I didn't always used to be a fan of meal prepping. However, now that I've got the routine down, I have learned that it really is quite simple and affordable.
If you're on a budget, meal prep services are out of question. But, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the perks of prepped meals...you may just have to do the prepping yourself!
It's quite easy to let the holidays be an excuse to over indulge and let your gym routine slip. But, that doesn't have to be the case. If you meal prep, you can stay consistent 75% of the time and enjoy most holiday events without going off the rail this winter. Meal prepping also ensures you have nutrient dense meals on hand and instead of being hungry with nothing on hand, reaching for the cookie jar, you can reach for a prepped meal instead.
Common phrase I hear: "I just don't have the time." Wrong.
Solution: While I cook dinner on Sunday, I also prep the majority of my week's food. Multi-task.
For example, we typically roast potatoes on for Sunday dinner and grill our meat so all the burners are free. Those take about an hour in the oven. While those are in the oven, I brown lean ground beef in one skillet, fry bacon in another, cook rice in one pan, let my green beans cook in another (I eat some of these with my dinner) and steam broccoli in the microwave. I also cut up chicken breasts, or to save time use pre-cut chicken strips. After the bacon comes off, I can prepare the breaded chicken nuggets and waffle batter. After the potatoes come out of the oven and dinner is ready, the chicken nuggets go in. After I eat, I fill my meal prep containers and let them cool. After the kitchen is clean from dinner. I put them away in the refrigerator. Not much extra time, just a little extra multi-tasking.
Start simple. The better I get at meal prepping and multi-tasking, the more comfortable I feel getting creative with my meals.
Common phrase I hear: "Meal prepping is expensive." Wrong.
Solution: Use coupon or discount apps to get good deals. Only buy what is on sale.
For example, each weekend before deciding on my meal prepping menu and grocery list, I determine what we still have leftover from the week before; chicken, rice, vegetables, etc. Then, I scroll through the weekly ads at King Soopers, Sprouts and Target. *I try to do the majority of my shopping at Target because I also use the RedCard, saving an additional 5%.* I also check the ibotta app and my Cartwheel app *Yesterday, Target has $5 off when you spent $20 on meat.* Again, you don't have to get fancy. Start simple. Stick to what's on sale!
Here are a few items I saw on ibotta app that could easily be used in a meal prep:
With ibotta, you can earn additional cashback by referring friends, earning bonuses and more! The cashback can then be redeemed into your bank account or back as a gift card to multiple stores. At first, I thought I would never reach the minimum amount but it adds up before you know it! You can sign up by here: https://ibotta.com/r/ysxeqtj
With Cartwheel, the more you use it, the more you can save! You earn perks every 5,000 points. For my last perk, I was able to redeem a free turkey which my boyfriend and I cooked for Thanksgiving. I then was able to use some of the leftovers in a few meals I prepped.
Now that you know you have the time and money to be a successful, let me show you a few of my go-to meals!
Bacon Stuffed Waffles:
- 53 grams @kodiakcakes
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla cashew milk
- a few dashes of pumpkin pie spice
- 2 slices bacon
- Cook bacon on skillet over medium heat.
- Turn on waffle iron.
- While bacon is cooking, mix all ingredients together.
- After the bacon is fully cooked remove to a plate covered w/ paper towels to drain the excess oil.
- Tear bacon in half.
- Spray waffle iron w/ pam cooking spray.
- Place two slices of bacon on iron & poor half the batter over the bacon - shut iron & cook until light comes on to take out.
- Repeat w/ remaining bacon & batter.
- Top w/ @waldenfarmsinternational maple syrupor Cary's Sugar Free Low Calorie maple syrup & enjoy!
Breaded Chicken Nuggets:
- Shake 'n Bake Extra Crispy Seasoned Coating (1-2 packets depending on how many chicken breasts you are preparing)
- I find that 1 packet covers roughly 2 larger chicken breasts or 3 smaller breasts.
- 1 egg (2 if you're using both packets)
- 2-6 chicken breasts
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- If you don't have pre-cut chicken strips, cut thawed chicken breasts into strips or nuggets.
- Add 1-2 eggs into one bowl and shake 'n bake in another bowl.
- Whisk egg(s).
- Line a pan with foil for easy clean up and spray with pam to prevent sticking.
- One by one, dip chicken into egg wash and then into shake 'n bake. Coat to your desire.
- Place on pan.
- Repeat until all chicken is coated.
- Cook for 20-25 minutes.
Chipotle Inspired Rice:
- 2 cups dry instant white rice (makes 4 cups cooked)
- 4 tbsp. cilantro
- 4 tbsp. lime juice
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- Cook rice per instructions on box
Market Pantry Instant White Rice:
- Boil 2 cups water in pot.
- Add in 2 cups dry rice.
- Cover with lid and let sit.
- While the rice is setting, dice up cilantro leaves.
- Once the rice is prepared, using a spatula, stir in the cilantro, lemon juice, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Recover with lid for another 5 minutes.
- Store rice in air tight container and use for meal prep or as desired.
I purchased my meal prep containers from Amazon:
Purchase these jell-o shot containers to use for dipping sauces. They fit perfectly in your meal prep containers.
Comment below if you have any time or money saver tips for meal prepping!
Remember, staying on track this holiday season is only as hard as you make it! Find balance between eating healthy and indulging. If you have any questions regarding my tips or recipes, feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.