How To Meal Prep For Breakfast + Lunch

When it comes to healthy eating on a busy schedule, meal prepping is a MUST! Do you hear me? I realize that isn't what you wanted me to say, but lying to you isn't gonna get us anywhere. I know, you have visions of like seventeen pots on the stove and stuff spilled everywhere whilst you try to jam another container in the fridge - but it doesn't have to be that way. And it doesn't have to take all weekend. Just so happens I have quite a bit of experience in the meal prepping arena and I've developed a formula of sorts. And if I've been able to teach my parents how to do it - you got this.

You've heard that whole, "fail to plan, and plan to fail" phrase? Turns out, it's pretty true. When I first found out I had to drastically change my diet, I was at a complete loss. I was working full time, plus had a photography business and had zero time to cook. But when the option of eating out is taken away from you - you figure out ways to make it work. So whether you find yourself in a situation like mine, or you just want to start eating healthier - this will work for you. If you really get the hang of this, it'll take you less than two hours to prep breakfasts, snacks, and lunches for the whole week!

DISCLAIMER: If you aren't the kind of person who can handle eating essentially the same thing for five days in a row, meal prepping isn't for you, cupcake. And secondly, get over it. In order to make meal prepping worth your while, you prepare food in large batches to decrease cooking time. 

For breakfast, we have a couple of options that can be made ahead and be eaten at work. All of these options are full of fiber, protein, complex carbs, and fat - keeping you full for a long time. Never heard of overnight oats? Well you need to. And if none of these options sound appealing, or you have more time in the morning - I recommend frying up a veggie omelet and pairing it with some fruit.

***There is a recap list of all these points if you scroll down to the bottom, otherwise, keep reading for the step by step.

BREAKFAST (choose 1 item if prepping for yourself or 2 if prepping for a couple):

PREPARATION: The chia pudding, overnight oats, and yogurt parfaits are all prepared in pint (or larger if desired) ball jars from Walmart. In the same area, are these plastic screw caps, which are so much better than the metal ones:

Chocolate overnight oats

Chocolate overnight oats

Make a batch of five, pop them in the fridge, and you're set!

Paleo Mom Chewy Granola bars

Paleo Mom Chewy Granola bars

The parfaits are simply layering any kind of yogurt (if you're doing dairy yogurt always go for organic Greek style as it has more protein and try to get the lowest sugar content possible) with some granola or nuts and fruit of choice. Some brands that make quality organic yogurt are: Wallaby, Stonyfield, Supernatural, Maple Top Creamery. Grass-fed is even better. Granola is another thing I make for us as the store bought kind is usually full of nasty oils, preservatives and sugars. If that's too time consuming, a couple good brands are Purely Elizabeth, Go Raw, and Seven Sundays (available at Target).

Now we need to prepare some fruit to have around as servings with breakfast or lunch or just snacks throughout the week. This is going beyond the usual banana or apple, which don't need to be prepped. We will use those later on. Some fruits will last in the fridge chopped up and some won't. Berries don't work because once you wash them, they will get soft or mold. 

FRUITS (choose 1 or 2)

  • mango / pineapple / cantaloupe / honeydew / kiwi / grapes / papaya / oranges 

PREPARATION: chop and throw in the fridge.

Next up - snacks! The idea is to never eat fruit or full of carbs without balancing it out with protein or fat. This will ensure you don't have a blood sugar spike and then crash, which will leave you hangry, moody, tired, and making a beeline for the Snickers.

SNACKS (choose 2):

  • Celery + peanut butter
  • Hummus + carrots / peppers
  • Wholly Guacamole cups + healthy chips (organic, non-gmo and sprouted if possible)
  • Apples / bananas + nut butter packs
  • Organic cheese sticks
  • Coconut / plantain chips

PREPARATION: Divide chips into baggies. Chop and divide veggies if using, and put peanut butter or hummus into individual containers. I get these at GFS - it's like $3 for a billion. They are disposable and are just the right size for snacks.

Then, we need our lunch, amiright?

LUNCH (choose 1 item if prepping for yourself or 2 if prepping for a couple):

Faves: Olive Garden knock off Pasta Fagoli (the one in the pictures) - throw everything into the crock pot SO EASY! This 30 minute ancho chili. You can sub any kind of meat and lower the spice level if desired. Also, I make this chicken + wild rice soup a lot and just sub dairy free ingredients.

  • Salad (check out my Pinterest healthy salads board) - highly recommend this roasted veggie salad from Buzzfeed, once you roast up the veggies you mix with spinach when ready to eat and it'll last all week!
  • Baked white / sweet potato with toppings or this sloppy joe recipe (pretty healthy, just make alterations based on dietary preferences)

Soups are perfect because they take little time (especially if crockpot) and make a ton of food.

PREPARATION: For the salads, chop ingredients and divide into airtight containers or ball jars. I use romaine as a base instead of baby greens because it stays crisp throughout the week. Put the dressing in the little containers referenced above. For soups, just let cool, divide and put into containers for the week. Soups are perfect because they take little time (especially if crockpot) and make a ton of food.

For the potatoes, bake at 400 for an hour. Slice in half and let cool completely before putting into containers. If they aren't cooled, they will get too much condensation and they'll mold quickly.

THE RECAP:

BREAKFAST (choose 1 item if prepping for yourself or 2 if prepping for a couple):

FRUITS (choose 1 or 2)

  • mango / pineapple / cantaloupe / honeydew / kiwi / grapes / papaya / oranges 

SNACKS (choose 2):

  • Celery + peanut butter
  • Hummus + carrots / peppers
  • Wholly Guacamole cups + healthy chips (organic, non-gmo and sprouted if possible)
  • Apples / bananas + nut butter packs
  • Organic cheese sticks
  • Coconut / plantain chips

 LUNCH (choose 1 item if prepping for yourself or 2 if prepping for a couple):

Faves: Olive Garden knock off Pasta Fagoli (the one in the pictures) - throw everything into the crock pot SO EASY! This 30 minute ancho chili. You can sub any kind of meat and lower the spice level if desired. Also, I make this chicken + wild rice soup a lot and just sub dairy free ingredients.

  • Salad (check out my Pinterest healthy salads board) - highly recommend this roasted veggie salad from Buzzfeed, once you roast up the veggies you mix with spinach when ready to eat and it'll last all week!
  • Baked white / sweet potato with toppings or this sloppy joe recipe (pretty healthy, just make alterations based on dietary preferences)

Soups are perfect because they take little time (especially if crockpot) and make a ton of food.

Wondering who's the mysterious wordy genius behind these posts? Follow this little rabbit trail to read more About Me! The use of the term genius is open to interpretation.