Are you struggling with finding a sustainable meal prep routine? Wishing you could start off Mondays with a fridge full of ready-to-go meals, but don’t want to spend your entire Sunday in the kitchen? The key is to build an easy, simple routine that you can consistently commit to on your designated meal prep day. Check out some tips and tricks below that keep my meal prep work to a minimum, but still leave me feeling ready and healthy for the week ahead!
The three essentials I always prep over the weekend:
- A soup or stew
- A pan of roasted veggies
- Shredded chicken or pork in the crockpot
Why these three?
- These dishes require minimal hands-on prep time.
- All three can be cooked at the same time (using the oven, stove and crockpot), so your time is used efficiently.
- They require very few pots, pans and utensils, so clean-up is easy.
- They provide a ton of variety for meal options throughout the week.
- Peeling and chopping veggies is the bulk of the work, so getting it out of the way over a weekend means you’re much more likely to incorporate more veggies into your meals during the week. And more veggies means more fiber, more vitamins, more nutrients, more antioxidants, more healthful eating!
How can you use this prepped food during the week?
- The soup or stew guarantees at least 2 lunches and a dinner, or more if you double the recipe.
- The roasted veggies can be heated up and eaten on their own, or thrown on top of some greens for a colorful salad.
- The shredded chicken or pork can be eaten hot or cold, on it’s own, on salads, tacos, with rice or pasta, or mixed with the roasted veggies, etc… so many options!
Here are two of my go-to recipes:
Carrot-Sweet Potato Tumeric Soup
(Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free)
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (or 1 acorn or butternut squash)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch of large rainbow carrots
- 1/2 medium yellow onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger or 1 tsp dried ginger
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- salt and pepper
- a pinch of chili pepper
- 3 cups of vegetable broth (or more if you want a thinner soup)
- Peel 2 medium sweet potatoes, chop into small chunks and steam or boil. When soft (can pierce a fork through easily), drain and set aside.
- Peel carrots and chop into bite size pieces. Chop onion. Chop garlic and ginger.
- Saute carrots and onion in large soup pot in olive oil over medium heat, until soft (~7 minutes).
- Stir in cooked sweet potatoes and add a little broth if veggies are sticking.
- Add in garlic, ginger, 1 tsp of turmeric, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp paprika, salt and pepper, and a pinch of chili pepper (or more if you want spicy). Stir everything together well and let cook for ~2-3 min over low-medium heat.
- Pour in broth. Turn up heat until it reaches boil, then turn down heat to low simmer, cover and let simmer for ~15 min.
- Optional if you want a creamy soup: Put soup in blender and blend until smooth. If it’s too thick, you can add more broth. Transfer back to pot or a big bowl, taste and add more salt/pepper if needed.
Crockpot Rosemary Chicken
- 1 lb organic, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp dried rosemary
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Salt & pepper
- Place chicken breasts in crockpot.
- Sprinkle rosemary and a touch of salt and pepper over the chicken breasts.
- Pour chicken broth around the chicken breasts, making sure the broth covers the bottom of the crockpot and barely comes up to the top of the chicken breasts.
- Cover and set to high for 4 hours.
- Shred the chicken with two forks, then stir to coat with the broth and seasoning.
- Re-cover and keep on low for 30 more minutes.
-Emily Koches, LulaFit