Updated: Apr 9
I get it..."Meal Prep" sounds like a daunting task that is waaaay too time-consuming....besides, the only people who meal prep are bodybuilders, anyway!
But the truth is, anyone can meal prep- busy moms and dads, the corporate gal that travels every week, the single guy living on his own- and it actually SAVES time during the week.
I have been there; all set up with a meal plan for the week, only to be overwhelmed with all the different recipes and methods of cooking that I feel the need to cram into one day. But that is why I am sharing with you my very own meal prep hack- Nourish Bowls!
I call them Nourish Bowls because they are built to provide optimal nourishment and are easy to make and alter so it doesn't feel like you are eating the same thing day in and day out, without having to make 14 different recipes each week. They are built by starting with a greens base, then adding in a carbohydrate, fat, protein and extra veggies. Including all of these components is what makes it a Nourish Bowl. Simple enough, right? At the beginning of the week, you batch prepare 2-3 different types of carbohydrates, 2-3 different types of veggies and 2-3 sources of protein, then add in your fresh greens and source of fat when you're ready to eat!
For example, on Sunday I may cube up some sweet potato, and bake it. While that's baking I would cook up some brown rice or quinoa on the stovetop. These would be my carbs for the week. Then I would boil some eggs, bake some chicken breasts, and brown some ground turkey. That would be my protein for the week. I would fill a couple of sheet pans with broccoli, zucchini, peppers onions, and tomatoes and roast them in the oven-my veggies for the week. I would have on hand my greens of choice, like arugula or spinach, and a few different sources of healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and avocado. I would also make a few different types of dressings, like my vegan caesar dressing or grab a dressing from Trader Joes, to drizzle on top, making each bowl a different flavor!
How to Build a Nourish Bowl:
Start with a leafy greens base. I love Arugula or spinach.
Add your carbohydrate. This can be brown rice or some baked sweet potato chunks.
Choose your protein. You can give it a breakfast vibe and add a hard-boiled egg or two, or stick with chicken or ground turkey.
Add in your fats. Here you can add some sliced avocado, drizzle on some olive oil, or throw in some pumpkin seeds!
Load up on veggies. Then you could add in the roasted broccoli or some of the roasted peppers and onions!
Finally, pick your flavor. Add in some spice with hot sauce or drizzle on you vegan caesar dressing or maybe you have a favorite peanut sauce you like to make....the possibilities are endless!
Each of these items can be stored in the fridge in bulk containers, or you can choose to build your bowls for the week in individual containers so they are easy to grab and go. I keep the first 3 days of meals in the refrigerator and freeze the rest, pulling them out the night before I need them.
Utilizing and prepping food for Nourish Bowls has been the easiest way for me to meal prep for the week. I don't have to read time-consuming recipes, I can purchase the produce and meat for the week, based on what's on sale, and I am POSITIVE I am creating healthy, nourishing meals for the week. My favorite part is the flexibility of creating different flavors, and components of the bowls. Not one has to be the same combo of ingredients as the other. There are so many possibilities of combinations and flavors for the week!
I hope this has opened up the possibility of incorporating some meal prepping into your life. I see many people struggle especially when it comes to lunch at the office or on the go. Here is when convenience trumps our healthy intentions and we run through the drive-through or have something delivered to the office to continue working. Or maybe just the overwhelm of deciding what to have for lunch every day is getting stressful.
5 meals....that's all you need to start with. 5 lunches for the week. 5 meals CLOSER to your goal of optimal wellness. 5 fewer decisions you have to make every week. 5 fewer meals you are spending extra money on, by eating out. Keep it simple.
Here are some of my favorite recipes to batch prep for the week:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place boneless chicken breast on a sheet pan and drizzle with avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.
Once cooked through, allow cooling then slice the breasts in thin strips. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, toss together broccoli florets, zucchini chopped into cubes, sliced onions and peppers, with avocado oil, salt, and pepper.
Bake for 15-20 minutes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Toss diced sweet potato in avocado oil and spread across the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, tossing at the halfway mark.
Remove from oven and season with sea salt
Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing:
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
Juiced from 2 small lemons
4 tbsp. water
a dash or two of salt
Combine all the ingredients and use as a salad dressing or drizzle it over your Nourish Bowl to change up the flavor!
These simple items can easily be prepped in a short amount of time, and be utilized for meals throughout the week. You could build a Nourish Bowl by starting with a bed of arugula, add in the veggies and sweet potatoes, then some of the chicken and top with some sliced avocado or the vegan caesar dressing!
Happy Meal Prepping!
Looking for more ways to incorporate healthy habits to reach your health and wellness goals? Schedule a free call with me to learn more.