Kelly In The Kitch’s Guide to Meal Prep a.k.a. Why The Heck I Swear By Meal Prep!
I won’t lie or sugar coat it. Meal prep is time-consuming. It takes a lot of planning, dedication & motivation. But trust me when I say that it’s SO damn worth it.
I think we can all agree that one of the biggest barriers against wanting to actually take the leap of faith & live a healthier lifestyle is the lack of preparation. This is why I firmly believe that meal prepping can definitely help you get your food in the door and commit to eating healthier because guess what? IT WILL ALREADY BE DONE! (Yes, you’ll have to put in effort on the weekend, but then, your meals for most of the week will be a BREEZE!).
While many of us aspire to live a healthy lifestyle, to feel fit & energized, LIFE OFTEN GETS IN THE WAY!Setting goals to be and eat healthier is easy, BUT WHAT ABOUT FOLLOWING THROUGH WITH THEM & STAYING CONSISTENT?It’s a bit more tricky.
When you’re constantly on-the-go & thinking about family, work, school etc., the thought of cooking your own meals at home can sometimes feel impossible & HOPELESS. Trust me, I know. I’ve been there.
BUT, ASK YOURSELF THIS QUESTION: How many times have you been so busy during the week that half your day goes by, you look at the clock – it’s 2:00PM & you find yourself STARVING, having forgotten to eat & end up (IMPULSIVELY) picking up some fast-food option? (Not only are you spending money useleslessly, but you’re also most probably eating something not-so-healthy, overly-processed & packed with ingredients you’ll never know about!).
Sure, it’s okay to eat out every now & then, to go for lunch with coworkers, to get dinner with your family/loved one or to go for drinks after a long day of work. It’s all part of that balance & moderation that you want to learn to live by as part of your journey towards a healthier lifestyle.
BUT, do you want take-out lunches, fast food & late night restaurant food pickups to become a habit?Most definitely not. And they don’t have to. It’s really just all about PLANNING! (& prepping, of course!). But ain’t no prepping that can be done without the planning. And soon enough, once I’m done ranting, I’M GONNA TELL YOU WHAT I PLAN & PREP!
As you guys have probably noticed, ever since I embarked on my journey towards recovery (or rather, a few months in), I became very committed & passionate about meal prepping. As you guys know, recovery entailed the commitment to a very demanding & stringent meal plan, one where I basically took on the responsibility to cook ALL my meals & snacks. At first, I was doing everything the day of (I was fortunate enough to have been able to take medical leave from work to commit to my recovery fully).
But, as I got better, stronger, happier, more excited about life & started to have more energy, I started to want to do OTHER things than spend my entire day in the kitchen & I started to see the value in prepping things in advance! Doing this allowed me to:
- continue to stay faithful to & respect my meal plan but also to be able to live a life outside of the kitchen & outside of just recovery, recovery, recovery!
- helped me find balance in my life & opened my eyes to all the beautiful new opportunities & doors that recovery was going to open for me!
- allowed me to get adventurous, try new foods I never thought I would & to become very passionate about cooking, baking, knowing what is going into my body, doing research about ingredients I had never heard of & eating less & less packaged foods & more raw, real & whole foods.
BUT WHY ON EARTH SHOULD YOU TAKE SO MUCH TIME OUT OF YOUR PRECIOUS WEEKEND TO MEAL PREP?
- For starters, from a convenience / economical standpoint, meal prep is an amazing excuse to use leftovers or cook up something that’s taking lots of room in your fridge! I’m a firm believer in using what you already have (& using your imagination to do that!) before you go out & buy a bunch of prepared & processed stuff.NO WASTE POLICY, YA KNOW? This way, your wallet will thank you & your fridge won’t be overly cramped!
- Also, instead of going to the grocery store every night after work (when you’re already freaking starving) to pick up last minute ingredients, you’ll have everything ready & you won’t be tempted to buy EVERYTHING IN SIGHT because of how starving you are!
- Meal prep is a great way to maintain your weight! Meal prep means YOU prep YOUR food, a.k.a. you know exactly what you are putting into your body & how much! You can swap ingredients in processed store-bought foods that would otherwise make you feel nauseous, bloated, crampy or that you wouldn’t be able to properly digest for other ingredients that you know are good for you & most importantly, will make you feel good!
