This week is all about prepping ahead of time. Last week I didn’t take the time to meal prep like I usually do, and I ended up scrambling for healthy options by the end of the week and even making a stop at Subway for Friday’s lunch. It’s SO much easier to make a healthy choice when it’s already prepared and ready to go, so I’m making sure to have plenty of healthy, prepared options on hand.
Breakfast is easy. I made 5 jars of overnight oats on Sunday so they’re in the fridge and ready to grab as I run out the door each morning this week. This post has my recipe for overnight oats, as well as some other healthy ‘fast food’ breakfast options that can be prepared ahead of time (and a few drive thru options).
Lunches are a little trickier, but I’m going the mason jar route here too. I’ve tried packing the entire salad in a jar, but I like BIG salads and find that they’re just too difficult to mix properly and eat out of a jar. Instead, I packed the toppings in a small mason jar and packed the lettuce separately in tupperware containers. You can find some inspiration for topping jars here; this week I’m doing a Mediterranean mix of chickeas, quinoa, feta, cucumber, tomatoes and a homemade greek vinaigrette.
Which brings us to dinner and this week’s meal plan. I don’t typically prepare an entire dinner ahead of time, but there are some shortcuts to make it a little easier throughout the week. Chop any veggies and store them together; cook rice, quinoa or another grain that your recipe calls for; mix up dressings or sauces. I’ve made a note for each recipe below what I’m going to prep ahead of time!
Pesto Pasta with Grilled Chicken: This one can truly be prepped entirely ahead of time, but I want it to be a warm dish (could be served cold in the summer) so I’m just prepping the chicken ahead of time. Grill the chicken and then slice into strips, then store in a container until you’re ready to make the rest of the recipe. All I have to do is cook the pasta and slice the tomatoes and chop basil while it’s cooking. Dinner in under 15 minutes!
It’s Valentine’s Day, so dinner will be a little different than normal. We always have crab cakes (purchased at a seafood market down the road) with a spinach salad on the side. If you’re making dinner in to celebrate, this fish with a lemon sherry pan sauce would be fun, served with lemon garlic cauliflower rice. You can make the cauliflower rice ahead of time, and the fish recipe is super simple so you won’t be stuck in the kitchen all night.
Lentil Curry Soup: This recipe does require some time at the stove, but make things easier on yourself by peeling and cutting the sweet potatoes and onion earlier in the week. After that, you’re just tossing ingredients into the pot and letting it cook for 30 minutes. Serve with whole wheat rolls (or try this recipe); I like to keep a bag of frozen whole wheat rolls on hand to pair with recipes like this!
Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash: Can you tell I’m all about warm comfort food this week? This is another dish that can be prepped almost entirely ahead of time. Chop and roast your butternut squash, cook the quinoa, caramelize the onions and whisk together the dressing if you’re using homemade. Warm up the prepared ingredients together, then add remaining ingredients and you’re ready to serve.
Steak and Garlic Basil Sweet Potato Fries: To prep the sweet potatoes, slice and toss with seasonings, then store in the bag until you’re ready to bake. You can also make the spicy mayo ahead of time; make sure to watch your serving size with the mayo to keep this meal in the ‘healthy’ category!
What are you planning for Valentine’s Day dinner?