A Meal Plan & A Of My Few Favorite Recipes
With the launch of The Nutrition Planner this week, I thought I would share a few of my favorite meals that work perfectly for meal planning & prepping. I started being really conscious of my eating and nutrition a little over a year ago and surprisingly, i'm doing better than I thought I would. I do have to say, I think the reason I'm doing as good as I am is because I've found alternatives to common foods as well as new recipes that I absolutely love, which makes sticking to a meal plan really easy. Of course, I'm not perfect. I do slip up from time to time and have some chips (because they are my weakness), but with a well thought out meal plan, it's always easy to get back on track. Keep in mind, I'm by no means an expert on nutrition. I'm just someone who is trying to make health and nutrition a part of my lifestyle. This list is a good start to eating better. So, let's get into it!
My Husband and I have made efforts to plan out our meals every Sunday for quite a while now. It helps us to stick to our health and nutrition goals because by having a plan in place, we're less likely to slip up and make unhealthy choices. As well, it allows us to stick to a budget when it comes to grocery shopping. Without a meal plan, your grocery bill can sky rocket. We know what's on our list, and for the most part, we stick to it.
STEPS + TIPS
1. Take a look through your fridge, freezer, and cupboards and write down anything you feel you need to make a point to use up, either because it's almost empty or is going to go bad soon.
2. Then, pick your proteins. To cut down on cost, I recommend picking 2 to 3 types of protein (even better if they're on sale) for the week and make a lot of it on your meal prep day to save on time. We'll make a bunch of chicken in the oven or bbq and have it ready to go for whatever recipes we need.
3. Once you've decided on your protein, consult your meals list and choose recipes. Sort your meals in the order for the week.
4. To make things a little easier on yourself, balance out your meal plan with some options that require little to no prep at all (eg. yogurt & granola, soup, mezze platters, salads, etc.)
5. With your meals decided, write out your grocery list and get shopping!
6. Designate one day (we prefer Sunday afternoons) to make and prep whatever you need to.
7. Don't be afraid to make lots! You can always store your leftovers in the freezer and carry these over into next weeks meal plan.
MEAL PREP DAY
So, once I'm all organized and I have all of my meals written out and the groceries are bought, it's time to get into the kitchen. Depending on the kind of week we have, I won't necessarily meal prep absolutely everything. We both really enjoy cooking and, let's face it, sometimes fresh meals are just better than leftovers. Sometimes, we just prep ingredients (eg. chop veggies, cook large batches of quinoa and proteins) so that each recipe is as quick and simple as possible.
I love these little egg muffins, preferably with a bunch of hot sauce on top. They're so easy to make and you can create tons of different combinations.
Spinach and sausage
Pepper and onion
Mushroom and spinach
Bacon and tomato
The options are endless. Just take a look in your fridge and see what needs to be used up! These work perfectly for meal prepping. I make a big batch on meal prep day and store them in the fridge. A quick reheat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, top with hot sauce or sugar-free ketchup and they're good to go.
Any of the "Be Well By Kelly" smoothie recipes are amazing. I love the flavor of this smoothie mostly because it includes nut butter, but it's also great because it genuinely keeps me full all morning long. If I have a particularly busy week I'll portion out everything I'll need for the smoothie and have it ready to blend up whenever I need. Otherwise, it takes a quick 5 minutes to make.
These little patties are so versatile, not to mention way healthier if you make them yourself instead of buying pre-packaged. I make a big batch and freeze about half to have for the following week or whenever we're in a rush and need something quick. I also use some of the patties, chop them up, and throw them in the sausage hash. Check out the recipe below.
Like I said above, I use the already cooked sausage patties in this recipe to make things really quick. When I'm meal prepping, I'll chop up all of the veggies that I'll need for this dish. Some weeks I'll meal prep this whole recipe so that all I have to do is reheat it, while other weeks I'll make it fresh first thing in the morning (usually on the weekend). If all of my ingredients are prepped beforehand, it's a really quick breakfast.
LUNCHES & DINNERS
The ingredients in my lunches and dinners have a lot of overlap, so let's go through them together.
There are so many combinations of platters that you can make, so really it's up to you to figure out what ingredients you like and go from there. It's also a great way to clear out your fridge and use up ingredients. When it comes to meal prepping this, just make sure all of your ingredients are chopped, ready to go, and convenient to use.
I love tacos... it's just a fact. But I also love how easy they are. Besides the protein, all of the ingredients are fresh and easy to prep. On Sunday meal prep day, I brown the ground beef (you could use ground turkey to be even healthier) and add seasonings and make sure I have all of the toppings ready. Salsa, guacamole, plain yogurt, pickled jalapenos and onions. Whatever you like! Yum.
For the lettuce wraps, I use butter lettuce or romaine hearts and pile everything on like a taco. For the taco salad, I start with a base of salad in a bowl and add my taco meat, toppings, and sauces. Delicious!
If you want to make your own soup, you do you. I, however, love the Pacific brand Carrot Cashew Ginger soup. The ingredients are simple and healthy. It's just so easy and so delicious. All I have to do is heat it up! As for a side salad, I'll have my lettuce and veggies washed and prepped beforehand, so i'll just grab a handful of everything and toss a bit of oil and vinegar over top.
For the most part, this recipe is loved because of the dressing. Wow, it's so good and has so much flavor. On meal prep day I make a huge batch of quinoa. You could also make a batch of the dressing and have it ready to go in the fridge. Add whatever toppings you want. If you have leftover protein, use it up. Anything. Then drizzle the dressing on top. It's perfect for lunch of dinner.
This recipe has been a favorite for a really long time. It doesn't call for chicken, however, we've always added it and it's delicious. Again, it can be made beforehand in full and kept in the fridge, but sometimes we'll just prep a batch of quinoa or rice as well as some chicken on prep day and we'll make the sauce the night we're having it.
This meal could be made with sweet potato or russett potato, and like a lot of the other meals listed, you could make the potato beforehand or cook it the evening you're having it, whatever suits your schedule. It's up to you. Using the prepped taco meat, place a heaping serving on top of the cooked potato. Add any toppings you like. We prefer hot sauce and greek yogurt. You could add beans, guacamole, and jalapenos to make it more mexican. You could also use cooked shredded chicken instead and make it a buffalo chicken sloppy joe.
This is really simple. Find a jarred marinara that you like and has good ingredients. You could add ground beef to the sauce if you need a bit more protein. Add veggies like peppers and onions as well. Then pour the sauce over cooked spaghetti squash that was prepped on prep day.
In this recipe, the leftover spaghetti squash serves as a low carb noodle option. You could make the broth from scratch or buy a box of pre-made pho or ramen broth. Just make sure the ingredients are good. Season the broth however you'd like, in particular, however spicy you like. Add chicken, and any toppings you want in your pho.
Fish & Veggies
I always keep fish in the freezer and usually we have it on sunday evenings. Sometimes my husband will make something a little fancier for us because he does a really good maple dijon salmon, but for our lazy evenings, I keep frozen salmon that is pre-breaded and seasoned. It's not a meal prep type of recipe but it is quick and easy. Roast any veggies you need to use up while the fish is baking.
And that's it! I hope you found this helpful and inspiring. Let me know if you try out any of these recipes. Also, what's your absolute favorite meal to plan and prep for?