- Meal prep encourages you & makes you WANT to eat healthy! It’s certainly WAY LESS TEMPTING to go for unhealthy foods when all the healthy stuff is ready & waiting for you in the fridge!!! You get to choose ahead of time what you will be eating! & Guess what? because of that, you’ll be more likely to eat cleaner than those who don’t (& with ease!)You won’t be scrambling to find something to eat because your meal is already prepared, and it’s healthy!
- Grocery shopping becomes easy! You will get into the habit of buying certain foods on a regular basis (You’ll also start to be more aware of the grocery prices which is actually quite seuful). You will no longer find yourself wandering aimlessly around the asile and buying a bunch of stuff you won’t even end up using simply because it seems yummy or interesting in moment!
- Meal prep helps teach you balance & portion control! And having that balance & being able to control yourself portion-wise allow you to know when it’s time to treat ‘yoself & when it’s time to get down to business with the healthy stuff!
- Although you do need to invest some time in planning your meals, going for groceries and cooking them, you still end up saving time in the long run! Lunches are easier (& more exciting) to prepare (& YOU ACTUALLY DO IT) & dinners are ready in minutes when you get home after a long day feeling exhausted & famished with a whole fam / hungry hubby or wifey to feed!
- As you get used to eating healthier & into the habit of weekly meal prep, you will gradually stop craving sugar & other processed / packaged / refined foods (YES, I SWEAR. IT’S ACTUALLY POSSIBLE!!!). Routine is everything! Getting into & being consistent with this routine is the KEY to healthy eating & adopting a healthier lifestyle overall. Overtime, you’ll be SHOCKED at just how easy it is to turn down the foods you know aren’t going to make you feel good!
- Let’s be honest, at some point in the day (or the week, at least), we all get stressed about what we’re going to make for lunch or dinner, what snacks we’ll take to work & whether or not we’ll even have the time to prep any of that… RIGHT?The worst part is that stress affects everything from the immune system, digestion & sleep!!!! What if I told you that you could reduce ALL THAT FOOD-CAUSED STRESS by meal prepping? Would you do it?I know I would. Meal prep brings VARIETY to your meals, which means you won’t get bored of eating the same ‘ol stuff! You’ll be prepping a combination of veggies, proteins, fats, grains & healthy baked treats every week, but the best part is you’ll be able to MIX IT UP FROM WEEK TO WEEK! You won’t be limited to the basic foods you make out of habit as meal prep encourages you to get CREATIVE!(A.K.A. you won’t be having cereal, toast or pasta every night, ya feel me?).
- VARIETY IN FOOD brings about a VARIETY IN VITAMINS, MINERALS & NUTRIENTS, which means you’ll be more likely to be fuelling your body with everything that it needs to sustain you!
- Meal prepping is also an excellent time to make those new recipes you’ve been dying to test (but haven’t been able to find the time to make!). Try to view meal prep as a time for you to get creative & adventurous in the kitchen & dedicate good chunk of the day to exploring the CHEF IN YOU while prepping for the week.(& GET READY TO SCROLL DOWN FOR TONS OF MEAL PREP IDEAS!).
A FEW LITTLE TIPS?
- When meal prepping, keep in mind that it’s important to use foods that will last for 4-5 days in the fridge without getting soggy or turning bad!
- It’s also gotta be food that is easy to transport! Plant-based foods are AMAZING because they dont go bad as fast.
- Keep in mind there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do meal prep, as it’s all about what works for you personally. The ultimate goals are to save time in the kitch, to have access to healthy meals throughout the week, to reduce your food-related stress, to motivate you to eat healthier & to HAVE FUN WITH IT!
- If you don’t have the time for a whole meal prep sitch to go down in your kitchen every weekend, worry not.There’s always somewhere you can START! And in my opinion, at least prepping your proteins in advance is a great first step! This way, the base for your meals is made ahead of time & then you can switch it up with easy add-ons every night (This will also avoid a situation where you get bored of eating the same thing over & over again, if you’re that type of person!).
NOW, FOR THE FUN PART… What do I like to meal prep?
