Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Let's Talk Tuesday: Weekly Meal Prep

Happy Tuesday, friends! It's time for us to chat, and this week it's all about meal prep. Many of you who follow me on Snapchat (annaleewhite) have asked me about my Sunday shenanigans in the kitchen, and how I do my weekly meal prep (especially since starting Whole30). Well, today I'm going to answer all of your questions about how I spend my Sunday afternoons knocking out everything for the week ahead! So let's talk -

What do you make for breakfast each week?
I usually make a dozen of my easy egg muffins (so yummy!!), and they will last us about three days (we each have two for breakfast every morning). I also make a dozen hard boiled eggs, so the other two days we will have a hard boiled egg and a banana for breakfast (we eat the other eggs before workouts for some protein). I've also made these prosciutto egg cups, and they are very tasty! I love having easy to go items prepped ahead of time since I am running out the door so early in the mornings. On the weekends, I cook us breakfast - which usually consists of some type of egg dish. To use up all of our leftover veggies for the week, I usually throw them all in sauté pan to cook and serve them with scrambled eggs.

How long does it take you?
I'm usually in the kitchen for about an hour and half on Sunday afternoons. I try to do my grocery shopping on Saturdays so I don't have to shop and prep all in the same day. Although it does take up some time on Sundays, I am always so glad when I don't have to spend time in the evenings after work making my lunch or prepping for dinners. It's nice to have everything done so that I can just grab my lunch and breakfast every morning and know what's for dinner that night. So what do I prep? - breakfast items, lunches, snacks (like cutting our fruit and veggies up in advance and putting in individual containers), and I try to do a little dinner prep as well.

What do you pack for lunches every day?
Salads! I pretty much do the same thing every week, but I will switch up my protein every now and then. My favorite is ground turkey (seasoned with taco seasoning) with sliced peppers, radishes, shredded carrots, and cilantro. I sprinkle fresh lime juice on it right before eating and mix with guacamole for my dressing. Delish! Sometimes I cook a few chicken breasts, dice them, and add broccoli, cucumbers, radishes, and shredded carrots with Italian dressing. The key is using romaine lettuce because it will stay crisp all week in air tight containers (shout-out to my cousin, Kati, for teaching me that trick because I was using spring lettuce and it would go bad) and to layer - first the lettuce, then veggies, then your cooked protein.

Do you get tired of eating the same thing every day?
Not really - I only get 20 minutes for lunch as a teacher, so it's a quick blitz to get my food down anyway. I like the salads because they require no heating up (always a line for the microwave #teacherlife), and they are filling but don't make me want to take a big nap afterwards. As long as I mix up what type of salad I bring every now and then, I don't get tired of eating the same thing!

How do you prepare for dinners ahead of time?
We do a lot of crockpot and freezer meals. I will do things like make a big batch of meatballs (this recipe is to die for), keep some out to eat that week, and freeze the others for later. I also try to prep my crockpot meals as much as I can in advance and write the directions on the bag. For example, if the recipe calls for diced onion, I will go ahead and chop the onion and put in the refrigerator with a label: add to crockpot for Tuesday's dinner, etc. I try to make it as easy as possible so that I'm not spending my whole evening in the kitchen. I also like to stock up on plenty of freezer meals for really busy weeks - you can see some of my favorite freezer meals here.

I have linked a few items below that really help me with my meal prep each week - if you have anymore questions about my meal prep system, please don't hesitate to ask me! I've really been focusing on eating more healthy meals, and ordering out less, so spending a few hours in the kitchen on Sunday really helps me to accomplish that. There is nothing worse than having a long day at work and coming home trying to throw a dinner together last minute, along with having to pack a lunch for the next day. Those are the days when I would throw my hands up and just order pizza - which honestly, we all need to do sometimes - but meal prepping ahead of time definitely helps cut back on that! It has really helped since we started Whole30 and has made the program a lot more manageable. Do you meal prep or just take it day by day?! I'd love to hear! Thanks for stopping by!

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