Meal Prepping – Quick, Easy, and Virtually Foolproof

Every Sunday after run practice and church, it’s grocery shopping & meal prep time to get ready for a great week ahead. The biggest complaint I hear from my clients when I talk to them about meal prep and getting everything laid out ahead of time is “I don’t even know where to begin.”  So that sparked my idea for creating a simple, easy to follow guide for picking out what items to get at the grocery store and which foods to prepare on Sunday so you are set for the week and less likely to fall off track with your nutrition and possibly your weight loss goals.

As with most healthy eating meal plans, preparation is ESSENTIAL! If you don’t prep in advance you are waaay more likely to just wing it and end up eating fast food and unhealthy options that are quick and cheap. (and my favorite motto is this “You ARE what you eat, so don’t be fast, easy, or cheap”)

Healthy Meal Prep

So here’s the quick breakdown for a perfect week of clean eating with a target calorie range of 1200-1500 calories each day.

Note: You will see “color-coded container counts” referenced in the meal plan. These are for portion control and make it easy to know how much to eat throughout the day! Many of my clients have had amazing success with portioning their food this way… gone are the days of counting calories, weighing your food, etc… just whip out your containers and it’s as easy as Red, Blue, Yellow! To get a set of these containers or learn more, check them out here.

Week Overview

Now that you have a overview of your week’s plan. Let’s move on to your grocery shopping list! Grab these items over the weekend, so they are ready to go on Sunday. You can jump right into the prep, whip it out, and move onto family time (which is what Sundays are really all about)!

Grocery List

 Breakfast Items:

Container Counts (1 yellow, 1 red & 1 purple each morning!)

  • 2 cups Steel Cut Oatmeal
  • 5 cups Blueberries
  • One Dozen Organic Free Range eggs

Lunch Items:

Container Counts: (1 red, 1 green, 1 blue, 1 yellow, 3 tsp each day)

  • 5 scoops or packets of Shakeology
  • 5 cups spinach
  • Raw unsalted and unsweetened Almond Butter
  • 40oz Unsweetened Coconut or Almond Milk

Dinner Items:

Container Counts: (1.5 red, 2 greens each night)

  • Big bag of Frozen or Fresh Stir Fry Veggies – I get my big bag at Costco! (look for bags with red peppers, carrots, mushrooms, asparagus, jicama, snow peas, squash, zucchini, onions, broccoli)
  • Minced Garlic
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pre-Cooked Shrimp 12-16 ounces total (if you don’t like shrimp, chicken works great too!)
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers
  • 2 heads of Broccoli
  • 2 x 6oz Organic Grass Fed strip steak

Once you are finished grocery shopping, it is time to prep!

Directions for Meal Prepping Breakfast

Step 1: Hard Boil 10 of your Eggs (2 for each morning!)

 Instructions

  1. Place the eggs in a single layer at the bottom of a saucepan. Cover with at least an inch or two of cold water.
  2. Heat the pot on high heat and bring the water to a full rolling boil.
  3. Turn off the heat, keep the pan on the hot burner, cover, and let sit for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Strain the water from the pan and run cold water over the eggs to cool them quickly and stop them from cooking further.
  5. Store in the fridge and take 2 for breakfast each morning

Step 2: While the Eggs are cooking, prep your Steel Cut Oatmeal:

Steel Cut Oatmeal Recipe

 Instructions

  1. Bring the water to a boil: Use 6 cups of water for firmer, more intact oat grains or 8 cups of water for creamier oatmeal. Stir in 2 cups of steel cut oats.
  2. Return to a boil: Let the water come back up to a rolling boil — this should only take a few seconds.
  3. Reduce heat to low
  4. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes: Let the oats simmer for anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pan. Cook until the oats are very tender and the oatmeal is as creamy as you like it — longer cooking will make thicker oatmeal.
  5. Divide the oats into ½ cup servings and top with 1 cup blueberries and store in the fridge. (and I sprinkle in some cinnamon, vanilla, and honey, just for a little added flavor!)

Directions for Meal Prepping Lunches

No need to meal prep your Shakeology — just whip up the milkshake-style deliciousness each morning before you head out the door! Make sure to refrigerate while you’re at work. (I store mine in my Hydro Flask to keep it cold.) Or if you’re lucky, you have a blender at work and can make them up right there on the spot!