These are JUST SOMEmeal-prep friendly recipe ideas that you can find on the blog, BUT, feel free to use the search bar on the homepage or on the sidebar of every other page to search for WHATEVER TICKLES YOUR FANCY, if ya know what I mean!
- Simply Put, The Best Grilled Chicken EVER
- Honey Mustard Cumin Grilled Chicken Marinade
- Kelly’s Clean-Eating Maple Mustard Balsamic Chicken Marinade
- Kelly’s Turmeric Roasted Chicken Breast
- Kelly’s Clean-Eating Gluten-Free Meatless Zucchini “Meatballs”
- Asian Coconut Garlic Ginger Cilantro Oven-Roasted Mahi-Mahi
- Kelly’s Go-To Gluten-Free Spiced-Up Ground Turkey
- Gluten-Free & Vegan Sun-Dried Tomato Chickpea FALAFEL Muffin Cups
- Kelly’s Honey Dijon Dill & Garlic Chicken Marinade
- Ginger Garlic Cilantro Ground Chicken Sautéed With White Onion & Bell Peppers
- Asian Ground Chicken Sautéed in Sweet White Onion, Fresh Parsley, Coconut Aminos & Raw Organic Toasted Peanuts
- Gluten-Free Crispy Chicken & Kale Meatballs
- Kelly’s Healthy-AF Greek-Inspired Lemon Oregano Chicken Marinade
- Mommy’s FAMOUS Chicken Salad (But The Clean-Ish-Healthier-Ish Version!)
- Kelly’s Creamy-Yet-Crunchy Spicy Tuna Salad
- Vegan, Gluten, Oil, Egg & Refined Sugar-Free Chunky BLACK BEAN Burgers
- Carrot Cake Overnight Oats
- Kelly’s Creamy-AF Gluten-Free Peach & Berry Overnight (or Morning of!) Oats\
- Apple Cinnamon Spiced Overnight Oats
- Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free & Vegan Flavourful AF Oven-Roasted Chickpeas
- Gluten-Free & Refined Sugar-Free Collagen-Infused Cacao No-Bake Fudge Bites
- Vegan & Gluten-Free Soft & Chewy Double Chocolate Oatmeal Banana Cookies
- Vegan/Clean-Eating/Gluten-Free DOUBLE Chocolate Cookies
- Vegan, Gluten-Free & Refined Sugar-Free No Bake PURE BLISS Granola Bars
- 9-Ingredient Stovetop Vegan & Gluten-Free & Refined Sugar-Free Vanilla Almond Granola
- Gluten-Free Raw Cashew Butter Oatmeal Collagen Bites
- 4-Ingredient Vegan Vanilla Protein Applesauce Brownies
- THE-BEST-EVER Superfood Cocoa Almond Butter Oat Bites
- 5-Ingredient Vegan & Gluten-Free Baked Mini Apple Cinnamon Pecan Pies
- Gluten-Free & Vegan No-Bake Pecan Pie PROTEIN Bites
- Vegan, Gluten-Free & Refined Sugar-Free Crumbly But Chewy Cinnamon Pecan Walnut Muffins
- Gluten-Free & Vegan Oatmeal Flax Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Kelly’s Vegan Flourless Banana Bread BLENDER Muffins
- Kelly’s 3-Ingredient Fudgy-Rich-Decadent-&-Somehow-Clean AF Banana Almond Butter Brownies
- 5-Ingredient Vegan Vanilla Coco-Mango Ice Cream
- 7-Ingredient Vegan Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
- Gluten-Free & Refined Sugar-Free Coconut Flour Collagen & Protein COOKIE DOUGH Bites
ROASTED / SAUTÉED VEGGIES
- My Go-To Guide For Roasting & Sautéing Veggies From Start To Plate To Devour
- Roasted Spiced-Up Vegan “Cheezy” Eggplant Rounds
- Crispy Crunchy Homemade Beet Chips
- Kelly’s Indian-(VERY)-Spiced Brussels Sprouts
- Homemade Kale Chips
- Warm & Comforting Maple Cinnamon Roasted Carrot Rounds
- Roasted Asparagus & Brussels in a Garlic Lemon Dijon Marinade
- Sweet & Savoury Gluten-Free & Vegan Oven-Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds
- Baked Sweet Potato Chips
- The Simplest (But, The Yummiest) Roasted Butternut Squash Ever
- Kelly’s Maple Dijon Oven-Roasted Charred Carrots
