Meal Prep:5/15/16

I’m officially in the habit of prepping all of my breakfasts, lunches, and snacks on Sunday for the upcoming week.  In the past I would do it if I had time, or really felt like cooking a particular dish but it wasn’t a true habit.

This past weekend, however, Sunday night came around and Mister and I were tired, busy, and I only had a few hours left before I had to head to bead early in preparation for my 4am wakeup call Monday morning.

Friday after work, I got in to Albany at about 8pm.  Monday afternoon, Mister and I drove to Binghamton to visit with his family.  We drove to Saratoga to meet with our wedding Rabbi on Sunday, then had to drive to pick my car up from being worked on, then finally arrived back to Mister’s apartment in Albany at about 5pm.  I cooked like a crazy lady to get everything squared away (there was a cutting board casualty) and this morning when I piled all my prepped meals into my work fridge I was finally able to relax.

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For breakfast:

  • Option 1:Full fat pineapple cottage cheese
  • Option 2: Granola and almond milk
  • Option 3: oatmeal (I always have oatmeal and almond butter on hand as an alternative or addition to anything)

For lunch:

  • option 1: salmon (broiled with Trader Joes vidalia onion/bacon vinagrette) over broccoli slaw with green pepper slices and oven roasted portabella mushrooms
  • option 2: baked teriyaki ginger tofu with stir fried vegetables (shredded cabbage, carrots, snow peas, portabella mushrooms) and rice

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For Snacks:

  • Hillshire small plates
  • Sargento balanced breaks
  • sugar snap peas
  • Kind bars

 

On any given work day, I’m in and out of my car or running around Manhattan via subway.  I like to have a stash of snacks on hand for between appointments, or when I have to run out last minute but I’m verging on hangry.  Having lunches cooked and ready is great, but when I can’t get back to the office on time to keep my stomach from grumbling, having a Kind bar or a bag of snap peas in my tote can keep me from buying the first Snickers bar I see.

Meal Prep: Lentils, Quinoa, Veggies, Smoothies

I’m going to apologize in advance, I genuinely didn’t know I had that many posts with “Meal Prep” in the title.  Does that make my blog easier to read or just boring? I’m going to try my best to stick to the above format, just to make it easier to scroll.  For all five people that might be scrolling through here, but hey you  never know!

 

I try to meal prep, which has become a sub culture of crazy fitness freaks and health gurus.  I just think it makes it easier to cook a bunch of food at once and then not worry all week.

This particular week, I was inspired by the book “Go Clean, Sexy You”, which is about seasonal cleanses.  I’m not sure how much validity there are to cleanses in terms of science, but I know sometimes it feels good to reboot and get the druck out of your system.

Instead of making one particular dish, like my stir fry from two weeks ago, I stuck to a few ingredients I could mix and match.  From start to finish, my meal prep took about 2 hours tops, including cleaning up.  So for people that say they don’t have time to cook something nutritious, or that fast food and snacking is their only option I’m calling shenanigans.  Sometimes I grab food on the go, and heck yea it can be great, but don’t you start to feel like a busted can of biscuits after a while?

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I cooked up some lentils (about 2 cups) in vegetable stock, with whatever seasoning I managed to grab from the cabinet.  You can’t really go wrong here.  I did the same for quinoa.  So now I’ve got two big containers of whole grain, carb, protein, filling good stuff.

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To go with that, I roasted up some vegetables (parsnips, butternut squash, mushrooms)  My recommended way to roast any vegetables: cut up to uniform sizes, coat with olive oil and seasoning.  I used garlic powder, some ginger, salt, pepper, and I’m sure a few other mixtures.

Pop those in the oven, and please don’t forget to be timing everything.  By this point, I had the lentils simmering, the quinoa was almost done, and I started on smoothies.

I recently looked into how to make smoothies ahead of time.  My normal daily routine is as follows: I wake up(430am), grab something small to eat in the car on the way to the gym (5-520am), then I work out and get ready at the gym (520-7am) then scarf something down at work.  So it needs to be healthy, filling, and easy.  Smoothies are great, but I currently live with family and I don’t think Mom wants me using the blender at 430am.

So I invest in some 1 1/2 pint Ball mason jars (Amazon.com) and some plastic lids (Amazon.com).  What I did was blend the smoothies (one per day, so five total) and then store them in the freezer.  The night before, at about 9pm, I pull the smoothie from the freezer and put it in the fridge.  In the morning, I pop the smoothie into my bag and then by the time I get to my office is defrosted enough, but still has the smoothie frostiness.  So far so good! (I picked up some Power Protein Banana Chocolate Chunk muffins from Trader Joes to eat in the car before the gym)

I made some different smoothies, just for the sake of variety throughout the week.  Some had almond milk, some had water.  I think they all had spinach and the super seed blend.  Half had banana, half had avocado for creaminess.  Some had berries, others had clementines.  Fill to the line specified on the jar, and freeze. Couldn’t have been easier.

These are a really nice size, they’re like a large drinking glass.  I use a straw, but could easily drink out of these.  They feel nicer than a plastic bottle as well, and weren’t a huge investment.

Also, at this point, everything was done and pulled from the stove/oven.  I threw some baby broccoli in the oven for a few minutes to cook lightly and then everything was pretty much set.

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Some days I’ll mix the lentils, quinoa, and veggies all together.  Some days I’ll eat the lentils and broccoli cold with some almonds on top.  Two days this week I’ll add protein in the form of a packet of salmon, or a tin of smoked trout.  I know that trout sounds funky, but trust me its great stuff from Trader Joes.

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I’ll snack on rice cakes with peanut butter (one of my all time favorite things) and probably a few chocolates.  But that’s a week’s worth of breakfast and lunches.  Done.

 

Optimistic Salad

A salad can be an easy way to brighten up your day, which is essential during gloomy weather.  Soup and hearty dishes might be great, but sometimes your body needs some fresh veggies and pretty colors.  Yea, trust me on that one.

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My best approach is to just grab all the produce that looks good.  Don’t worry about having a plan, or how its going to end up.  Broccoli, radishes, yellow and orange peppers, baby spinach, avocado, jalapeno peppers, cucumber.

I prepped a few salads at a time, which is a good plan of attack if your just one or two people: that way you get a few bites of everything in each salad, instead of being faced with the daunting task of forcing down a giant bowl of one or two ingredients.

058.JPGokay, so it wasn’t as pretty the next day. (I added a Boca Burger, and smashed the avocado on top)  But yum.  Some tea on the side and bring on the gloom.