Making Time: a little prep goes a long way

It's Sunday afternoon, you’ve just returned from Whole Foods and suddenly all your energy for planning a week of nutrient-dense meals has miraculously disappeared. You retreat to the den to binge watch your favorite series on-demand and suddenly the entire day has gotten away from you and you didn't accomplish anything on your to-do list.

We've all been there! It’s OK! The purpose of this post is to emphasize the perks and benefits of taking time for yourself. So how does spending time in preparation save time for yourself?

Prepping meals ahead of schedule has the obvious benefit of saving time during your busy work week, but also has several other pluses.  A big one is that you actually know what you are eating.  Often times when we reach for a quick bite or go out to eat on our lunch or dinner break, we consume so many unknown and unwanted calories and ingredients. We have little control of what we consume in most eateries.

Meal prep eliminates any guesswork and allows you to feel confident in what you are putting in your body.  In addition, meal prepping helps to reduce the possibility that you will stray from your intended eating plan.  Having healthy, ready-to-go options allows you to fuel your body with quality foods which will keep you feeling good and energized throughout the day.

Meal prep doesn't have to be boring either, no need to each chicken and asparagus or the same salad every day. Plan our menus for yourself to keep things exciting and you'll actually look forward to eating them.  When it comes to meal prep, use the internet as a limitless resource for recipe ideas and options that you can adapt to your own life.  Whether you’re a low-carb, good fats person, vegan, or just clean and balanced, the choices are virtually limitless.

Here’s a sample of some easy prep for lunches and snacks for the workweek:

Prep ingredients: chicken breast sautéed in coconut oil or grilled; oven roasted butternut squash/asparagus/brussel sprouts, spaghetti squash/root (winter) veggies; hard boiled eggs. Additional ingredients: romaine lettuce, spinach, baby kale, bell peppers, cucumber, red onion. 

I like to look my chicken breast in coconut oil on the stove top, which keeps the chicken moist and is a heat stable (and healthy!) oil to cook with.  For eggs my go to recipe is to bring water to a boil, carefully drop eggs in and continue to boil for 9 minutes, remove from water and put in an ice bath.  Veggies all can be oven roasted 375˚ for around 20 minutes for asparagus and Brussels; spaghetti squash will take more like 40, test for softness.  

For a great salad topping or a tasty snack I love to roast walnuts or pecans in the oven with a little coconut oil, stevia, cinnnomon, cayenne pepper, and a dash of coarse sea salt! YUM

Here are some meal options from the above ingredients.  These are suggestions, not recipes, but they are very basic: raw, roasted, steamed, etc., and simple to prepare. Recipes for all of these meal components are easy to find on the internet, and the only “special” equipment referred to is the spiralizer, an inexpensive kitchen device that can turn veggies like zucchini and other squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and others into a delicious and healthy “noodle” alternative.

Monday: spinach salad with grilled chicken, cucumber, red onion, bell peppers, carrots, egg, avocado. 

Tuesday: Grilled asparagus & brussels mixed with spaghetti squash & chicken drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, a dash of ground black pepper, and pink Himalayan sea salt.

Wednesday: Roasted vegetable salad: butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, almonds (all roasted in advance and refrigerated). For dressing in use Bragg's Apple cider vinegar with extra-virgin olive oil and a dash of Italian seasoning (when roasting the veggies, fresh thyme, rosemary and sage are a DELICIOUS addition!) 

Thursday: Baby kale salad topped with roasted squash or sweet potato, toasted nuts and avocado.  Again, all roasted beforehand. 

Friday: Turkey meatball & Zuchinni noodle soup.  Great use for a spiralizer. Make up some zoodles and spiralized sweet potato and carrots with meatballs of ground turkey.  Made with bone broth for added protein and minerals this is also great for digestive health. 

The same thoughtfulness we bring to meal preparation saves time later, time to meditate, time to work out or do yoga.  Having the right food combinations throughout the day will help make our exercise more fun and the results that much better.  I’ll share some workout thoughts and suggestions in my next post.  Thanks for reading.

Health is wealth, be your own investment!