meal prep

Meal Prepping – Why Did I Wait So Long?!

If you saw my Instagram posts last weekend, you would know that we vacationed in the Smokie Mountains with my family. I have some great large family photos from our trip, but out of respect for my parents & siblings, I will not post pictures of them on my blog because I respect their desire to stay off of social media. Moving on…

meal prep

Gotta protect baby from the sun during intense putt putt

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Our little family at dinner one night 🙂

meal prep

Smokie Mountains

meal prep

We stopped at The Tomato Head, a wonderful vegan & organic restaurant, in the Market Square of Knoxville, TN on the way down. I ordered the “Beehive” Bean & Rice Bowl & it was one of the best meals I have had…so delicious!!

Meal prepping scares me! Just thinking about it wears me out. I’ve always been a meal planner, but sometimes best laid plans fly out the window when everyone is tired, hungry & grouchy around dinnertime. I tried to eat clean & healthy most of the time, but it isn’t always easy especially if everyone isn’t up for eating what you are. I was surrounded by temptations! I did give in to some of them, but I was ready to clean up my eating by the time we got home. I also knew I had a big week filled with a lot of work craziness (working multiple jobs including your own business is no joke!) and a new caregiver starting with Reese, so I wanted to have healthy food available in minutes and have one less thing to worry each day. Literally, less than 3 hours after getting home, I was cooking away.

meal prep

First Time Meal Prep…SUCCESS!

What did I make (AKA…what did I have on hand!)?

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Turkey boneless chops
  • Chicken breast
  • Edamame
  • Green beans
  • Crockpot black & pinto bean salsa chicken
  • Protein PB energy balls

This may seem like a lot of food, but really it only took me about 2 hours total to make. It wasn’t as hard as I thought I would be because I kept it simple. I also fed Reese during that time and put her down for a nap. Thankfully my hubby watched her the majority of the time & kept her occupied so I could be more efficient. I chose foods that were either frozen or already on hand, so I wouldn’t have to babysit every item the whole time it was cooking.

meal prep

Do you like my little helper? She is obsessed with our cabinets right now. Open, close, open, close…you would think it would get old eventually…but it doesn’t.

Here is how I went about prepping all of this food:

1. Put crockpot recipe into the crockpot to start cooking right away. Crockpot bean salsa chicken is so easy!! Just three ingredients; just the way I like it. Jar of salsa (or diced tomatoes), black beans (or your choice of beans) & 2 chicken breasts. That’s it! I doubled the recipe, so we can use for burrito bowls, salads & tacos. I love recipes that can be used in many different ways.

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Crockpot Black & Pinto Bean Salsa Chicken (usually I just use black beans but only had one can so I improvised with a can of pinto beans, which added a different flavor but it was yummy)

2. Placed 2 cups dry rice in the rice cooker.

3. Started 1 1/2 lbs of TJ’s frozen chicken breast & turkey boneless chops in a large pan on the stove. My secret weapon…fat free low sodium organic chicken broth! It keeps the meat moist, adds some flavor, but doesn’t add very many calories. I also like to add Italian seasoning to our meat, but you can add whatever you like such as salt & pepper.

meal prep

TJ’s Chicken Breast & Turkey Chops

4. Next, I started the hard boiled eggs & after they were done I used the still hot water to cook the edamame (from Trader Joe’s too…of course!).

5. Then, I started on the protein PB balls while everything was cooking. I love how simple & yummy this recipe is!

meal prep

Protein PB Energy Balls – 3/4 c. peanut butter, 3 scoops of vanilla protein powder, 5-6 tbs. TJ’s organic maple syrup; combine all ingredients & roll in spice, oats or choco chips (I chose cocoa powder) & refrigerate

6. Once the edamame had cooked, I put 2 cups quinoa (rinsed) in the same pot.

7. Lastly, I placed the green beans (Trader Joe’s Frozen French Green Beans) in a large pot & cooked them.

How long will this last?

For us, two adults (Reese really didn’t eat any of this) it has already lasted four days and we still have some left over. This included the following meals:

  • I ate breakfast, lunch & dinner off of these meals, so 4 breakfasts, lunches & dinners.
  • Ryan ate three breakfasts, two lunches and four dinners from the prepared food.

Consensus?

I have loved not having to cook anything this week (prepped on Monday afternoon/evening) and definitely want to continue preparing our weekly meals this way.  I want to perfect meal prepping, so let me know if you have any tips!

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UPDATE: Getting Bloat Out of Your Diet

Do I have to update you on my progress?! You can probably guess that I have fudged a little bit. I’ve only eaten bread once, so that’s a win (when I started this post it was once, but now it has probably been 3 or 4 times)! I have drank coffee & eaten chocolate (about every other day). I am being very mindful about processed foods, so that is what I was really going for anyway.

I do feel better since my last post & have been incorporating more runs into my workouts, which makes me feel like my abs are starting to show, but it could just be my imagination ;). Stay tuned for more about my running later this week!

Here are some recipes we had (when I wasn’t eating the “bad” stuff) that helped me reduce the bloat:

getting the bloat out

Breakfast Egg Cups

Breakfast Egg Cups (great grab n’ go option for busy mornings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • Any veggies you like (I used green pepper, spinach & red onion)
  • 4 slices cooked bacon (I used turkey bacon) or any meat you prefer

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix all ingredients together.
  3. Pour into greased muffin tins.
  4. Bake for 10-13 minutes.

Servings: 12 (I usually eat two for breakfast)

getting the bloat out

Chocolate PB Oats with Banana & Hard Boiled Eggs

Chocolate PB Oats

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbs. PB2
  • Combine all with recommended water & heat in microwave for 2 min
  • Top with bananas or your fruit of choice

 

 

getting the bloat out

Grilled Chicken Apple Salad (2 c. organic baby spring mix, 3 oz chicken, 1 small apple, 1 tbs mozz cheese & 1/2 tbs Romano Caesar dressing)

getting the bloat out

GF Spaghetti & Salad (Trader Joe’s GF spaghetti pasta, Simple Truth Tomato Basil sauce, TJ’s extra lean beef 90%, & organic baby spring mix)

getting the bloat out

Saturday Meal Prep: tilapia, chicken & brussel sprouts

Meal prep…I don’t love it, but took the opportunity to do some of it while Reese was eating in her highchair & Daddy was on an all day motorcycle ride. I tried pouring Simple Truth’s chicken broth on the tilapia & chicken while it pan cooked & it was AMAZING! Note: Trader Joe’s frozen tilapia is the only store bought tilapia I have found that doesn’t have that “fishy” smell while it cooks and after it cooks. Winning!

getting the bloat out

This broth made our tilapia & chicken taste AMAZING!

To prepare the brussel sprouts, I cut them in half and placed them in boiling water for 2 minutes. Then, I transferred them to the oven (set at 350) and cooked them for 13 minutes (turning them over at 10 minutes). I lightly salted them with TJ’s Himalayan sea salt, which is pink :). These meals were great grab n’ go options! Ryan had some tilapia & brussel sprouts when he got home from his motorcycle ride, I had the other serving of it on Sunday for lunch because he was meeting a friend for lunch & it will give me a quick & nutritious lunch on this dreary, rainy Monday here in Ohio.

I hope to do more meal prepping on a regular basis when we get back from our Tennessee vacation with my family! We will be there over the weekend, so no time to prepare meals then ;). We are really excited to get away, spend time with family & rejuvenate.