Meal Prep 101
Meal prepping has become a hot topic in the last few years and I am absolutely on that bandwagon. I began meal prepping in a way when I traveled Monday through Thursday about five years ago. I was trying to be paleo to see if it would help my sleep issues and make me stronger. It definitely helped but it was also nearly impossible to eat 100% paleo on the road. I began meal prepping on Sundays prior to leaving on Monday’s - cutting up vegetables, making dips and boiled eggs and ensuring I had what I needed to sustain myself. Then when I stopped traveling as much and moved to San Francisco, I was trying to save money (SF is $$$) and could not imagine spending money on lunch. I would spend my Sundays prepping overnight oats, one of my favorite sweet potato and sausage soups, and grain salads. These days, my life is a bit different. I don’t travel at all. I live alone. I identified a gluten allergy in 2015 and now eat entirely gluten free. I also stick to a low carb diet with lots of greens, vegetables, protein and healthy fats. I usually map out my meal plan the week ahead when I have a few minutes and then spend Sundays prepping, just like I always have. When my weeks are packed with early workouts, work and then a happy hour or extra-curricular activity, meal prep is a godsend. This week, I’m taking you along for my meal prep ride!
First, I start with the rough outline and create a grocery list:
For this particular meal plan, my boyfriend and I were having an indulgent Sunday as Monday was a holiday. We woke up and made our favorite gluten free buttermilk pancakes with Applewood smoked bacon and maple syrup. I meal prepped the rest of the day and then we got Mexican take out and went to a movie. The rest of the week was pretty standard with a few evenings out that I had to account for.
2 cans chickpeas
Lots of lemons
1 bell pepper
1 sweet potato
Whole fat Greek yogurt
Zoodles or buy zucchini and zoodle yourself
Siete Cashew Tortilla
Spicy Italian chicken sausage
The first thing I do is make a big batch of chickpeas. This takes about two hours. I mix 2 cans of drained chickpeas, 6 quarts of water, 3 rinds of lemon, salt and pepper, 1/2 a yellow onion sliced, and six cloves of smashed garlic in a pot and bring to a boil. Then I simmer for 90 minutes. Done! I package this up to eat on salads, with yogurt, with an egg, or by itself. I also use my favorite Maldon smoked sea salt on just about everything as a topper.
While the chickpeas are cooking, I soft boiled 6-8 eggs for the week in my instant pot on manual pressure of 3. When complete, I rinse under cold water and store for lunches and breakfast. The next piece is my favorite tahini dressing. I mix 1/4 cup tahini, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 1/2 tsp onion powder, a fair amount of salt and water to get a dressing consistency. I use this as a dip for carrots and bell peppers and on salads.
I bake a sweet potato at 400 degrees for an hour and wrap in foil to eat for lunch during the week. Then I chop the bell pepper and steam the kale for salads and munching. And that’s literally it!!
Other meal prep weeks might include a chicken soup that takes a few hours or a roast chicken that I eat off the rest of the week. I try to keep it as simple as possible so that I can have a lazy Sunday while something cooks on the stove.
Breakfast and lunch is usually one big meal for me after a workout. I may also make a Fab4 smoothie with protein, fat, greens, fructose and liquid. Dinners are quick - I’ll saute cauliflower gnocchi or zoodles in olive oil, mix in dairy free pesto and spinach and saute chicken sausage. This takes about 10 minutes. Snacks are almost always peanuts or cashews.