I must admit, for cooking nearly all of my husband and I’s meals from scratch at home every single day, I have just never gotten into meal prep. Sure, I know it would save me time and probably stress, but I never get around to it. On the weekends, I spend time with my fam- walking, cleaning, playing doubles volleyball with my husband, meals with friends, etc. . . . this causes meal prepping not to enter into my mind, like ever.
It never bothered me to throw meals together in the moment every day, even if it did take more time.
BUT NOW, I have a 7-month-old and meals are not looking as pretty as they used to. I am finding that I’m not eating as many vegetables simply because of the time it takes to prep them.
Sooooo I had to think of something.
Instead of forcing myself to take a few hours out of one day (this is just not my thing), I have found a ‘meal prep’ that works for me, and maybe could help you too!
Meal Prep Principles with Very Little ‘Prep’
I like to follow a few principles that help make my life much easier.
1. Always make extra at dinner!
I always take the time to cook dinner anyway, so cooking extra takes zero extra time, yet gives us food the next day to eat for lunch! Cook once, eat twice!
Also at dinner I think about prepping other things:
- taking out meat for dinner the next day
- soaking grains for the next day
2. Throw a bunch of stuff in the oven when you have extra time.
Again, this usually happens at night for me again. Set your oven to 375-400 and throw a whole chicken in there or a few breasts, a few sweet potatoes, maybe a squash or two (acorn, spaghetti, etc.). Zero cutting/chopping involved- simple throw them in and take them out and you have great options to throw a meal together fast!
3. Make a big batch of granola or protein cookies/bars
I do this so it lasts at least 2-3 weeks.
This is a life savor every day for snacks or desserts. Making granola or cookies/bars full of healthy fat and protein are the perfect snack every day for hormones, brain function, energy, and metabolism!
- Turmeric Bone Broth Protein Cookies
- Coconut Oil Collagen Cookies
- Protein Cookie Dough
- Chocolate chip protein bar
- Homemade granola (have with coconut or almond milk)
4. To Eat More Veggies:
Prechopping veggies is not my thing either. Here is what I do instead
- Buy a few bags of veggies that are already cut and then I just roast or sauteed them in coconut oil, avocado oil, or butter.
- Buy a few boxes of greens
- When I make veggies at dinner, I try to make huge batches. For example, as a part of dinner each night I may make:
- Kale chips
- sauteed greens
- roasted veggies
- steamed veggies
- sauteed veggies
- When I do this, I cook as much as I can so I have veggie options to eat the next day.
- Have veggies you can easily eat: I also keep veggies like carrots, celery, and cucumber on hand because they also take very little effort to prep.
Throwing Meals Together
This is my life. I RARELY ever follow any recipe for dinner. This is what I do to throw meals together without worrying about any recipe at all.
- Always have a few boxes of mixed greens you can add to any meal. This has been my go-to because there is zero prepping involved and allows you to get some beautiful veggies in with no effort. I will make some eggs, or open a can of wild salmon and throw it on some greens for lunch/dinner. You can always throw greens into anything.
- ALWAYS have some awesome spices, dressings, and sauces to add to meals.
How I throw together a meal:
- Cook a protein: fish, chicken, elk, beef, turkey, eggs etc.
- Cook a veggie: cauliflower, broccoli, kale, zucchini (roasted, steamed, or sauteed)
- Cook a complex carb: sweet potato, plantain, squash, quinoa, amaranth etc.
- Add a green: sometimes just throw in some mixed greens at the end
- Add your flavor: So I cook all of that up and then depending on what I make I flavor it with:
- Primal kitchen’s dressing: Ranch, honey mustard, greek vinegarette
- Regular avocado oil mayo or chipotle mayo
- Coconut aminos (soy sauce alternative)
- Mustard (all different kinds)
- Hot Sauces (all different kinds)
- Healthy fats: I always add either butter/or ghee, avocado, nut butters, or coconut to my meals. Healthy fat not only makes your meals taste better, they make them better for you! You need healthy fat with your veggies to assimilate the nutrients from them.
Next time you try cooking, cook extra.
The next time you throw a meal together without a recipe, try cooking a veggie, a protein, and a complex carb and the add one of the flavors above to them.
- Cook salmon (add primal kitchens mayo on it after, or coconut aminos and mustard or honey)
- Roast cauliflower and broccoli in avocado oil or olive oil and add a primal kitchen dressings or simply salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
- Saute greens: kale, spinach etc. in butter, add salt and pepper.
- Cook sweet potatoes: add butter/coconut oil, or nut butter to it!
Make a stir-fry (super lazy, yet delicious dinner)
- Cook up some protein (ground beef, chicken, turkey, etc)
- Saute some veggies (zucchini, onion, tomato, greens)
- Cook some quinoa or amaranth
- Add healthy fat: avocado, butter, coconut oil
- Add all together with a sauce! So many options so it can be different every time!
- Primal kitchen honey mustard or ranch, maybe a bit of mayo as well.
- Coconut aminos for a little Asian flare
- Hot sauce and PK ranch and avocado is a favorite of ours!