Over the last year I’ve been making a conscious effort to plan my lunches for the week every Sunday. This holds me accountable to eat healthier, save money, and save time on week nights. It’s also nice because it allows me to cook different dishes, which I absolutely love! Meal planning and prepping isn’t so new anymore, but I’m sure there are still tons of people who aren’t exactly sure what it entails. So today I’m going to go over some of my favorite recipes for meal prep, the measurements to use, and food groups to include. *This post contains affiliate links.
Typically I only prep my meals for lunches to take to work. This makes it easier to grab and go in the mornings before I leave for Pure Barre and leaves more time at night. I usually make the same dish for each day with slight variations. I use difference spices or different veggies each day but I typically keep my protein the same throughout the week. On Saturdays, I start thinking about what I want to eat for the week and prepare everything on Sunday afternoon. You don’t need to make big elaborate recipes for your meal prep. It’s so cool to realize how delicious and healthy simple meals can be.
I light a candle, turn on some music, lay out my containers, and get cooking!
When you’re trying to slim down and build muscle, your meal prep should include a complex carbohydrate, a protein, and vegetables with each meal. You should definitely have 4 ounces of protein, 1 cup of raw vegetables (or 2 cups of leafy greens), and half of a sweet potato, for example. There are many options from each food group you can include so there’s no reason you should get bored with this! You can mix it up in so many ways with so many combinations.
Right now, I’m working on slimming down instead of bulking up. This means I’ve cut the carb out for lunches and double up on the veggies. I still have carbs throughout the day but I know I need these veggies when I’m at lunch or it’s gonna be tough for me to get them every day.
I use these Pyrex glass containers for all of my lunches and they are so good for leftovers, too! I love the different sizes of dishes, making it a lot easier to stick to the portion sizes I’m trying to maintain.
Using a food scale is also helpful if you’re really trying to slim down. When I first started measuring my food, I could not believe how much more I was actually eating than I thought. This is the food scale I have at home and I love it! Some I’ve had in the past have given me a hard time with zeroing it and weren’t measuring accurately. This one is really reliable and has worked for us for a long time.
This week, I made grilled skinless boneless chicken breasts, roasted tomatoes and zucchini, each with Flavor God seasoning. Flavor God seasonings are so good, y’all. There are so many different options that are to die for! Plus they have dessert flavors! I also love using dried or fresh herbs. In my gardening post (you can find that here!), I talk about some of my favorite herbs. Basil and oregano are so delicious on just about everything. I love to put an Italian spin on chicken, ground turkey, and especially vegetables! Here are a few different options for weekly meals.
4 oz skinless, boneless chicken breast
- season chicken generously with basil, oregano, thyme or any herb of your choice
- bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes until juices run clear
- season chicken with garlic powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper or Flavor God seasoning of your choice
- grill for 35 minutes until juices run clear
4 oz ground turkey or turkey burger
- cook ground turkey in a skillet with fresh herbs or spices until brown on medium heat
- bake turkey burger in the oven with cayenne pepper, Flavor God seasoning of your choice, or Italian spices for 25 minutes at 400 degrees
1 boiled egg (check out this awesome timer to get the perfect egg every time!)
- let a pot of 5 eggs come to a boil on high heat
- once boiling, set a timer for 10 minutes
- remove from the stove & run cold water over the eggs to stop the cooking after 10 minutes
You can and should use any and all veggies you want! I LOVE roasted vegetables with a little olive oil and dried herbs. My favorite roasting recipe:
- brussels, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, and onions (and if you need a carb add sweet potato)
- preheat oven to 450 degrees
- chop everything up and spread evenly on a sheet pan
- drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add your favorite herbs or spices
- roast for 40 minutes at 450 degrees
You can steam any veggies you’d like, as well. Kroger makes it super easy to steam a bag of green beans, brussels, mixed veggies – literally any frozen veggie they sell typically comes in a steaming friendly bag.
I recently got a ton of fresh green beans from the farmers market and I’m so excited to be making them for the coming week! After washing them, I put them in a skillet with a little olive oil, a pinch of cayenne pepper and some fresh jalapeños. They’re still crunchy but have a nice browning on them to make them a little crispy. SO good, y’all.
Another great veggie to add to rice and chicken is grilled bell peppers!
Like I said before, I’ve been trying to steer away from the carbs, at least with my lunches. But there are definitely some good carbs you can incorporate into your meal plans that won’t destroy your eating.
- 1 cup of brown rice, seasoned with dried herbs
- follow instructions on the package!
- 2 sweet potatoes, seasoned with nutmeg
- cut up into small pieces, drizzle with olive oil or season with nutmeg
- at 400 degrees, roast for 35-40 minutes
- 1 cup quinoa, seasoned with dried herbs
- follow packaging instructions – don’t forget to rinse before cooking!
These portions are for the whole week. I just divide them evenly by 4 or 5 and place them in the appropriate dishes!
How Do You Meal Prep?
Many weeks, I only prep 4 meals from the meal prep menu and make a big leafy green salad on for Monday. I love a spring mix with grilled chicken or boiled egg, raw pumpkin seeds, low sugar dried craisins, drizzled with homemade balsamic vinaigrette. It’s simple and so good!
What kinds of recipes do you guys have for meal prep? Do you prep for every meal or just lunches? I’d love to hear tips and tricks from the pros!