Shakeology Recipe

Recipe: Shakeology with 1 cup spinach, 1 tbsp almond butter, 8 ounces unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk, 1 tbsp MCT oil, ice. Blend and Enjoy!

My go-to lunch is ALWAYS Shakeology. I take a packet with me everywhere I go, so I can sip on it while working with clients, running errands, or typing up blog posts! I could give you a whole host of scientific reasons why I choose Shakeology every day for lunch, but let me just say (in hopes you’ll do your own research) our “health food” isn’t even close to what it used to be. Our soils are severely nutrient depleted and most of our greenhouse produce is genetically modified! Over 2/3rds of Americans need to lose weight and that means there needs to be some calorie restriction… period. We have to be smart about where the carbohydrates we choose to consume come from. You cannot find more nutrition in only 150 calories (and only 15 grams of carbs) anywhere else except Shakeology. Personally, it gives me a huge variety of the foods I need and I couldn’t possibly consume everyday without overeating or spending hundreds of dollars. I largely attribute my great skin, healthy nails, great digestion, thick healthy hair and athletic physique to it. It’s an absolute staple for me (and great for traveling too).

I’ll say it again, I’m out to make you healthy… not skinny!

 

Directions for Meal Prepping Dinner

Cast Iron Stir Fry Recipe

This will serve as your Dinner for Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday night!

Super healthy, low carb and quick!

Shrimp and Veggie Skillet Recipe

  1. Boatload of veggies 5-6 cups: celery, red peppers, carrots, mushroom, asparagus, jicama, snow peas, squash, zucchini, onions, broccoli, shrimp and minced garlic
  2. Line pan with coconut or olive oil and throw in all the ingredients (my shrimp was precooked)
  3. Cook on medium high and stir every minute or so
  4. Takes about 15 minutes– With so many vegetables, there’s no need for a starch, but you can add Bragg’s Amino Acids for a little more flavor if you’d like but the garlic (and a touch of Himalayan salt and pepper) was enough for me!

 

Strip Steak with Veggies

This will serve as your Dinner for Thursday and Friday night! (Don’t need to meal prep this until Wednesday night!)

I was “raised” a meat and veggie kinda girl.. now I only buy responsibly “raised” meat!**

  1. Season Strip Steak with your favorite seasonings and place on medium high cast iron skillet
  2. I like my steaks medium so I cooked them for 5-6 minutes each side. Place on outside of skillet to keep warm
  3. Add broccoli and pour a couple tbsp’s of water in the center and cover for 3 minutes
  4. Remove lid and stir fry for 3 more minutes
  5. Remove steaks and broccoli and then roast red peppers for about 2 minutes each side. With so many vegetables, there’s no need for a starch. Add Bragg’s Amino to season.

**By buying organic AND grass fed, you’re supporting farmers who choose to raise their animals humanely, but it all comes down to: “you are what you eat.” Think about it, if a cow eats grains, and then you eat that cow, you’re ingesting the grains it ate, along with the toxins and hormones that the animal had pumped into them.

You may be opposed to spending the extra $2 on a humanely raised package of bacon than what you could get at Wal-Mart, but you can afford this small change and it’ll do additional wonders for your body… more than what dieting and exercising alone can do. Whole Foods, Sprouts, and your local Co-Op are all great grocery stores that offer a wide variety of these options.**

And that’s it! Congratulations on a week of meal planning & prep! As always, I’m here to help. Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a message if you have any questions!

 

My specific product recommendations mentioned in this article (if interested, click on the links to find out more):

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How to Cook Lentils

After posting lentil salad recipes earlier this month, a few readers emailed asking how to properly cook lentils. It then dawned on me that many recipes include pre-cooked items such as lentils, chicken, quinoa, and sweet potatoes. And while some of you are expert chefs, I wanted to even the playing field with how-to articles that will teach you how to cook the basics – starting with lentils! Keep an eye out over the next few months for more how-to’s!