- Kelly’s Clean-AF Maple Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
SOUPS / RICE / GRAINS / SALADS
- Cauliflower Fried Rice with Bell Pepper, White Onion & Cremini Mushrooms
- Kelly’s Silky Smooth Vegan & Gluten-Free Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Kelly’s Vegan & Gluten-Free Clean Eating Moroccan Eggplant Salad
- Kelly’s Grain-Free, Vegan, Gluten-Free Tabbouleh Salad
- Kelly’s Clean-AF Morroccan-Inspired Quinoa & Chickpea Protein-Packed Power Salad
- Clean-AF Cucumber Quinoa & Mint Salad Tossed in a Sweet & Tangy Lemony-Maple Vinaigrette
- Curry Carrot Soup (Otherwise Known As: Heaven in a Bowl)
- Kelly’s Clean-Eating Vegan & Gluten-Free Spiced-AF Carrot Soup
- Creamy-AF Coconut Milk Curried Cauliflower Soup
- Fresh To Death Clean-Eating Goat Cheese, Black Bean, Shredded Brussels & Other Good Stuff Pasta Salad
NUT MILKS & BUTTERS / SPREADS / JAMS / PESTOS
- Kelly’s Clean-Eating Refined Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free & Vegan Vanilla Cinnamon Mixed Berry Jam
- Homemade Creamy Silky Smooth Vanilla Cinnamon Raw Almond Butter
- Spicy Tomato Jam
- Vegan & Gluten-Free Creamy Avocado Hummus
- Homemade Vanilla Cinnamon Almond Milk
- Clean-Eating Homemade Nutella Spread
- Kelly’s Clean-Eating Homemade Hummus That Changed Everything
- Kelly’s Gluten-Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar-Free Lusciously-Velvety-Smooth-&-Creamy Kidney Bean Hummus
- Vegan Nut-Free “Cheesy” Spinach, Cilantro & Chickpea Pesto
- Kelly’s Pesto
- Smooth, Velvety, Creamy & Dreamy Clean-Eating Homemade Banana Peanut Butter
- Kelly’s Vegan/Gluten-Free/Clean-Eating Mocha, Date & Cacao Spread
- Homemade Basil, Spinach, Mint & Garlic Pesto (Yep, From Scratch)
- 9-Ingredient Clean Eating Tzatziki
- Spiced Up Gluten-Free, Vegan & Refined-Sugar-Free Lemony Maple Almond Butter Dressing
- Really, Really, Really Yummy Miso Citrus Dressing
- Kelly’s Clean-Eating Creamylicious-Delicious Green Goddess Dressing
- The-All-Time Creamiest Silkiest & Smoothest Clean-Eating Avocado Balsamic Dressing
- Kelly’s Not-So-Original-Not-So-Creative-&-Not-So-Complicated-But-Healthy-AF-&-Delish-Pour-This-Babe-On-Everything-Dressing!
- Kelly’s Clean-Eating Raspberry Sesame & Thyme Dressing
- Smooth & Creamy Greek Yogurt Vinaigrette
- My Speciality Clean-Eating Balsamic Honey & Dijon Vinaigrette
- Kelly’s Clean-Eating Simple-AF Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free & (Possibly) Vegan Creamy-AF Honey & Sesame Dressing
- The Creamiest Peanut Butter/Cashew Butter Dressing That You Ever Did See
- Kelly’s Clean Alternative To The Japanese Wafu Dressing We All Know & Love
- Healthy-AF Smooth & Creamy Tahini Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing
- Kelly’s Clean-AF Coconut Milk (Yes, The Light One!) Ranch Dressing
NOW GET PREPPIN’!!!!!!
P.S. For all my suggestions fo rah first steps you can take to embark on the journey towards a healthier lifestyle, click: My Top “First Steps” That You Can Take To Embark On Your Journey Towards An Overall Healthier Lifestyle a.k.a. Baby-Step-Mentality-FTW!
P.P.S. For all my tips on healthy snacking, click: Everything You Need (& Want) To Know About Healthy Snacking a.k.a. Why I Believe in Snacking If It’s Done Right (& Right Doesn’t Mean You Can Never Let Loose!)