Those two words can seem very daunting, even overwhelming sometimes, especially when we have no idea what we’re doing. I am culprit of that, but one of my goals this semester is to learn how to meal prep more efficiently! I usually end up spending hours in the kitchen and have to throw a lot of food out because I fixed way too much and it went bad before I could eat it. Something I really hate doing.
I decided to do some research to hopefully help me do better, and here are the top tips I found to help with healthy, cost efficient meal prepping:
1. Set out one day a week to be your prepping day (Saturday or Sunday usually work best!)
2. Decide what main recipe you want to cook for the week and what ingredients will you need- use that for lunch or dinner every day.
3. Prepare sandwiches, wraps or salads for the other meal of the day (the meal you don’t eat the other recipe)
4. Chop/prepare fruit (apples, strawberries, berries, grapefruit) for a morning snack and veggies (carrots, sweet peppers, mushrooms, kale chips) for an afternoons snack.
5. Portion your meals out in advance, using plastic baggies or tupperware! This helps with time and making sure you eat the amount you should be.
6. Go ahead and cook up some protein for your salads, sandwiches and wraps, such as ground turkey, lean chicken breast and one of my favorite- quinoa!
7. Slow cookers are your friends! These are a great way to make some food for the week without having to worry about all the hands-on time. And there are a ton of healthy recipes out there to try.
So, in order to begin perfecting the art of food prepping, I decided to start small and begin with breakfast! Once school starts, I’ll be waking up at 4:30 and leaving (though more likely running…) out of the house at 5:30 to get to work on time, which means I will have ZERO time in the morning to even think about making breakfast! In the past, I have made a lot of yogurt parfaits or just grabbed a breakfast bar and a banana, but right now, with the cold winter that has hit North Texas, all I want is something warm to eat on my way to work! There are a lot of different recipes I want to try, like some healthy egg frittatas or baked egg English muffin sandwiches, but today I tackled some muffins. While reading the February edition of Fitness magazine, I came across a quinoa blueberry pancake recipe that looked delicious, but I wanted to put my own little spin on it! Coming from personal experience, making muffins is a lot less stressful and hands-on than dealing with pancakes. But that’s probably just me!
Anyways, they turned out pretty darn delicious, and they are the perfect go-to breakfast food, especially since they’re easy-peasy to grab and go in the morning!
2 1/4 cups cooks quinoa
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3 scoops protein powder (I used the cinnamon roll PerfectFit protein)
1/4 cup baking stevia or brown sugar
2 egg whites
1/2 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped pecans
Sprinkling of brown sugar
Pre-heat oven to 350 and spray the muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.
Cook the quinoa according to package instructions then blend in a blender or food processor with the almond milk. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients until smooth. Fill the muffin tins almost all the way up with the batter then top with a sprinkling of pecans and brown sugar.
Bake the muffins for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a middle muffin comes out clean. This time can vary depending on the temperature of the oven and the amount of muffins you are baking!
I made some regular sized muffins for breakfast and some mini muffins for snacks this week. I love them because they are packed with protein and are very easy to make. Next up: tackling lunch!