I love to cook. I love to exercise. I don't really like to meal prep. I like cutting meal prep to the minimum.
Why? Because I've been there, done that, and I feel like PLANNING meals for the week doesn't work for me. How to meal plan and prep? By figuring out what you're craving and knowing that you have enough healthy food to honor those cravings.
Like today. I thought I'd have salmon for dinner, but ended up madly, deeply, truly craving eggplant and pasta (its a weirdly cool day for summer). What if I had meal prepped salmon and rice in a cute little tupperware?? That would have been sad because my options would have been to:
1) eat the food I wasn't craving
2) not eat the meal prepped food and risk it going bad and wasting it
I'm not really into either of those options. In fact, I've found that prepping foods often leads to waste. And, sure, I always strive to repurpose foods to change up the flavor, but deep down inside whenever I eat something I don't really want then I finish my meal still seeking a little somethin' somethin' else.
So, I think the "method" I am going to propose today may be for the more advanced healthy lifestyle people. Someone who feels fairly confident in the kitchen and has a few easy-go-tos up their sleeve.
Instead of prepping meals, I like to prep "pieces of meals" to create meals throughout the week. Today I'm going to break down some of the easy, lazy foods I keep in my home to make my life easier. Sure, these aren't gourmet meals, but we don't always have time to commit to a gourmet meal, do we? Sometimes we just plop on the couch and order a pizza.
So, I propose, plop on the couch and combine some super-quick-and-easy nutrient dense foods instead. AND honor your cravings*, if you want Italian, jazz up the meal to make it Italian. If you want Chinese, flavor the meal with Asian flavors. A few condiments go a long way.
Its the easiest way to meal prep meals for the week without spending time actually prepping.
* Also, if ordering a pizza is what you want to do because you're CRAVING that slice of goodness, then I totally think you should order the pizza! But if you were ordering pizza because you were being lazy... well then, follow my No-Meal-Prep-Method.
Banza Pasta (or any bean based pasta)
Pre-Grilled Chicken Breasts (Applegate for example)
Tofu or Seitan or Tempeh (they sell preseasoned at Trader Joe's [TJs])
Lentils (You can buy pre-cooked lentils in the refrigerated aisle of TJs)
Eggs or Eggwhites
Banza Pasta (or any bean based pasta)
Sweet Potatoes (you can meal prep these in the IP or Crockpot super easily OR just microwave 'em)
Alexia French Fries
Trader Joe's Frozen Rice
Trader Joe's Frozen Quinoa
Fruit (frozen or fresh)
High Fiber, High Protein Bread (such as Dave's Killer Bread)
Easy (& Healthy) Fats
Cold-Application Oils: Olive Oil
Cooking Oils: Avocado Oil
Kerrygold Cheese (or any grass-fed cheese)
Kerrygold Butter(or any grass-fed butter)
Avocado (frozen avocado is available for smoothies in some stores)
Coconut Milk (from the can)
Unsweetened Coconut Milk/Almond Milk (from the carton)
Sauteed Onions + Peppers + Frozen Burger + Bread
Canned Tuna + Lemon + Ben's Ready Rice + Sauteed in Kerrygold Butter
Banza Pasta + Tomato Sauce (such as Rao's Marinara) + (optional) Grass-fed Cheese
Pre-Grilled Chicken + Sweet Potato + Avocado
Tofu + Peanutbutter + Honey + Drop of fish sauce & soy sauce & sriracha + Orange Slices
Greek Yogurt + Oats + Drop of Almond Milk + Fruit
Lentils + Quinoa + Walnuts + Raisins
Egg whites + Oats + Drop of Almond Milk + Fruit
Powdered PB + Sweet Potato + Drop of Almond Milk + Raisins
Cottage Cheese + Toast + Honey
Ricotta + Banza Pasta + Tomato Sauce
Nutritional Yeast + Alexia French Fries
Nutritional Yeast + Quinoa
See? Once you start balancing your plate with carb, protein and fat; it becomes easy to find winning combos! Obviously, bumping up the flavor and fiber content with fresh or frozen veggies is always encouraged!
And don't forget to sign up for my free meal plan for runners when you join my mailing list for more easy peasy recipe inspiration.