Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekly Meal Prep

I have been planning meals for a long time, and I have found that when I plan, life goes a lot more smoothly. While I have planned meals for years, I used to only write out a menu and a grocery list, go shopping, but did little actual prepping and cooking on the weekend.

When I did the Conscious Cleanse in January, I quickly realized the benefits of having plenty of prepared food in the fridge. Since there are no processed foods on the cleanse and there are also certain foods you can’t eat, it’s essential to have foods that you can grab when you get hungry.

After I finished the cleanse, I continued to prep a lot of food ahead of time, and I always strive to have several veggies, fruits, and proteins ready to eat. I pack some of them for lunches, and we also eat the prepared food for dinner but assemble them in different ways.

I usually prep food for about three days on Sunday, and on Wednesday I make more.

One tool I find very helpful is using the slow cooker. While I go to the Farmers’ Market and prep other food, it’s great to have a healthy meal cooking all by itself. This week I cooked black beans (I’m trying to use fewer canned beans), and last week I made beef stew. While I could put the meal in the slow cooker during the week before I go to work, I like to do it on Sunday and then clean up everything. Plus, that way there are more options for lunches, snacks and dinner.

I have found that since I started doing a lot more precooking on Sundays, we are eating a lot better because we eat a lot less processed “snack foods,” such as crackers and cheese. Snacks are fruits, veggies, nuts or a small serving of a protein and vegetables. If I have healthy foods to eat, I always eat those and not other foods. It’s not that difficult to cut up a melon or some veggies, but sometimes it seems like a big chore when you get home hungry. It’s nice to always have something ready to eat.

Also, the foods that I prep/precook can be used for all different kinds of meals, and I often eat them differently than hubby and the kid. For example, I’ll mix the beans with the ground beef with some added spices and veggies. Hubby and the kids will have them with some quesadillas.

Here is what I prepped for the beginning of this week:

Meal Planning 929
  • Honeydew
  • Grapes
  • Veggie bags (cucumber slices, carrots, bell pepper slices, and celery sticks)
  • Hummus
  • Spiced black beans (cooked in the slow cooker – I washed and sorted the beans (to removed small stones, etc.)  and then soaked them overnight. Then I used 2.5 times the amount of water to dried beans (in cups), a chopped onion, 1 teaspoon salt and Tabasco each and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cardamom, turmeric, red curry, and cumin each and cooked everything on high for 4.5 hours.)
  • Ground beef sautéed with onions, garlic, carrots, mushrooms, and celery
  • Purple rice
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Roasted veggies (asparagus, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes)
And here is an Instragram photo from our nature walk on Saturday. It was a beautiful day, and we really enjoyed getting some exercise together.
Nature Walk Instagram

And here is some playground fun. I worked on my arm strength a bit myself on the monkey bars and realized that I have to get a bit more serious about weight lifting again…

Playground Fun 02Playground Fun 04Playground Fun 01Playground Fun 03

Questions: Do you meal plan? Do you prep and/or pre-cook meals on the weekend? What’s your favorite tip to keep you organized when it comes to weekday meals? What was the highlight of your weekend? 

Be well,