My meal prep for the lunches I take to work do not look super pretty like some of the fancy schmancy meal prep pics I’ve seen online but it works great anyway. Pretty is nice, but efficient wins for me every time. After all, the point is to save time right!
Meal prep can be easy and it does not need to take hours. In this article I am going to outline what I do for the lunches I take to work for a week. You’ll learn how to meal prep like a pro and save tons of time.
The very first thing to do is to prep your meal prep, i.e. get all your stuff together. This includes all your main food items, the ingredients you’ll need to season your dishes, all the pots and pans you’ll need and all the containers you’ll store the finished product in.
Now that you’re prepped and ready to go….
Always remember “Safety First”! I put nothing in plastic containers. If you’re going to be warming up your food in the microwave (not the best option but you gotta work with what you have), then plastic containers will not do. Heating food in plastic containers, even if it says BPA free, is not good for your health. There are still toxic substances in the plastic that can leach into your food. Better to be safe than sick so just don’t take that risk.
Glass Containers Only!
My no-fuss meal prep for lunch for the week happens on Sundays and since I eat out on Fridays I only prep 4 meals.
I don’t measure ingredients. I don’t do precise portions. I don’t try to make it look fancy.
My meals include mostly vegetables plus 1 protein. I eat this way because it’s healthy. Read “Want to Lose Weight? Follow this Simple Guideline” to see what a healthy meal plate looks like.
Every item I choose to cook is healthy and can be cooked in a relatively short amount of time with as little fuss as possible. Therefore dishes like Coq Au Vin, fried chicken and stews are off the table.
I eat the same vegetables for 4 days and the same protein for 2 days. Some people don’t like eating the same food on consecutive days but for me it’s the quickest way of getting in a healthy meal that does not cost an arm and a leg.
The protein cooked on Sunday is for Monday and Tuesday lunches. On Tuesday evening I’ll cook something else for the next 2 days.
All the vegetables are baked and go in the oven at the same temperature. The recommended cooking temperature for different vegetables will vary but having to change the temperature is not something I want to bother myself with so it doesn’t happen.
The rule is, if it cannot be cooked at the same temperature, It doesn’t get cooked. So, if I’m baking fish it’s cooked at the same temperature as the vegetables as well and will also go in the oven with the vegetables.
I find fish fillets and chicken breasts the easiest and quickest to work with. If I don’t bake fish I’ll lightly fry it or sautee a small chicken breast.
Whether it’s fish or chicken I always add veggies to the pot, for example, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, onions, okra and shredded cabbage. Of course, you can use any meat or vegetarian protein source you want, just make sure it can be cooked it quickly.
I recently started sautéing with purple cabbage. It’s delicious!
Love sautéing the grape tomatoes because the heat releases its heart-healthy lycopene content.
I clean up as I go.
The combo of vegetables I bake usually include at least 3 of these vegetables – cauliflower, eggplant, broccoli, okra, zucchini, butternut squash, mushrooms, bok choy, cabbage, brussel sprouts, green beans, sweet peppers and sweet potato. Any vegetable will work.
Here’s some of the vegetables I prepared for this week….
I tried to cook a turnip for the first time. Did not like it :(. Maybe baking it wasn’t a good idea? It tasted a little bitter…probably will never cook it again.
The vegetables are usually organic. I’ll follow the dirty dozen guide for veggies but most often than not all the vegetables are organic.
You don’t have to eat organic but I highly recommend it if you can. Eating organic is best not just for avoiding harmful pesticides sprayed on vegetables but also because organic vegetables usually have a higher nutrient content.
If you’re interested in eating clean a good place to start is with the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Guide. Check out the guide at the end of this article.
The chicken I cook is always organic. The fish is usually wild fish as long as I can afford it, but it’s never ever Tilapia fish which is one of the worst farmed raised fish around. Never put that toxic stuff in your body. Wild salmon and trout are my favourites.
This week I decided to go with some Wild Atlantic Cod…
…and added in some sauteed veggies.
I’ll get an organic rotisserie chicken from the health food supermarket when I’m feeling extra lazy. Considering that my fish/chicken takes about 15 minutes tops to cook, I must admit that this is the true height of laziness. My lazy self will quarter the chicken and put half in the freezer to make soup or stock later on.
When all the vegetables are baked I roughly divide them into 4 glass containers and add in 2 days of protein. And, if the dish requires a squeeze of lemon juice the lemon goes into the container as well.
The entire meal prep, including dicing up all the vegetables, seasoning the fish or chicken, baking or frying and cleaning up happens in about 45 minutes.
The final result…
I don’t eat a big dinner (just a smoothie and some toast), so don’t need to prep for it, but the same technique will work for dinner.
It’s quick. It’s efficient. It works. No fuss!
In an effort to be less wasteful I’ve decided to freeze all the bottoms, tops, skin, etc. from the vegetables to use for stock later on….just think about all those wasted nutrients if I throw them out!
- Choose items that will cook in a relatively short amount of time.
- Forget about fancy dishes that require lots of ingredients and long cooking times.
- Cook a variety of vegetables that will last for the week. About 3 different vegetables will work well.
- Cook 2 days worth of protein. Fish and chicken fillets are quick.
- Try to cook everything at the same time. If baking is your cooking method don’t bake things separately. Put everything in the oven once it’s ready to go in and cook everything at the same temperature.
- If you are baking the protein choose a protein you can bake at the same temperature as the vegetables and bake it at the same time.
- Clean up as you go.
- Store your food only in glass containers so you can avoid contaminating your food with toxic substances from plastic containers when reheating in microwaves.
- Choose organic vegetables and fish/chicken/other protein source whenever you can.
Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Guide
Live healthy, be happy!
Have questions or suggestions on how to prep meals? Comment below and I’ll answer them!
I’m always checking on my blog for new comments…
So if you have suggestions or would like more information, feel free to comment and I’ll answer as soon as possible.
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