It’s Monday night. You’re tired from a long day of work. The last thing you feel like doing is cooking a meal, much less preparing your lunch for the next day. Eventually you decide to make a sandwich or heat up a microwave dinner for the night and just grab some fast food for lunch tomorrow. Sound familiar? This was me for months when I began working. All of the fast food and microwave meals showed on the scale and my bank account. Something had to change.
Then I started meal prepping. Every Saturday, I plan out all of my meals for the week. I’m talking breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. This gives me the opportunity to see how many calories I’ll be eating each day and where those calories were coming from (fat, protein, carbohydrates) then make adjustments as needed. I feel enabled to make smarter, healthier choices. Fitness win!
Whenever I begin to plan I always start by going through my refrigerator and cabinets and inventorying what I already have. This helps me to use foods up before they expire and frequently prevents me from buying things I already have. After planning the meals I look for coupons and make a grocery list. Financial win!
Sunday morning, I take my list and hit the gym at about 6:00 a.m. If you like an empty, quiet gym this is an awesome time to go. Immediately after finishing up at the gym I go to Kroger. Thankfully, the two are practically next door for me. If you hate the bustle of the grocery store, Sunday mornings before church are also the perfect time for grocery shopping. There’s always only about ten other customers in the store and I can quickly find everything on my list. I adore doing my grocery shopping this way because I’m still on my post-workout high and much more likely to stick to my grocery list. I tend to make better food choices and do less impulse buying if I’m still feeling great from a good workout. Financial win!
Then after church, I cook for the week. I make all my meals and then plate them into tupperware containers. I live alone so this is relatively easy for me. What may be one meal for one night for a family of five will last me most of the week. This allows me to spend relatively little on groceries. I generally average $20-$30 a week on groceries. However, this requires me to commit to eating the same meal for most of the week. If you suffer from food boredom you may want to fewer servings and mix it up. Another strategy I employ is to make a big batch of soup at the beginning of the month. I freeze it and then whenever I’m tired of my meal of the week I sub in some soup. This give me variety but doesn’t require cooking when I truly do not want to cook.
Meal Prep Tips:
- Prep meals you can freeze and cook later
- Look for coupons to help you stick to a budget
- Search for foods that reheat well
- Dollar Tree, Big Lots, and other discount stores are the place to go for storage container
- Check for deals like the little big meal at Fresh Market A loves!
Do you have any meal prep suggestions or stories? Share in the comments below!
This past weekend I participated in the MS Blues Take 2. After 4 months of training and over 250 miles logged all in preparation for the big event, the MS Blues half marathon was canceled due to weather. A flash freeze turned much of Jackson into a skating rink. For the safety of all involved the race had to be canceled for the first time in 10 years. I was devastated. I don’t run for fun. I run for the bling (and because J loves to sign me up for races). For the beautiful beautiful medals. What was a girl to do? And just when hope was all but lost, a glimmer of hope appeared. A small group of runners organized the MS Blues Take 2. They plotted out a course, donated snacks, and handmade finisher’s medals.
The first few miles are the hardest for me. I begin questioning why I’m out there and thinking that it’s not too late to turn around and go home. Around mile 3 or 4, I got into my groove. Averaging around a 10 minute mile. Just chugging along like the little engine that could. Then around mile 8, I started slowing down. But then a sweet angel appeared. She asked if I had fuel, which I did. However, the Gatorade on my belt wasn’t doing me any good if I didn’t consume it. I was depleted and needed to be replenished. My sweet angel explained how she has the same problem of trying to push through on her own, but you have to supply your body with energy.
She ran with me until I was back at my original pace. I managed to keep a steady pace until mile 12. Then I started walking. Another runner came along and had me run with her until we hit 13.2 miles.
Runners are an amazing group of people. They are so encouraging and uplifting to one another. They are like the Holy Spirit. Telling you when you need to refuel (read the Bible). Running with you when you think you can’t go any farther. Giving you an encouraging word when you are at your lowest. If ever you are feeling down, just sign up for a race. If all else fails at least you’ll get some bling.
J can tell you that I am slightly obsessed with the Fresh Market Meal Deals. Each week from Wednesday to Tuesday they offer a list of ingredients for $20 that will feed a family of 4 for 1 night. Sometimes I make the meal as presented and sometimes I like to just buy the ingredients and make as many dishes as I can.
This week’s deal was salad and the list of ingredients included: greens (I got the power greens mix of kale, chard, and spinach), veggie kit (mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, green bell peppers, and broccoli), chicken (shrimp or steak), shredded cheddar cheese (parmesan, feta, or blue cheese crumbles), sourdough bread, and mini strudels.
For breakfast I made frittatas by sautéing the vegetables from the veggie kit and some deer sausage I already had in the freezer in my mini cast iron skillet. Once the vegetables were soft, I added two scrambled eggs, stirred until the bottom was set, sprinkled some cheddar cheese on top and placed it under the broiler.
For lunch/dinner, I sautéed the greens with some red onion and a splash of lemon juice, cooked the chicken on the stove, and made garlic cheesy bread with the sourdough rolls.
I was quite pleased with how my dishes turned out and how easy it was for me to transform this week’s ingredients. Next week’s meal is stir fry. I have yet to come up with any creative ideas to transform that meal, but if you do let me know.
Have you ever heard of horchata? I first discovered it in pharmacy school. At my school the third year was the hardest most stressful year. So when my dear friend from high school told me I should come visit her in California, I did. School had me so stressed that I booked a flight without a second thought. To this day, I am still amazed that I did it, but so glad I did. It was in Pasadena that I was first introduced to a magical drink called horchata. I had never heard of it before and it was described to me as Christmas in a cup. And that it was. Horchata is a non-dairy sweetened ‘milk’ flavored with cinnamon. A quick internet search yielded recipes made with rice, almonds, and/or tiger nuts.
Ever since I first tasted this sweet treat, I have been in search of it in my humble state with a much smaller Latino population. Once I found some at a Mexican restaurant, but it was overly sweet. The other day while shopping for almond milk to make overnight oats, I stumbled upon a bottle of horchata and like a responsible adult decided I should buy it and make my overnight oats with horchata for the week. Adulting win!
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup liquid (horchata, almond milk, etc)
Rounded tablespoon of peanut butter
1/8-1/4 teaspoonful cinnamon
Optional mix in: dark chocolate chips
Optional toppings: nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts), fruit (bananas, strawberries, blueberries)
Directions: place all ingredients except toppings in any container with a lid. Stir until well combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning garnish with toppings as desired and enjoy.