Prep all the meals!
Two words we say all the time. Are you starting to shudder at these two buzz words?
“Prep all the meals!”
“If you meal prep you will be better prepared for the week/month/day.”
Trust me when I say I am the queen of planning and staying organized, but I absolutely cringe on meal prep days. There is something about being in the kitchen for hours (though it feels like days by the time I am done) that causes me to dread meal prep. Not to mention that I absolutely hate clean up afterwards.
So what’s the point of meal prepping if it’s making me feel so miserable? The reason why I started meal prepping is because I’m a busy mom. I have a three-year-old who runs around like crazy and is constantly vying for my attention. I have two puppies that need walks or the ball thrown in the yard after work. I also have a husband who’s a picky eater.
One of the other reasons why I started doing frozen meal prepping for myself and family is because the number of byproducts, preservatives and unknowns that go into store bought frozen meals. Obviously the intentions of the preservatives is to help keep the food have a longer shelf life. However, a problem I experience when I eat foods containing those preservatives is they make my body feel disgusting. When those nasty preservatives enter into my system they make me feel as if I am about float away on a bloated liferaft. I puff up and become lethargic because those tiny little preservatives have a way of creating a chemical reaction in my body where I feel and look like I have gained four pounds. Sure, the bloating subsides in a few days, but my insides are twisting with gas bubbles causing me to cramp up and feel like I should be prepping for Aunt Flo, but in reality my body is trying to reject the toxins I have forced into my mouth. It is not a pleasant couple of days trying to detox.
I also meal prep because I have worked hard to get to a point feeling comfortable and confident in my body, and that means being aware of what I am putting into my system. I like to know the exact things that are going into my body, and by making my meals ahead of time I can feel confident my hard work isn’t going to be lost in just one meal. (Now I still have the occasional treat or “bad” meal- See “You gotta do you”) I make sure my meals have a healthy balance of veggies, meat, and grains. Why? Because salads are boring and I am not a rabbit and don’t want to live off just veggies. I avoid soy in all of my snacks and meals. Why? Studies and information out there are saying due to the massive genetic modifications surrounding soy production, soybean’s have lost any nutritional value and are instead the equivalent of formaldehyde in trying to preserve your insides while you are still alive- your body can’t process it. (See “My Soy Journey”) My recommendation: Stop putting these unnecessary, modified additives into your body. Now!
Alright, now I know you are all here for the tips on meal prepping and maybe even to “borrow” some of the recipes I have used. So, I will move on to the nitty gritty of it.
The very first thing you need to do is find the recipes that fit your tastes, budget and dietary needs. Pinterest is full of frozen meal recipes, but the tricky part is finding the healthy ones. One of the reasons I choose to meal prep frozen meals is because the food lasts longer in the freezer rather than having all of the meals cooked ahead of time to go bad in the fridge while I wait to eat the first meal. I prefer frozen meals too because the recipes tend to make a lot of food which is great for lunches the next day as well as dinner for the next few nights. This makes the frozen meals themselves last longer, and making less prep/work for you later in the month versus prepping week to week.)
The next thing you should look for when trying to find frozen meal recipes is if they have already put together the grocery list for you. No it is not cheating. Think smarter, not harder. You want to make this an easy thing to do, not a pain in the ass thing.
Finally you need to buy your supplies for the meal prep. Gallon bags. Sharpie to label the bags. Food. You can buy the bag stands off of amazon if you really want to, but I personally don’t have them. https://www.amazon.com/Jokari-Hands-Free-Storage-Holder-2-Pack/dp/B0049NQEKO/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1511102711&sr=8-5&keywords=bag+stand&dpID=41KFjt%252BUNgL&preST=_SX300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch
Ok. Now for the recipes. In preparing for this post I went back to Pinterest and found most of my frozen meal recipes have come from New Leaf Wellness (https://newleafwellness.biz/ ) she shares a similar philosophy when it comes to meal prep and keeping it healthy. She has additional tips and trick on her page for each meal as well as the price per meal if you are trying to stick to a budget. I typically will pick four to five recipes and double them when I am making them so I end up with more prepped food and less headache later on. The beauty of this is I can mix and match recipes, keep the favorites in the mix, and not get in a rut with the same frozen meals on repeat.
New Leaf has the grocery lists created for you and if you are planning on doubling up on the recipe just buy double the ingredients. (Simple math people) I would also suggest making sure you have all of the dry ingredients before you go to the store or you will have to make an extra trip to the store just for that one bottle of smoked paprika or cumin. The point of meal prep is to get all the shopping done in one trip so you don’t have to go back, no one has time for that.
What about sides for these frozen meals? I will usually buy the frozen vegetables so they don’t go bad or I will throw some sweet potatoes in the oven either whole or as fries. Sometimes I make rice for sides or have tortillas on hand for some of the mexican meals.
The best part of these frozen meals you put them in the crockpot in the morning and they are ready for you when you come home from work! Knowing I have a fresh healthy meal ready for me at home helps me resist stopping and grabbing fast food or crap food for dinner. I spend so much less time in the kitchen and more time with my family using frozen meals. The best part is I don’t have to worry about feeling crappy the next day because I know exactly what is in the food I am eating.
How do you meal prep? What are some of your favorite recipes? Share in the comments.