This is my fourth straight week of meal prepping for 2018. This year, one of my many goals is I wanted to save more money and eat healthier, and this is the perfect way to accomplish both of those goals. You guys, I have saved SO MUCH MONEY by doing meal prep. I used to go out for lunch every day during the week and spend anywhere between $5-15 just on LUNCH. I took a look at my bank account and went, “DAMN, GIRL! WHAT IS YOU DOING?!?” It really adds up fast. I will be completely honest—the biggest thing holding me back from meal prepping was that it is work. Not necessarily hard work mind you, but it does take an hour or two to accomplish, depending on what you make. I am one of those people who likes to enjoy my Sundays and do a whole lot of nothing before Monday rolls around again (aka lazy—let’s just be real). Meal prep takes time, planning, and dedication. Especially because I have to know what ingredients I already have at home and what I need to buy, as well as if it’s a crockpot meal—I can’t start making it at like 8:30p, only to get up in the middle of the night to finish prepping. Nah, bruh. I started small and simple on the meal prep. Now I have a few different recipes I can put on rotation (with some of my own modifications) that I know are a guaranteed tried and true win. They are:
1. Greek chicken with basmati rice, cucumber salad, chickpeas, mini flat bread, and tzatziki sauce (hummus for a bonus too!): https://www.eazypeazymealz.com/greek-chicken-bowls-meal-prep-easy/ (I didn’t use onions or tomatoes because the onions made my breath so flippin’ ripe, and I hate tomatoes, so I used chickpeas instead. I also just bought tzatziki sauce instead of making it, in the interest of time. I also used chicken tenderloins instead of chicken breasts)
2. Curry tuna salad lettuce wraps with cucumber slices, hard-boiled eggs, almonds, grapes, and apple slices: https://damndelicious.net/2017/07/02/tuna-salad-meal-prep/ (I used the following recipe for the curry tuna salad from the America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook: Combine 4-5 cans of tuna (flaked), 1 cup mayonnaise, 2 minced celery ribs, 1 cup quartered red grapes, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 4 teaspoons curry powder, and ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Scoop ¾ cup over 2-3 romaine lettuce wraps per meal prep container.
3. Shrimp or beef taco meat with corn, black beans, Mexican rice, avocado slices, diced tomatoes, lime, sour cream, and cheese (This one is suuuuper easy—just fry up the ground beef or shrimp in a pan, add the taco seasoning and cook per the directions on the packet, and then just throw the other ingredients into the container with the meat and rice. I used good ol’ Jell-o shot containers for sour cream, snack bags for the cheese (so it doesn’t get soggy), and lime wedges for flavor)
4. Chicken and rainbow veggies and brown rice: https://gimmedelicious.com/2016/12/17/meal-prep-healthy-roasted-chicken-and-veggies/ (I would actually add even more veggies next time—mushrooms and corn as well! Also used chicken tenderloins instead of breasts)
5. Beef, broccoli, and brown rice: https://lifemadesweeter.com/slow-cooker-beef-broccoli/ (For the meat, I bought the fajita meat that Publix had, so I didn’t have to cut it up)
If you can devote 1-2 hours to meal prepping your lunches for the week you will save money, eat healthier, and have more time in the morning. Meal prepping can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Here is some beginner’s advice to get you started:
- The simplest first step you can take is to find some recipes you like and want to try, and pin them on Pinterest. That’s exactly what I did! I have an entire board devoted to lunch ideas. That way, I can try things out at my leisure.
- Invest in some good meal prep containers. I like the divided ones, but you can get plastic or glass ones from the grocery store, Target, etc. I bought 10 so that I never run out of them! Also check to see if the plastic ones are BPA free if you will be heating them up in the microwave. It’s also not a bad idea to get some Jell-o shot containers for dressings and sauces.
- Make the food! This is the fun part. I always plan to make 6-7 meals per week. This way, if my husband is home, he can try a few as well during the week. And if I have extras over the weekend, this makes a quick Saturday lunch as well.
- Budget your time on Sunday. How long will the prep and cook time take in total? Don’t start cooking too late at night.
- Keep track of what meals you like, and rotate them, so that you don’t get sick of eating the same food all of the time. I like variety!