Why Meal Prep:
When I think of meal prep I immediately think of weight loss, but meal prep has benefits beyond dropping a few pounds.
- Saving Money – No matter what you tell yourself, packing your own lunch is cheaper than takeout. Even if the takeout is $5 a packed lunch is cheaper. Trust me. Portioning your food also saves money – If you take a chili recipe that serves 6 and portion those servings out into 6 containers you won’t eat double the portion without thinking and have to buy more food later.
- Special Diets – If you’re vegan, like me, or subscribe to any other special diet you never have to worry about food meeting your needs.
- Environment – Every time you eat takeout the packaging, bag, utensils, and cup eventually end up in the landfill. Bringing your own lunch to school or work reduces waste and your negative impact on the environment.
- Health – If nutrition is a concern, meal prep insures you always have a healthy meal prepared.
How to Meal Prep:
- Honesty – Be honest about your eating habits. Do you like larger meals and fewer snacks or more snacks and smaller meals? Are you craving something in particular this week? How can you incorporate that into your meal prep? The point is forget the “ideal” healthy meals you see you social mediand plan your prep to eat what works for you. If you’re craving ice cream, plan to have a serving of ice cream!
- Plan – I spend a few minutes every week (usually Friday) searching through food blogs and the few cookbooks I own (I don’t own many because of expense and space. Hit up our good girlfriend Ms. library) looking for recipe ideas. I usually make 1 lunch and 1 diner option, for a period of 6 days. If eating the same thing everyday doesn’t work for you, you can make 2 diner and 2 lunch options by reducing the size of larger recipes or using recipes with a smaller serving size. You can also prep ingredients (chop veggies, etc.) and snacks to make weeknight cooking and healthy snacking easier as oppose to cooking everything on one day.
- Containers – The containers you use are up to you. Plastic containers are usually cheap and recyclable. However, as money allows, I’m switching to glass containers. Glass is more environmentally friendly, doesn’t hold smells, stains, and chemicals with the potential to leach into your food.
- Storage – I store two lunches and two dinners at a time in the refrigerator, freezing the rest and moving them to the refrigerator to defrost as the week goes on.
Notes on My Diet:
- I eat a vegan diet based largely on whole foods with a few processed items.
- I eat 1800 calories a day for the purpose of weight loss. If you’re looking to lose weight please consult a registered dietitian for the calorie amount you should be eating.
- I spend between $40-50 on groceries for one every week.
- I am not vegan to lose weight. Veganism is not a weight loss solution. More on that later.
- I drink between 2 – 4 liters of water a day (usually 4).
What I’m Eating This Week:
I start the day with a bowl of oatmeal.
- 1/2 cup of oats
- 1- 1 1/2 cups of non-dairy milk (I use unsweetened 1 1/2 cups of cashew or almond)
- 1 tsp of dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp of real maple syrup
- 1 dash of salt
- 1 medium banana, sliced
- 1/2 fresh blueberries
1.) In a pot combine oats, milk, sugar, syrup, and salt. Cook until desired consistency (I like mine more creamy).
2.) Add oats to a bowl and stir in the banana and blueberries.
I do not prep this meal. I make it fresh everyday.
After Workout Smoothie
I do low intensity aerobics with strength for 1 1/2 hours after breakfast. After my workout I drink a protein smoothie.
- 1/2 a frozen banana
- 1/2 cup of a frozen tropical fruit blend
- 1 cup of frozen spinach
- 1 cup of non diary milk
- 1 scoop of Sun Warrior vegan protein powder in natural (or protein powder of choice)
- A dash of Splenda for sweetness (optional)
Directions: Throw everything in a blender and drink up. If you’re using all fresh ingredients add ice if your blender can handle it.
I like to have my biggest meal at lunch so nothing heavy is sitting on my stomach near bedtime. This week I made a panang curry recipe modified slightly from The Picky Eater.
- 1 block extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch cubes
- cooking spray
- 2 tbsp PB2
- 6 tbsp thai red curry paste
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 14oz cans light coconut milk
- 3 tbsp lower sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 bell peppers, sliced
- 2 zucchini, quartered and sliced
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp of flour
- dash of salt (to taste)
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice for serving (3/4 cup cooked per serving)
1.) Drain and press tofu. Spray a pan with cooking spray. Then, cook tofu until golden. Set the tofu aside.
2.) Spray the pan with more cooking spray. Add the peppers, zucchini, carrots, and broccoli and cook for 10 minutes.
3.) In a medium pot, PB2, curry paste, cumin, coriander, and cayenne; cook 15 seconds. Add coconut milk, soy sauce, flour and sugar, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add in tofu and simmer 2-3 minutes.
4.) Pour tofu and sauce into the pan with the veggies. Simmer 5 minutes.
5.) Take off heat and stir in lime juice. Serve with 3/4 of cooked white rice.
Calories: 407 for the curry with 1 serving of rice.
I stored each serving in tupperware with the rice.
For dinner this week I had a delicious lentil stew. I followed this recipe from The Hummusapien almost to the letter, only adding a few more cups of water during cooking and subbing the oil for cooking spray. For serving I added a slice of toasted Aunt Millie’s 12 grain bread.
Calories: 167. Bread: 110 calories per slice.
I stored each serving of the stew in tupperware and toasted the bread at the time of my meal.
These homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Lara Bars were a great end to a meal or great for travel. I followed the recipe from Oh She Glows to the letter. I made 10 bars, wrapped them in parchment paper and stored them in the freezer until I was ready to eat.
I snack a lot, especially when I’m writing. Here’s what I had this week.
- 1 100 calorie dry roasted almond pack
- 1 serving of wasabi & soy sauce Triscuits or 1 serving of popcorn popped in an air popper. Sprayed with olive oil spray and sprinkled with salt. Both are 130 calories each.
- 1 Pink Lady Apple. 72 Calories.
I usually save my cheat day for going out with friends. I eat more than 1800 calories, but I still work out and don’t use the day as an excuse to eat everything I lay my eyes on. For breakfast I ate my usual oatmeal. For snacks I had the Lara Bar and almonds I’d been having all week. For lunch I had 1 cucumber roll, 2 avocado rolls and a miso soup. For Dinner I had the Big Ol’ BBQ Burger, sweet potato fries, 2 glasses of watermelon fresca, and a carrot caramel cupcake from Native Foods.