything is fresh and will last throughout the week. I spend on average about $150 per week to make breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. That equates to $50 per person- less than $10 per day for each of us! Sometimes it is a little more if I get fancy, but on average it stays that.
Number Three: Time Management
To those who eat out a lot or have never tried meal prep, it may sound funny to say you will save time taking a day to meal prep. It does not actually take the entire day. I would say with shopping, prepping, cooking, and clean up, probably about six total hours. On a different note, there is no time spent making any of these meals throughout the week. All meals and clean-up are quick and easy since you already did it earlier in the week. A couple bonuses could be if you ever over slept, you know you’d have something healthy and filling for the morning, and if you had to work late, you’d still have time to spend with loved ones.
Number Four: Quality Time
I have always either had two jobs or worked full time while going to school. Nowadays, that is very common. Everyone has busy lives and it seems even more than ever, people are just always in a rush. This is a good time to get together with a family member or friend and spend time together while both being productive and making memories. I love to cook with my sweetheart. We both have such busy schedules that it is sometimes hard for us to see each other. We will delegate who gets to do what (usually he gets to cut up all the meat) and at the end we celebrate our successful day together. Not only is it a productive day, but getting to do that with someone you care about makes it that much more enjoyable. I have also meal prepped with girlfriends as a ladies’ day/night in. The wine is much cheaper at home than going out!
Before I give away my yummy recipes, lets revisit why meal prep is the way to go. Not only will you save money and time, it is also a great way to stay healthy while enjoying the company of some of your favorite people!
Below are a couple recipes of fun, easy recipes which I made this week. I am always making something new and delightful so if you need new ideas I will be sure to share more soon!
Egg White Bites
I would say the best thing about these are you can literally put whatever you like in them. I love using just the egg whites personally, but you could use regular scrambled eggs as well. Tweak the veggies, add meat and potatoes, make them your own. This is the way I love them because they are super light in calories and high in protein.
1 32oz box of egg whites
1 Large bell pepper (all colors are good in my opinion!)
1 large tomato or a handful or some cherry tomatoes
½ a small red onion
fresh basil (or dried if you don’t have fresh)
Cracked black pepper
1 jalapeno (spice is life!)
Optional: a small amount of Romano or Parmesan cheese on top!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put aside a cupcake tin. Dice up veggies and mix in a bowl. Use sauce brush to coat the pan with olive oil. Fill with veggies. Pour egg whites over veggies. Top with fresh cracked black pepper, fresh basil, and a sprinkle of Romano cheese. Throw in oven for 20-25 mins. Take out to cool down. Place two in the center of your plate and top with fresh salsa and avocado! Enjoy, they are so yummy!
I LOVE Jambalaya. It is always hearty and delightful. I’m not going to lie though, today was a spur of the moment, let’s make jambalaya sort of day! My roommate aka my little brother always tells me that we have too much food in the house. Too much!? There is no such thing as too much food! Especially for this want to be fat kid. I took his advice and looked through the freezer to see both kielbasa (always priced good in a three pack at Costco) and four small chicken breasts. Bel Air had this crazy 4 for $1 sale of red and yellow bell peppers so I decided to buy 24 bell peppers. (I may really like them!) Thus, the perfect start to make crockpot jambalaya!
4 small chicken breasts (or two large)
1 small red onion
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
2 cups rice. I personally don’t eat white rice so I use a wild blend. Lundeberg Wild Rice is what I really like and used today.
3 ½ cups of chicken broth. (if you don’t have chicken broth substitute with water and add 2 bouilion cubes)
1 14oz can of petite diced tomatoes with green chilies (or substitute with regular petite diced tomatoes)
1 jalapeno (optional)
1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp Cajun spice (to taste)
1 tbsp basil
1 tsp oregano
2 tbsp minced garlic or 1 tbsp garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
dash of salt
Cut up chicken and kielbasa into bite sized pieces. (Yes, the man did have to cut the meat). Dice up veggies. Throw everything into the crockpot on high. Stir together. Forget about it if you’d like, or be like me and check on it every hour hoping it is ready so you can eat it. Once ready, eat every 30 minutes feeling no guilt because it’s too amazing to even care.