The most common response to the question, “How can I help make this easier for you?,” is…. COOK FOR ME.
I get it, I whole heartedly understand the struggle. I’m passionate about food, nutrition, cooking, the whole sha – bang, yet I still battle to find motivation to meal prep too. First, we need to be realistic. Meal prep, if you go in with the right mindset, can be enjoyable. My husband and I even make date nights with meal prep. However, it’s not as glamorous or as easy as you see on social media or those 3 steps to your easiest meal prep articles. You know what I’m talking about, those cute matching containers, perfectly chopped and measured veggie bags and gourmet meals to match, The result of meal prep is fantastic, the reality, you are going to put in a solid few hours of work, a mess of a kitchen, and just like all successes, the last 5% of the actual product is put on display.
The Real Deal
The kitchen sink is filled to the brim, one more dish and the tower may come crashing down on you. Your dog is in heaven, for every cup of food in your cute little meal prep containers, a few spoonfuls land on the floor. The stove is covered in grease, random food, and possibly a burnt glove. Your counters, ehh, won’t even go there. The fridge may or may not be open because it’s easier and you are S W E A T I N G. Who knew meal prep could count as a workout. Counter space is a high commodity, your masterpiece takes time, space, and every single bowl in the kitchen.
Phew, you finished. Meals for one full week! Wait, what?! One week, that’s it?
And then… after hours of slaving, clean up time. Pure EVIL.
You see why meal prep is a huge red flag for so many people?
I can’t take all of the work away but I’ve found a few great products from my favorite place that will help make meal prep easier. It will also help you on nights when you have zero energy to cook, clean, or think and it’s better than peanut butter crackers for dinner.
Shaved Brussel Sprouts – Saute, bake, or mix in with salad for a quick side dish.
Carrots & Zucchini Spirals – substitute for noodles in any dish. Here is a good recipe!
Cauliflower Fried Rice – Add chicken or lean pork and you have yourself a meal in under 30 minutes.
Veggies and greens salad kit – Dinner in minutes. A bowl of veggies topped with protein of your choice (something you cooked in bulk in the beginning of the week) .
Tip* I normally do not use all of the salad dressing that comes in these packets. I would start off using half and adjust from there.
Carrot Ginger Miso dressing – Low cal , packs a bold flavor. Add flavor to your veggies & salads. Their green goddess dressing is great too, when they have it in stock. It will be located right next to this one.
Carrots of many colors – Slice & Bake carrots, sprinkle with garlic salt & pepper, pop in the oven at 400 degrees for 25-30 mins and you have yourself a a colorful snack full of nutrients or an easy side for the week.
Sweet potato ribbons – crispy sweet potato chips, noodles, pasta dishes. You can get creative with these.
Butternut squash zig zags – Fries, salads, stir fries, pasta, so versatile. I’ve found butternut squash goes bad quickly. Make sure you have a recipe in mind before you purchase.
Healthy chopped veggie mix – Make a quick stir fry or mix in with some spinach for a salad packed with great fiber + nutrients.
Superfood Pilaf – Another easy dinner. Just add protein and you have yourself a gourmet meal.
Chili Lime Chicken Burgers –These gems are so easy on nights you don’t want to cook. Pop a few in the oven, saute on a pan, or, microwave if you just can’t even. Put on top a salad, in a flat out wrap, an English muffin or just eat by itself. With 19 grams of protein and an ingredients list you can read, these are a no brainer.
Fire roasted bell peppers – Easy for nachos, stir fry, pasta dishes, breakfast hash, you name it. Grab a bag to have on hand.
Zucchini fries – Craving a burger and fries without the guilt of a five guys burger? Give these a go for another easy weeknight meal instead. Add a burger made from lean ground beef or pre-made lean patties ( chicken patties, salmon patties, veggie patties) , place on a bed of lettuce with these fries, and you have yourself a delicious meal. I promise you won’t feel deprived.
Cauliflower rice – Rice substitute.
What’s your favorite quick meal?