This weekend I did something that I have never really done before.
I meal prepped.
That’s right…I’ve managed to lose 100 lbs almost twice now, yet I have never really done a meal prep. Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t plan ahead and just eat whatever on a whim, but I’ve never really made, portioned out and put together meals in advance.
At work recently there were some changes and my lunch time is cut down a bit since my husband (we work together) needs to get back sooner than I do. We live right around the corner from work so we go home at lunch but when you factor in the travel time there’s really only about 20 minutes to sit down and eat lunch. In our obscenely small kitchen it is impossible for both of us to be in there making lunch at the same time, so I have found my lunches to be bland, boring and not really satisfying. It’s been a lot of ham or peanut butter sandwiches. What’s next…cold square shaped pizza and chocolate milk in a pouch?!
I decided that I wanted to try and meal prep some lunches and snacks. This way I know I have something that is satisfying and Points+ friendly for my lunches. And having them all prepared and ready to heat up if necessary solves my time crunch issue.
I didn’t do anything for dinners. See, I really love cooking and so does The Frank. I don’t mind eating leftovers or reheating things for lunch but for dinner I like to prepare it fresh. And a lot of the time we are deciding what to eat that very day. By doing that it helps the meal to feel more satisfying because I don’t know about you but sometimes there is no worse feeling than having to eat something you don’t really want to eat, LOL.
But for my lunches? This is can prep up and look forward to. So I did just that!! And to break out of the sandwich rut I broke out the crock pot. I made 2 different meals from the SkinnyTaste site: Balsamic Pork and Santa Fe Chicken. Not only do I have these for lunches but we also had them for dinner the night they were made. This saved $$ on extra groceries. Score!! After we ate them for dinner I would let them cool a bit then I portioned out the serving size.
First thing I did was get some containers. I wanted something that I could store everything into one…not 4 or 5 different containers. I found these at the dollar store and my mom found that red one at the Christmas Tree shops. Amazon also carries some that are a reasonable price. Not crazy about them being a circle as they take up more space in the fridge but for a buck you can’t go wrong. Plus it will just encourage me (hopefully) to clean out the fridge more.
I also got these little containers (also at the $1 store) to hold dressings & dips. They fit into the large tray perfectly too.
I said OK, I got my protein…how can I add some flare to it? SO I put some fat free re-fried beans with the chicken and some quinoa with the pork. Now I need some sides, because I’m all about QUANTITY…I roasted some broccoli to go with the pork because it just sounded good and added a brie cheese snack to give me some extra protein because I am a total protein slut. With the chicken I decided to cool things down with some cucumbers and fat free black bean dip and/or yogurt ranch dressing.
The lunches feel kind of big but I think that’s because the circle container makes it feel like a giant dinner plate. The Weight Watchers Points+ Values are 10P+ for the Pork and 7P+ for the chicken.
For snacks I just did simple things, like portion out more ranch dressing and dip, cut green peppers & cucumbers and portion out edamame (which after MANY years of just thawing and eating it I learned it needs to be cooked…oops). Other good snacks to do are hard boil some eggs, string cheese which is a lot easier to grab if you break them apart from each other instead of having to rip one each time you want one, cut fruit and portioned out crackers & chips.
So some good tips to get started:
- Buy something to store your food in that is easy and accessible to you. Don't over complicate things because you're likely to grab something else.
- Keep it simple when you start...sliced up cucumbers and pre-portioned cheese. Things you can just throw in there. Just like when you start out on a the program (or any program really) too much too soon can feel suffocating. Keep it simple.
- Make something that provides many servings. Both of these recipes made 8 servings a piece. This left me with a lot of leftovers. I don't want to eat the same thing everyday of course but with each of meals I can mix it up by adding a different side or adding it to something else.
- Set aside some time. It doesn't take a TON of time but it's nice to block out an hour or so on the weekend and dedicate it to yourself and your wellness. Due to my extremely small kitchen it takes me a little longer to prep but it was fun and it was worth it. Plus I'm on my feet and moving around so it's something active as well.
- The internet is your BFF when it comes to meal planning. There are SO many sites out there with meal prep ideas, especially for lunches. Pinterest is my BFF when it comes to this and with a lot of Weight Watcher friendly recipe sites a lot of the Points+ calculations are done for you!
I really hope that this is something I continue to do each week. It’s nice knowing that I have a decent lunch waiting for me and that all I have to do is heat it up when I get home. Money was pretty tight this week (ok every week really) but these meals were extremely cheap to make and we got so many servings out of them that there are enough for Frankie to have as well if he wants or we could have them for dinner again…though if I’m eating them for lunch that probably won’t happen, but it’s an option! Hell, I could even just have the chicken or pork by itself for a snack if I wanted. Throw some of it in a piece of baby romaine lettuce and yum yum in my tum!!
Do you meal prep?? Any good tips or meal suggestions??