One of the most crucial steps to living a healthy lifestyle is most definitely taking the time to plan and prep ahead. Having healthy options that are prepared and easy-to-grab with little to no effort makes it SO much easier to make a healthy choice when it’s time to chow down. Today I’m sharing how I utilize meal prep Sunday to set myself up for a healthy week ahead!
First things, first: I refer to meal prep Sunday, but this can absolutely be any day of the week that works for you. I choose Sunday because I’m usually home, free of plans, and it helps me to set the tone for the week ahead. If Wednesdays are your free day/night, meal prep Wednesdays might just be for you. 🙂
My Sunday prepping varies from week to week, but I find that no matter my menu, the same three staples pop up again and again. They’re easy to make, store easily, and are items I’ll likely reach for even if I don’t have a plan for the week.
Quinoa is my go-to for work-week lunches. It’s easily turned into a salad, and is equally delicious topped with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice in a pinch. Especially with my pregnancy-induced meat aversion, quinoa is a key part of my protein intake, packing 8g of protein per cup.
Store quinoa in an air-tight container and use as needed throughout the week in recipes or for easy lunches. Add some greens, avocado, tomato, feta and top with a little olive oil and salt for a delicious and filling lunch.
Tip: Use a rice cooker for quinoa on the brown rice setting. 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water; set it and move on to your other prep work while the rice cooker does the work!
Whether they’re destined for an upcoming recipe or a mid-afternoon snack (along with staple #3), chopping all of your veggies on Sunday saves valuable time throughout the week. Look over all of the recipes on your weekly menu, chop and store the veggies until they’re needed, labeling which recipe they’re meant for and any additional preparation notes on the baggie.
An assortment of chopped veggies makes a no-brainer mid-day snack as well, so chop up plenty for the week ahead. My favorites are carrots, broccoli and cucumber, which I pack for work along with a serving of homemade hummus or guacamole.
Tip: If your office has a fridge, take your container of chopped veggies and dip of choice and store your snacks for the week. This helps me to cut down on what’s in my lunch bag everyday.
Homemade hummus is my third and final meal prep Sunday staple, since it’s perfect for healthy snacking and can also be used as a condiment for sandwiches or a salad topper. We tend to eat a late dinner, and I always find myself scavenging through the kitchen between the time I get home and dinner time, so it’s helpful to have a healthy snack prepped and ready to go. Enter the hummus!
Simply toss the following in a food processor and pulse until smooth: 2 cans chickpeas, 1/3 cup tahini, juice of 1 lemon, 4 garlic cloves, 1 tsp kosher salt. Add juice from chickpeas or water to reach desired consistency. (Check out my pumpkin hummus for a delicious twist to this recipe!)
Tip: I always have hummus ingredients in my kitchen, as they’re easy to keep on hand without spoiling. Keep a few cans of chickpeas and tahini in the pantry so you can whip up a batch of hummus when the mood strikes! If you don’t have tahini, just substitute olive oil (add slowly as needed).
Again, these ‘staples’ are the items I prep consistently, along with any other foods needed for the week. With just an hour spent in the kitchen (often times less!) I have a solid start to a healthy week ahead.
Do you meal prep each week? What are your staples?