Prepping for Success!
I will be the first to admit that on days when I am feeling particularly lazy, I will drive thru my favorite fast food restaurant during my lunch break and spend $8-10 for a meal full of empty calories. This pattern can be come not only costly, but also unhealthy. When this happens on a Monday, many of us get in the habit of saying “I’ll try again next week”, but it is time to put that to an end.
Meal prepping can be time-consuming and a bit of work, but if you can get it down to a science and set aside a little bit of time on a Sunday afternoon, you will set yourself up for success for the entire work week!
The first step is to plan out meals you will actually enjoy and look forward to eating. Try making a dish that can be seasoned or eaten in a couple different ways so you don’t tire of eating the same thing all week.
The next step is to make sure you have sturdy containers that can be used over and over again, as well as enough to portion out five days of lunches. Most people prefer to use glass because they are easy to clean, won’t release chemicals when put into the microwave, and you can clearly see what’s in them!
Next, it is time to go grocery shopping! Making a specific list is a crucial part of the process. You do not want go shopping unprepared. If you are anything like me, that is when I end up buying junk food that I do not need and spending way more than intended.
One of my favorite go-to meal preps is a Salsa Chicken Bowl. It’s quick and easy, flavorful, and something I will never get tired of!
What you’ll need:
1 tsp salt
2 cups water
1 ½ cups of uncooked rice (I choose brown)
¾ cup Chicken Broth
4 bell peppers (any color)
1 ¼ tbsp oil
1 ½ tsp chili powder
Optional Toppings: (I’d suggest keeping these separate in condiment cups to be left out of the container when heating the meal)
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Cook the brown rice according to the package directions. (Add rice, salt, and water to a pot, cover, bring to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 35 minutes.)
- While the rice is cooking, begin the chicken. Add the chicken breasts to a medium sauce pot along with the salsa, chicken broth, and chili powder. Give everything a brief stir.
- Place a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once the liquid starts boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the chicken simmer over low for 30 minutes. Make sure it's simmering the whole time, adjusting the heat slightly if needed.
- While the rice and chicken are cooking, prepare the bell peppers. Slice the bell peppers into 1/2-wide strips. Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle with cooking oil. Toss the peppers to coat them in oil, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
- Roast the peppers in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they are browned on the edges, stirring once half way through.
- After the chicken has simmered for 30 minutes, remove it from the salsa mixture and use two forks to shred the meat. Return the shredded chicken to the pot of salsa and stir to combine.
- Once the rice has rested, the chicken has been shredded, and the peppers have finished roasting, it's time to build the bowls.
- Add about 3/4 cup rice to each container, followed by 1/5 of the roasted peppers, and 1/5 of the shredded chicken. Spoon the salsa mixture from the pot over the shredded chicken in the containers. This will act as a sauce to help moisten the entire dish.
- Top with your favorite toppings after heating the bowl each day for lunch!
Another favorite of mine is Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles! If you don’t have your own spiralizer, some stores sell already made zucchini noodles.
What you’ll need:
3 medium zucchini, spiralized
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups marinara sauce
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
For the meatballs:
1 ½ pounds ground turkey
½ cup Panko
¼ cup grated parmesan
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried parsley
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
- In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, Panko, Parmesan, egg yolks, oregano, basil, parsley, garlic powder and red pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until well combined. Roll the mixture into 1 1/2-to-2-inch meatballs, forming about 24 meatballs.
- Place meatballs onto the prepared baking dish and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until all sides are browned and meatballs are cooked through; set aside.
- Place zucchini in a colander over the sink. Add salt and gently toss to combine; let sit for 10 minutes.
- In a large pot of boiling water, cook zucchini for 30 seconds to 1 minute; drain well.
- Divide zucchini into meal prep containers. Top with meatballs, marinara sauce and Parmesan.
Let me know some of your favorite meal prep recipes and ideas!!