How to cook lentils

Lentils are cheap, quick to cook, and loaded with fiber and protein. When eaten together with rice, they form a complete vegetarian protein. Look for them in the bulk bins of your grocery store, or packaged with other dried beans. Some markets sell pre-cooked lentils, but they are easy to make yourself and cost just pennies per serving.

Lentils come in a variety of colors, from brilliant orange and red to muted green and brown, and each has its own flavor and texture profile. It’s also important to note that the cooking time differs between each.

 

Brown Lentils

Whether they are a light, khaki color or dark greenish-brown, brown lentils are the most common type of lentils. They have a mild, creamy flavor similar to kidney beans. These are the lentils used in our recipe below. They hold their shape well, but can also be easily mashed to form bean burgers or vegetarian meatloaf.  Brown lentils have a similar cooking time to white rice, so you can cook them together with a variety of spices, like cumin, curry, or cardamom.
Varieties: Spanish Brown, German Brown, Indian Brown
Cooking time: 20–30 minutes

 

How to cook brown lentils

Green Lentils

Ranging from pale sage in color to dark green mottled with brown or black, green lentils have a robust earthy and slightly peppery flavor. They generally take the longest to cook, and when done, their exterior texture remains firm, while the interior is tender. Because they hold their shape so well, they are ideal as a hearty side dish or served as a bed for proteins.
Varieties: Puy, French Green
Cooking Time: 30–40 minutes

How to cook green lentils

 

Red Lentils:

These thin discs look similar to split peas. Red lentils are the sweetest and mildest pulse in the lentils family and range in color from red to pink to pale yellow. This variety cooks quickly and breaks down to form a flavorful, thick paste that is perfect for soups, stews, curries, and sauces.
Varieties: Crimson or Red Chief (also known as masoor dal)
Cooking time: 15–20 minutes

How to cook red lentils

 

Black Lentils:

When cooked, tiny black lentils glisten like beluga caviar, creating a dramatic color contrast with other ingredients in a dish. They have a rich, nutty flavor and velvety texture that tastes great in green salads, pastas, and mixed vegetables.
Varieties: Beluga, (also known as urad dal)
Cooking Time: 30–40 minutes

How to cook black lentils

How to Cook Lentils:

Keep tasting your lentils as they cook to see if they’re the texture you want — firm if you’re eating them as a side dish, softer if they’re meant for soup or stew. Once lentils are cooked, pair them with fish, chicken, or pork loin, or keep them in the fridge to use in a buffet-style meal prep. They can also take the place of beans in soups and chilis. Want to get really adventurous? Try scrambling them with eggs, tossing them in green salads and grain bowls, and add some vinegar to help further enhance their flavor.

This recipe is for brown lentils; if using another color, just adjust the cooking time as noted above.

Total Time: 30 min.
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: 25 min.
Yield: 4 servings, ½ cup each

Ingredients:
1 cup dry brown lentils
1¾ cups water
Sea salt (to taste; optional)

Preparation:
1. Sort through lentils to make sure there are no small stones. Rinse lentils in colander under cool water.
2. Bring water and salt to a boil in medium saucepan over high heat; add lentils.
3. Bring back to a boil; cover, and reduce heat to maintain a gentle boil; cook for 20 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Notes: 
To add even more flavor, use broth instead of water.
Have a rice cooker? Using 1:1.75 water ratio and make them with the touch of a button.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories: 113
Total Fat: 0 g
Total Carbs: 19 g (Fiber: 10 g; Sugars: 1 g)
Protein: 8 g

 

Try Your Lentil Cooking Skills In These Recipes:

Lentil and Feta Salad

Lentil and Feta Salad Recipe
What you’ll need to make it:
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. dried thyme (or 1½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme)
Sea salt and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
3 cups cooked lentils
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
1 medium cucumber, finely chopped
3 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
¾ medium red onion, finely chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
Find out how to make the recipe.

 

Lentil Lime Salad

Lentil Lime Salad Healthy Recipe
What you’ll need to make it:
1 cup cooked green lentils
1 medium carrot, shredded
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1½ tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Braggs Liquid Aminos
Himalayan salt (to taste; optional)
¼ tsp. ground cumin (to taste; optional)
Fresh herbs like basil and oregano (to taste; optional)
Find out how to make the recipe.