Easy Meal Prep Ideas
UGH. Meal prep. I hate it, but I love it the same. It's such a hassle at first, but after those couple of hours you spend slaving over the stove are over, you have a week full of easy-to-grab meals that will help you stay on track!
Lately, my go-to meals have been quick and easy. I did this week's meal prep in 2 hours. TWO HOURS. That's it!
I tend to meal prep mainly for snacks and lunches, because I prefer freshly prepared breakfasts and dinners. However, my work schedule has changed, so I took the time to prep a few grab and go breakfast options as well on those hard to get out of bed mornings.
Mix with your favorite protein powder
To curb your sweet tooth, cut up some fresh fruit and divide into containers. I love having fresh fruit pre-cut so that it's easy to grab when I want a quick snack or something sweet! It truly saves me from going for unhealthier options (like Oreos & ice cream!)
Turkey Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches
A.K.A. "the healthy girl mcmuffin"
Bye-bye McDonald's! These are super easy and taste like the real thing!
+Toast a multi-grain English muffin until your desired "doneness".
+Spray a microwave-safe bowl or "microwave egg cooker" with cooking spray.
+Scramble an egg inside of the dish and pop in the microwave for ~40 seconds until cooked through.
+Place a slice of your favorite cheese (I used swiss!) on one of the muffin halves.
+Slide the egg on top of the cheese so it melts.
+Microwave a turkey sausage patty as indicated on package.
+Layer the sausage on top of the egg, place the remaining muffin half on top.
After they've cooled, wrap them in foil and place in a freezer bag to store until you're ready to eat them. In the morning, unwrap, pop in the microwave for ~1 - 1:30 and enjoy!
My new favorite chicken recipe is seriously so easy a toddler could do it. All you need is an oven-safe dish, a packet of Italian Dressing Seasoning, some olive oil, and chicken breasts.
+Preheat oven to 450 degrees
+Clean and trim desired number chicken breasts of excess fat
+Toss chicken in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
+Place chicken into oven-safe dish
+Sprinkle Italian Dressing Seasoning packet over both sides chicken to coat
+Place chicken into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes depending on thickness
+Chicken is done when internal temperature has reached 165 degrees
+Remove from oven and let cool!
Serve with your favorite sides - like these below!
I go for the "cheap and easy" option when it comes to veggies (i.e. if it isn't something I can eat raw with my hands, I'm getting it frozen).
While fresh veggies usually taste better, often times they're expensive and go bad if you don't eat them up quickly, which is why I prefer frozen veggies to cook with.
You can obviously find frozen veggies at any grocery store, but I started purchasing the Season's Choice bags of roasted potatoes, beans, and seasonings from Aldi. They are pre-seasoned and you literally just have to throw them in a baking dish and bake at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes. They taste like something I prepared from scratch and are the perfect side dish! The only bummer is that (like all good things at Aldi) they aren't always in stock, so if you find them - stock up!
I know, I know. Boring brown rice. I feel you - I can't just eat it alone. That's why I doctor it up! Here are a few of the ways I add flavor to my rice.
Cook in chicken, vegetable, or beef broth instead of water
Add seasoning packet such as Italian Dressing, Ranch, Herb, Taco, etc...
Add your own spices - get creative! Herbs, seasonings, anything is fair game!
Add salsa for Mexican dishes
Chopped Salad Kits
These have been my saving grace!! I hate making salads. They literally take forever. Cutting up all the things, peeling, portioning, ugh I just don't have the time or patience.
But I've recently discovered chopped salad kits at the store in the salad section - obviously.
They're pre-made salads that include all of your toppings inside. I sometimes add avocado and tomato just for a little extra!
Bonus - save one or two of your chicken breasts to chop up and cook in the skillet with a bit of olive oil and seasonings to throw in your salad for extra protein! My go-to seasonings for chicken to toss in salads are garlic powder, salt, and pepper. So simple and versatile!
Now, you just have to dump in a container and go! It saves so much time and they taste better than any salad I've ever made on my own.
Pro Tip: I only purchase when they're on sale. They're typically ~$3.99 but if you pay attention, Kroger often has ones that are near the expiration date on sale for ~$1.49 - 1.99. They stay good for days after the expiration date, too, so you have lunches for the whole week.
Homemade Protein Bars
If you've ever had a decadent chocolate chip cookie bar, believe me when I say these are just as mouth-wateringly amazing. They are an awesome option for breakfast, a snack, or healthy dessert. I typically have one after lunch to curb my sweet tooth! They're so gooey and yummy, and you can't even tell they have protein powder in them. My husband even loves them!
There ya have it - my easy peasy, lemon squeezy go-to meal prep items for busy guys and gals!
What are some of your favorite foods to prep?