Hey everyone, ambassador Brianna here!
Today I want to talk about my meal planning system and how I can pull off cooking one time and eating all week long. Sounds like a dream, doesn't it? As long as you're willing to put in one session of meal prepping and cooking, I promise it can be a reality.
The goal of this week's meal prep is to do as little actual cooking as possible, because it's summer and we need to be doing summer things, right? If interested, click HERE to see my Healthi Meal Plan for "Cooking Once"!
My Meal Prep Schedule
The way I typically plan my meals is in blocks. I eat the same meals Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, then I eat different food (or at least a different dinner) Thursday and Friday. I have stopped prepping food for the weekends because one of two things happen in my home. 1. We order out on Saturday and eat the leftovers on Sunday. 2. We don't end up eating all of the food from the rest of the week, so the weekend turns into a finish what we have situation. This week, we are prepping the same breakfast and lunch for all weekdays. Dinner is going to have the same base of protein and rice, but we will change up the flavor profile mid-week, so we don't get bored..
The Meal Plan
My favorite breakfast smoothie recipe is using the Fab4 Smoothie formula by nutritionist Kelly LeVeque (author of one of my favorite books, Body Love). This formula ensures you have all nutrients necessary for a balanced and filling smoothie to start your day. The Fab4 are protein, fat (yes FAT!), fiber, and greens. Everyone has their own favorite ingredient choices within the Fab4, and what is great is that you can pick and choose how to make the formula work best for you and your goals. Here are some of the ingredients I use regularly.
- Protein: Powders that contain at least 20g protein per serving. My favorite is PEScience Select Protein.
- Fat: almond butter, peanut butter, frozen avocado (ingredient check: make sure your nut butters ONLY contain the nut and maybe some salt.)
- Fiber: Acacia fiber powder, psyllium husk powder (makes smoothies very thick), flax seed meal, chia seeds (can double as additional fat).
- Greens: frozen cauliflower rice, spinach, kale, zucchini, or broccoli sprouts are my go to options.
- Optional fruit (1/4-1/2 cup): Frozen strawberries, blueberries, banana.
Prep all of your dry ingredients in small containers so that all you have to do is add your frozen and wet ingredients to your blender and dump in your prepped containers. I prep 5-7 smoothies all at once, which makes it easy to prepare in the morning.
I LOVE lettuce-less salads. The base of the salad is a mix of cucumber and celery. It stores well and delivers all the veggie-packed nutrition of a salad, but without having to deal with wilting lettuce. This can also be switched up based on protein, dressing, and topping choices.
- 150g chopped cucumber 50-100g chopped celery 4 oz protein of choice (I often use deli turkey, but also have used chicken, canned tuna, etc)
- 2 tbsp dressing of choice Additional toppings: cheese (extra protein and fat), nuts and seeds, veggies for specific flavor profile)
Chop and prep all ingredients besides the dressing. Build your salad in single serve containers (pro tip: I save the plastic containers my deli meat comes in, as they're high quality. They are perfect for salad prep). When you're ready to eat, grab your prepped salad, add dressing, and enjoy!
Dinner is where you will need to cook once. We need to make some chicken breast. For our chicken and rice bowls we will have two themes: burrito bowls and Asian bowls. *To make these as no-cook as possible, feel free to use 90 second rice packets, frozen veggies, and microwave the can of beans *
Burrito Bowl Ingredients:
- Prepped Chicken
- 90 second Rice
- Canned black beans
- Shredded lettuce
Cheese Asian Bowl:
- Prepped Chicken
- 90 second Jasmine Rice
- Frozen Broccoli
- Soy Sauce/Teriyaki sauce/other themed sauce of choice
All you really need to do day 1 is cook your chicken. I personally cook chicken in a grill pan, but you can also bake it or cook it in a crock pot then shred it in a stand mixer. Everything else can be made in the microwave. Cook once and you have hearty, protein-rich chicken and rice bowls all week long.
Meal plans like this are great for weeks that there's not a lot of time to cook or you simply don't feel like cooking. Big family? Maybe the answer is cooking up a whole pot of rice rather than using 90 second bags. Ultimately, you can make adjustments to work this for the specific needs of your family, but I promise with only one day of cooking and prep you will be spending less time in the kitchen and more time with your summer festivities. Don't forget to check out my post from last week, Summer Hydration Challenge!