Food: Meal Prep Mondays
Eating healthy is truly a lifestyle choice, and one I adore exploring… but it has it's challenges. Finding the time, finding the inspiration, finding the desire to create something that does make you feel great, but will really reveal it's benefits...over time.
Eating healthy will make you feel beautiful on the inside and out! Most of all (and I would say best of all), the long term benefits of healthy eating will really improve your quality of life.
Meal Prep is the perfect recipe of preparation/discipline/inspiration/flexibility.
I’m going to give you the simplest run down of a meal prep I try to make every week that acts as a fabulous base behind the three-meals-a-day mantra that often turns into two-meals-a-day and lots of snacks.
Preparation is key. Making your meals in advance allows you a lot of freedom in the sense that you can add to the prepared portion, and you can grab-and-go as often as you would like (or as often as you have prepared for!).
I suggest starting with whatever day of the week you have the most free time – for a lot of us it is Sunday! (In the Cayman Islands everything shuts down on Sundays, grocery stores included, as it is a religious day and a day that is meant to be focused on reflection, family time…and as such all of the stores here are closed!). I like to start fresh at the beginning of the week on Mondays, as meal prep is a little bit meditative for me, and you can have it brewing in the background of your morning emails and be ready just in time for lunch!
Discipline is down right necessary. I’m sure a lot of us can remember moments where we did not want to go to the gym, or do something we didn’t want to do for fear that it was too daunting and didn’t have immediate gratification. Discipline in meal planning and meal prep can really go a long way, and I recommend tackling it with the same intention we take when resting our heads at night, it is not always going to be FUN, but you will feel fabulous, just give it time.
Find inspiration. Ask your friends what their favourite veggies are, read some inspiring Instagrams or blog posts, go to the grocery store, get creative! I love having this discipline to rely on, because I’m always looking and searing for new inspiration to pop into the usual run down. This week we’re incorporating ROSE APPLES. Our friends at dinner gave us some and we jumped all over it!
Rose Apples help to detoxify the liver, aid with digestion, improve the immune syste, lower cholesterol, prevent certain cancers and many others! When I research the fresh foods I’m eating I’m always blown away with the benefits and it always inspires me to continue to eat fresh!
Be flexible. Life is perfectly imperfect, and preparing your meals can aid in those weeks that are simply loopy! I’ve had meal prep weeks where I realized every evening we had a dinner out. The meals I prepared helped keep us on track, eating our vegetables and eating healthy for lunch and even snack time.
(Side note: Is it just me or am I the only one who gets SO hungry about a hour and half before I have to go out for dinner? Grab a prepared meal and snacking!)
Another form of flexibility in meal planning is that you can try different bases – some weeks we do rice (all different kinds!), and some weeks we go with quinoa!
You can be flexible with your proteins too! We like to switch it up – some weeks we will marinate chicken, pork chops, steak, lamb, fish, and switch it up to keep it delicious AND nutritious.
Take it one step at the time – maybe it is discipline preparing snack time for a week – preparing some cut up vegetables and hummus for a week – and reflect at the end of the week how you had that snack-on-the-go ready a moments notice. One foot in front of the other, or one vegetable at the time, and you will really see your body reacting to the positive nutrients
Good for you. Go figure! There are really SO many benefits to eating raw veggies and roasted as well! Simply put I started with reading what was in the food I was eating on boxes and I was blown away by sugars and sodiums. But with fresh veggies and proteins you can start to explore the natural benefits of eating clean: detoxifying, fibers for digestion, lowering cholesterol, boosting your immune system, warding off cancers, reducing bacterial infections, fighting heart disease and so much more!
This week I prepared long grain brown rice quite simply:
- Get a decent sized pot and fill it with 2 cups of water to every 1 cup of rice (in our case I did 6 cups of water and 3 cups of rice for a more substantial amount)
- Add some salt, and unsalted butter (I usually add a very generous amount at this stage as well as after, as we are pro-healthy fats!)
- Side Note: You can add chicken broth as a salt substitute and for flavour!
- Bring the water and rice to a boil
- Reduce heat and cover with a tight fitting lid
- Leave on a small simmer for approximatel 40-45 minutes
- Remove lid, turn off cook top and let steam/sit for about 15 minutes
Benefits: There is a lot great magnesium benefits to the long grain brown rice option, and it is also fabulous for digestion and gluten-free options, great for weight management, energy, cholesterol levels, diabetes, etc! The list is so great, and quinoa is also a fabulous alternative with many benefits as well!
Roasted Veggie Prep:
- Chop, Chop, Chop till you drop!
- I do love the prep portion of this, so get your peelers, your sharp knives and cutting boards as well as a little bucket for your skins and left over ends so you can store these for composting or food garbage (whatever you so choose!)
- Peel your sweet potatoes and chop into half moons or quarter moons
- Peel your carrots and chop into bite size
- Peel your beets and chop into bite size
- Add medium to generous amount of coconut oil and swoosh around in oven safe bake sheet with foil base
- Bake at 325-350 for approximately 30-40 minutes (I like to check around 30 minutes and see where we are at in terms of tenderness and crispy tops)
- You can take out around the 30 minute mark and give the veggies a little swirl so you can get more crispiness on more of the sides
- Chop up your peppers and other veggies that need less bake time and pop those in around the half way point
- Chop up your broccoli crowns, cut off the ends of your green beans and pop into a shallow amount of boiling water to steam – this is to desired softness!
- Remove the steamed veggies and add unsalted butter to get extra flavour and deliciousness
- Pop your rice on the bottom, add your veggies on top, and store in the fridge until you’re ready to eat!
- Cook your protein each night – so maybe this is part of your prep to marinate some bbq chicken, season your pork chops, etc. and then have some fun and BBQ in the warm weather or pop them in the oven in the colder months!
- If you want to go leaner, I love seasoning some fish (salmon or cod? Your choice!) and maybe add some Asian flavours to make your meal prep your own! YUM!
Share with your family and ENJOY all the benefits of the simple meal prep!
Additional Tip: Look for organically grown, local foods if you can! These days we need to be more critical of the things we put into our systems, and I think educating yourself, being aware of the benefits and helpful, healthy options can really inspire you to fall in love with meal time and meal prep! It will also help you on the road to a healthier and happier you – on the inside and out!