I’ve found that I’m much more likely to have a nutrient packed smoothie for breakfast and colorful salad for lunch, when they’re prepped and ready for me to grab in the morning.
If I have to set aside extra time in the morning to put these meals together, it usual doesn’t happen. Using Sundays as a meal prep day however, seems to work well for me.
Sunday mornings I stop at my neighborhood’s farmers market, see what looks good, and take it home to cook for the week. I generally think about what I want to make before hand, so I have some idea of what I need from the market. That being said, it’s fun to get home with lots of fresh produce and see what culinary creations I can come up with.
Meals I prep:
- 5 fruit and veggie smoothies: One for each weekday, in mason jars. These might include greens, seasonal fruit or a banana, some nut butter, unsweetened plant milk (usually almond), matcha powder, carob powder, and flax or chia seeds.
- 1 big bowl of salad: I prep the salad in a big bowl, then divide it into 5 glass containers or mason jars. Salads should be colorful and filled with various textures. I start with a base of greens, add in shredded veggies (beets and carrots this week), a protein (red lentils this time), a fat (avocado, nuts, seeds), and drizzle some homemade dressing on top.
- 2 dinner options: To avoid eating the same thing for dinner every night, I make some different meal options. This week I prepped lots of chickpeas, a lentil stirfry, roasted sweet and white potatoes, brown rice, sauteed greens, and more. I can freeze the chickpeas, rice, and lentil stirfry for eating another week as well.
- Snacks: Some of my favorite snacks are raw veggies and hummus (homemade sweet potato hummus this week), date and nut bars/bites (chocolate orange bites this week), and sliced fruit in nut butter (cinnamon walnut butter!).
Tips for bulk cooking:
- Make cooking fun: Don’t think of it as a chore. Set aside some time once a week to get your creative culinary juices flowing and make some kick butt dishes.
- Have a plan: Think through what types of meals you want to eat throughout the week, so you’re not going in completely blind.
- Cook with what’s in season: Not only will you be supporting local food systems (and hence the environment), but the food you buy will TASTE BETTER. Think about what vegetables and fruit are in season, and hence will be available at market.
- Freeze leftovers: If you’re tired of eating a certain dish, freeze it for another time.
- Make it yourself: A lot of money can be saved by making your own nut butters, hummus, and other snacks. Plus you can really tailor them to your personal taste preferences.