Monday, May 26, 2014

My Meal Prep Tips

Meal prep is a great way to keep yourself on track.  It's easy to get caught up when life gets busy and grab whatever is close and easy to eat, which we don't always make the healthiest choice sometimes especially if you're HUNGRY!! And you know the saying:

Our family was notorious for hitting the drive through way too often! Our wallet and our stomachs couldn't take it much more to be honest.  For what you pay for, is the food really that great? I don't think so!

So I make bigger effort now to Meal Prep and have healthy food on hand as much as possible, it doesn't just save me time during the week but also $money$.  So I thought I would share some of my Meal Prepping Tips that always save me in a pinch and don't require a ton of kitchen time.

  • Plan Ahead
 Every Friday I start taking inventory in my pantry and refrigerator to see what I already have and what I need to buy.  I make a chart on a piece of paper and write out what meals I plan to make and eat each day. This way I can see what I may need to grab from the grocery store before the weekend is over.
  • Keep Fresh Fruit and Veggies on Hand
I keep Strawberries, Blueberries, Apples, Bananas, and whatever else is in season on hand all the times! It is crucial that they stay within reach.  These are the first thing we all grab to snack on over the chips and cookies that I may have in the pantry hidden in the  When we have errands to run I throw a few in baggies and BOOM we're out! They're a quick and mess free and healthy snack.
  • Pre-Chop your Veggies (or splurge and buy the ones already pre-washed and cut)          
Keep sliced bell peppers, carrots and celery on hand for another quick and easy snack option.  They fit in a zip lock and go great on salads or with a light dipping dressing.  I prefer to skip it all together and eat them fresh and use the bell peppers to add to my salads or eggs in the morning for breakfast.
  • Have an Easy Grab and Go Breakfast
You know those mornings, rushing the kids to school, trying to find your keys and you  have no time to make that breakfast you thought you had the time for...solution, besides my beloved Shakeology...Make hard boiled eggs so you can grab them on the way out the door with a fruit.  Muffins are also a great and easy breakfast option. Not the ones covered in chocolaty goodness.  Try blueberry protein muffin, or pumpkin muffins.  You can also make egg breakfast muffins and top them with veggies and turkey bacon or sausage. They're perfect for a grab and go breakfast!
  • Chicken or Fish? Why not BOTH!
These two are really the easiest thing to make ahead of time because you can have them in so many different ways and you know that once cooked they will stay good in your fridge for a few days.  I prepare a few chicken breasts on Sunday or Monday and then slice up a couple for my salads, kids lunches (the real chicken strip) and leave the others in a Tupperware to make sandwiches for lunch for my hubby or for Dinner when I'm in a time crunch! I make about 4-5 chicken breast and they last the whole family a couple days.  I also make 2 salmon or tilapia in the oven and have them with brown rice and veggies.  Easy Peasy!
  • Add Quinoa to your list of Must Eats
This is a delicious!!! I have found the most yummy mix with brown rice,  ready to eat under a minute pouch at Costco and Vons and I love it!! It's whole grain and provides you with fiber and protein to help keep you fuller longer.   The plain Quinoa is also easy to make and I've even made it with tomato sauce and other spices so it tastes like Spanish Rice and it's been a success!!

Here's a little video I made a while back for one of my challenge groups, but this is basically what I make sure to do to have a successful week :)

If you're new to Meal Prepping and have some more questions or if you have any meal planning tips of your own I'd love to hear them!

Please share in the comments below ;)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Meal Prep Monday!

Today is the first day of my "Hustle for the Muscle" challenge group and I spent yesterday afternoon doing some Meal Prep.  Took me about a total of 2 hours to prepare a few things from start to finish including some clean up.  I gave the girls my personal meal plan that I use for my family.  It's a lot easier to get organized and fit those workouts in when you're not worrying about dinner.  This is mainly a guide and I let them be able to make changes to accommodate their needs and the particular program that they are doing.

 This is the meal plan that I shared with the girls over the weekend. I did my meal prep last night, and this will basically cover me and the family and leave us a little wiggle room for what I call "Clean Cheats" During the week (especially when I have a challenge group) I stick to clean and easy options. Veggies, salad and lean meats. But on the weekends, well I take a little more time to put some effort into our "cheat meal" sure we can splurge and go out, which we do, but more times than not we end up not really happy with it afterwards. So I started taking some of our favorite meals and just cleaned them up a bit.  It's really simple and makes a big difference in the long run, trust me! 

I made grilled chicken, chicken fajitas, lemon baked salmon, homemade green salsa and ground turkey with red potatoes and sliced baby carrots. I started my meal prep at 4:45pm and finished at 6:20pm.  Not bad if I do say so myself, that included some clean up, not  I started with 2 big pots of boiling water.  One for my green tomatoes(about a pound) and green serrano chiles (6-8) and in the other pot I had 3-4 small red potatoes and generous handful of baby carrots.  You can use regular ones but I had a jumbo bag I need to go through and this saved me the hassle of peeling and slicing.  

While my my water boils and I get those veggies ready, I pre-heat the over to 400 degrees and place my already defrosted salmon (4 servings) on foil sprayed with Pam on a baking sheet.  I squeeze lemon juice on top, spread garlic (mine comes in a jar already finely diced) sliced onions, sprinkle salt, thyme and I slice the rest of the lemon and place them over the salmon.  Place in the oven for about 25 minutes and it's done.  I've made this before you can find it here.  

Once that is in the oven I can focus on cutting up my bell peppers and onions for my chicken fajitas.  I save some of those bell peppers to use on my salads or my breakfast.  Just slice them and put them in a Tupperware and set them aside.  I also have my ground turkey cooking on a skillet, where I added 1 tsp on garlic, sliced onions..I keep them a little big so I can pick them out later, my kids won't eat it if they taste the  All the while I get started on my chicken fajitas once my first batch of grilled chicken is done. I use that for salads and sandwiches. 

Right about the time my salmon is done cooking I check on my potatoes and carrots that are still boiling, I remove, place in cold water and then chop them up into little squares and add them to the ground turkey.  I cook on low heat, cover and stir and then it's done! I can use for tacos, burritos, tostadas, lettuce wraps. 

My green salsa is easy and basic, I cheat, I don't make quite like how my mom taught me but it works! Once they're all tender I throw it all into the blender, add about 1/4 of a small onion, salt, and garlic to taste.  As it's blending I'm tasting, we are huge salsa lover in the this house, they go on everything, breakfast, burritos, tacos, and even salads!

I have my fruits, veggies, brown rice and I found organic bread on sale so I snagged it! I also have natural Peanut Butter and Almond Butter. Much healthier for you than all the processed stuff out there.
There you have it! Questions, Concerns?? Enjoy!!!