Meal Prep 101

MEAL PREP 101

Every day that goes by seems to go by faster and faster. With all the hustle and bustle going on with school, work, and life at home sometimes eating healthy isn’t our number one priority. Aside from time, budgets may also restrain us from investing in organic meats and produce.

I, myself am one of those persons running around with endless tasks throughout the day, not to mention I am also a full-time college student who is raising my younger sister. I have been thrown all sorts of obstacles that could potentially  steer me away from my goals such as lack of time and resources, but I have managed to find a routine that works for me.

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I  love stopping by at the Farmer’s Market!

Healthy eating a possible even when you’re on a tight schedule. Meal prepping has been a life-saver; it saves time, money and there is no stress! The term “meal prep” is exactly what it sounds like; prepping your meals ahead of time.

The First Step:  is a  grocery shopping trip! (or taking a look in your fridge and defrosting any meats, and bringing out your veggies)

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When I go grocery shipping I typically have a list of ingredients that are easy to cook, and cheap to purchase in bulk, this will help with saving time and money.

Here’s a my grocery list:

(although I do generally have most of these items in my fridge and pantry. I usually restock mostly on meats, fruits, and vegetables)

Protein

chicken (it will be your best friend)

beef

eggs

fish

pork

Paleo beef and veggies!

Paleo beef and veggies!

Vegetables

asparagus

broccoli

bell peppers (green, red, and yellow)

kale

zucchini

carrots

celery

cauliflower

cucumber

lettuce/ spring greens

onions

tomatoes

peppers_steaming

Fruits

apples

bananas

grapes

lemon/limes

mango

orange

nectarines

peaches

pineapple

strawberries

Fats

avocado

almonds

coconut oil (my personal favorite)

sunbutter (made from sunflower seeds)

Herbs/ Spices

black pepper

chili powder

cilantro

cumin

garlic

mustard

oregano

The Second Step: 

Now that you have gathered all your ingredients it is time to not put them away, but begin taking out all the veggies, washing, and chopping or slicing them. I like to separate my vegetables in different zip-lock bags or tupperware and when I cook, they will already have been pre-washed and cut.

Next, I plan for the protein I want to cook. This usually ends up being chicken, because again it’s affordable, and quick to put together. I dice my chicken, season it, and throw it into a large pan to cook.

Chicken stir fry with lots of veggies!

Chicken stir fry with lots of veggies!

The Third Step:

My “go to” meal is chicken fajitas. Not only are they nutritious due to the loads of vegetables and protein, but they are also easy to make in large quantities. Because I have my veggies already washed and cut, as soon as the chicken is ready I can throw in the bell peppers, onion, garlic, and sometimes broccoli and wait a few minutes for them to cook. I portion my meals in tupperware and then stash them away in the fridge so when I’m hungry I’ll take it out, heat up in the microwave, and enjoy!

Chicken Fajitas with Cactus salad…delicious!

Chicken Fajitas with Cactus salad…delicious!

What else can I prep in advance?

I typically have my dinners prepped, such as the fajitas as well as a lunch option (I can honestly eat the same thing for lunch and dinner). For those of you who can’t deal with eating the same thing twice, back-to-back, a quick salad is easy to toss together since you would have vegetables ready for use.

More options for dinner to prep-friendly include paleo stuffed peppers with ground beef, and zucchini (recipe to come later), baked chicken and asparagus, among more delicious foods.

As for snacks, I usually only slice certain fruits like pineapple, the rest I wash prior to eating. I also have a newfound obsession with celery and sunbutter (tastes like heaven!). 

Isn’t this time consuming?

The answer is yes, sort of. If you spend a maximum of three hours one day out of the week prepping your foods, you are saving time throughout the week by having your meals ready. Think about it, if you usually spent about an hour preparing dinner, six nights a week (admit it, we all have that one day we are too lazy or tired to cook, and end up ordering take-out, it’s okay, have no shame!) that’s six hours just on dinner! What sounds better, 3 hours or 6? You be the judge.

I hope this guide to meal prepping has been helpful and has saved you time and stress. It is difficult to begin, but trust me, once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be good!

In good health,

-Foodie Zully

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