Weekly Meal Prepping: Why I love it, and why you should too!

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As most of you know, I absolutely love cooking and creating recipes. I also work from home full-time, so I have slightly more time and flexibility to do these things as opposed to the regular office 9-5’er. That being said, most of my actual grocery shopping and cooking happens on Sundays, so really anyone can make this system work. Whether you are a meal prep beginner or a pro, this can be tailored to people of all types of work schedules- you just need to commit to it!

I started seriously meal prepping about two years ago when I realized that I was going to the grocery store 3-4 times a week (time and effort) and spending upwards of $400 PER WEEK ($$$)) on groceries only. For a family of just two people, that is 1. Too much time wasted 2. Too much money. Not to mention that it entices you to go out to eat more frequently, resulting in spending even more. If you go to the grocery store ONE time per week with a detailed grocery list, you will 100% spend less money, spend less time thinking of what you’re going to eat, force yourself to make/eat what you already have at home and eat healthier meals because you’re not going out to restaurants due to 1. Not knowing what to make 2. Being lazy (sorry but it’s true). Some people have crazy work schedules- that’s fine- it just means that you have to start slower (for example, 2 meals per week prepped instead of 4-5) and truly make a conscious effort to stay on track. If you are super busy, a crockpot will be your best friend. You can serious throw a hodge-podge of ingredients in your slow cooker, and it comes out delicious when you get home from work. There are several exclusively crockpot cookbooks out there that are wonderful!

This is a complete lifestyle change, but it is SO worth it. You also don’t have to be a master chef to do this. There are thousands of recipes online, in cookbooks, and also on our website that do not take a ton of time, skills or ingredients!

If you are interested in meal planning for breakfast, let me give you my quick and dirty. I make a smoothie every single morning (if you have your ingredients ready to go, this is a perfect option if you’re on the go), followed by a 2nd breakfast around 11-12. My second breakfast is usually avocado toast with some scrambled or hard boiled eggs. Sometimes I will make a breakfast bowl, or egg cups (recipe here); they both reheat well, making it great meal prep options.  Breakfast bowl could include: roasted potatoes, scrambled eggs, lean ground beef with some salsa (on the side) and fresh herbs. You could also sub out the ground beef for chicken sausage and if you’re a vegetarian, a tofu/egg scramble is delicious!

Now, I want to show you my list of food items that I keep in my house at all times, and also a list of recurring items that I get at the store on a weekly basis. I hope that it is a good guideline for you guys if you are wishing to get started!

PANTRY STAPLES:

Grains:

-          Jasmine rice or brown rice

-          Quinoa

-          Old fashioned oats

-          Variety of pastas: spaghetti, rigatoni, macaroni, orzo

Legumes:

-          Black beans (I get a 24-pack at Costco)

-          Chickpeas (also 24-pack at Costco)

-          Great Northern Beans (great in soups and stews)

-          Dried lentils

 

Nuts/Seeds:

-          Peanuts

-          Cashews

-          Almonds

-          Chia seeds, hemp seeds

-          Peanut butter, almond butter

 

Oils & Spices:

-          Coconut oil

-          Extra Virgin Olive Oil (low smoke point, so use carefully)

-          Avocado Oil (High smoke point, this is what I use on a daily basis)

-          Sunflower Seed Oil (also high smoke point)

-          Sesame Oil

-          Ghee

-          Spices: I literally have every spice under the sun in my pantry but I would say the essentials are: Salt, Pepper, garlic, paprika, cayenne, oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes, chili powder, seasoning salt

 

Misc:

-          Honey, Agave

-          Soy sauce, Fish Sauce, Oyster Sauce

-          Hot sauce (Crystal is the best 100%. If you say otherwise, you are wrong.)

-          Ginger (I keep the knob in the freezer)

-          Broths (chicken, Veg, Beef)

-          Fire Roasted Tomatoes (canned), Frontera Chipotle Sauce (found at WF, online)

-          Tomato Paste, Tomato Sauce

-          Marinara (I love Rao’s or TJ’s Arrabiata)

-          Coconut Milk

-          Flour, Sugar

 

WEEKLY GROCERY ITEMS: (I do not get every single one of these items every week, I rotate through them depending on what I’m making)

Meats:

-          Ground chicken, ground turkey, lean ground beef, ground pork

-          Chicken breasts, Rotisserie Chicken

-          Chicken sausage

-          Salmon, or other fish

-          Steak (special occasion)

Dairy:

-          Milk

-          Oat milk or cashew milk

-          Eggs (I crush eggs so I usually get two cartons per week)

-          Shredded cheese, Cottage Cheese, Greek Yogurt

 

Fruits/Vegetables:

-          Onions, garlic, shallots, green onions

-          Spinach

-          Kale

-          Avocados, Sweet Potatoes

-          Lemons/limes

-          Bananas

-          Frozen fruits

-          Fresh herbs- basil, cilantro, parsley, dill

Misc:

-          Dressings (I love Tessemaes and Dress it Up, both can be found at WF or online)

-          Snack bars (My faves: Chomps, Perfect Bar- both found at TJs, WF, online)

-          Cold Brew

-          Salsa

-          Cereal

-          Bread (My fave is Rise Organics Hello Honey- in the freezer aisle at WF) As much as I love a fat crusty loaf of French bread on occasion, I stick to whole grain bread when I eat it throughout the week

NOTES:

  • I do not like freezing meals, so I usually avoid (personal preference). I typically cook 4 dinners for the week on Sunday and Monday (meals that will reheat well, aka no fish or steak) and then re-heat throughout the week. If I buy steak or fish, I will make this fresh on the 5th day, usually Friday.

  • On the weekends, I still try to eat relatively healthy, but we tend to go out to eat once or twice for lunch or dinner, usually on Saturday. I do not have “cheat days”, as I believe that an overall balanced diet is key to a healthy lifestyle.

  • I added some sample meals/ideas below! Also, feel free to check out my other recipes and let me know what you think! :)

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Chicken burrito bowls made with my Spicy Chipotle Chicken (made in crockpot). Top with: greek yogurt, hot sauce, salsa, cilantro, lime squeeze, shredded cheese

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Chicken, broccoli and macaroni pasta bake. Recipe not posted on the site, but this one is super easy. I tossed cooked, cubed chicken breast with broccoli, cooked macaroni and Tessemaes ranch, added it to a baking dish, topped it with lots of sharp cheddar, and baked it. Reheats super well!

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Ground turkey mixed with spices, spinach, cilantro, shredded white cheddar + roasted sweet potatoes. This will literally last in the fridge for up to 5 days and it is perfect for lunch or dinner!

Alright guys, that’s all she wrote! Please share with your friends and make sure you’re following us on IG! I love feedback, so please let me know what you think of this post, or any of my recipes! Happy meal prepping, friends!!

xo, Gabs