Meal Prep and Checking Things Off my Bucket List

Thanks for all the love on my last post “How to Avoid a Burn-Out Pt. 1”! I love getting comments and hearing about what motivates other people to be their best. I’m still working on Pt. 2 of the Burn-out post but it will be up soon! ūüôā Meanwhile I wanted to check in and talk a little bit about Meal Prepping and my 2016 Bucket List!

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We made chicken tacos with an avocado-tomato-cilantro-cayenne salsa and I ate it with some fresh baby kale from the Farmer’s Market!

 

For the past 3 years or so I’ve really tried to make sure I’m eating healthy and buying quality whole foods. However, I haven’t always been a fan of meal prepping. Instead, I found it to be easier to buy lots of different healthy foods and sort of mix them up and around to create lunches and dinners.

Generally that meant carrots, almonds, a cheese-stick, lentil crackers, and usually some kind of fruit like a clementine for lunch. Maybe a larabar or other snack if I was particularly hungry. Dinners, on the other hand, were usually some kind of salad and a quick pre-made turkey burger or piece of fish. Sometimes chicken breast + quinoa or brown rice.

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I still try to include fresh veggies a-la-cart whenever I can!

I enjoy all of those meals but I became pretty bored last semester (seems to be a common theme). I had read about meal prepping but it kinda seemed way too intense for me and I didn’t have many of the hundreds of ingredients required to make a single dish.

So I decided to ease into meal prepping Рwhich really was me doing a trial run because I need to find ways to save time.

Here’s some tips for how to get into meal prepping without becoming totally overwhelmed:

  • Start Small – I started SUPER small… minimally prepping breakfast.¬†

    • Cooked up a couple cups of steel cut oats on Sunday and stored in fridge.
    • Pre-sliced my avocados and stored in fridge (only 1 at a time)
    • Assembled my coffee maker the night before so I’d only have to push start.
    • –> This¬†actually saved me a ton of time and made my mornings less of a hassle
  • Move to bigger and better things – like LUNCH!

    • Try making one large batch of a recipe on Sunday
      • Keep it simple – I made one pot that combined quinoa, tons of veggies, and black beans then stored in a large container to be dished out each day.
    • Start to buy more spices – just one or two each week to try and flesh out your spice arsenal.IMG_4515.JPG
      Some of the new spices I picked up from the local Amish Market and Kroger – Basil, Dill, Rosemary, Italian Medley, Bay Leaves, Marjoram leaves, Cream of tartar, and Himalayan Pink Salt – the Amish market was actually very cheap!
    • This past weekend I made one dish for lunch and one for dinner.
      • I choose different flavors – so enchiladas (Mexican) and an Italian Pasta bake.
        • I do this so I don’t get bored or annoyed of eating the same flavors for both lunch and dinner – it works!
    • Still keep them simple
      • Try to find ones with minimal ingredients¬†
      • Find recipes that can be customized¬†
        • I’ll add cilantro, avocado, or fresh pico to Mexican dishes when I get bored or just because it tastes so good!
          • Sprinkle parmesan cheese on your pasta dishes or add some fresh marinara.
          • Slice up lime wedges to squeeze on top of pad thai or tacos!
  • Get creative and try out more complex recipes!

    • I’m almost to this step ūüôā I’ll let you guys know how it goes!

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      I apologize –¬†but I’m in love with these fresh and vibrant veggies from the Farmer’s Market!

 

I do a couple other things to customize recipes. For example, this weekend I made the enchiladas from Andrea Tooley’s blog:¬†http://www.andreatooley.com/2013/02/

  • I adjusted the recipe just a little – swapped black beans for chicken, coconut flour for corn starch, soy milk for buttermilk, and gluten free teff tortillas for the whole grain tortillas.
  • I also added a few extra spices – marjoram (just barely a¬†teaspoon), lots paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and some cayenne pepper. *I’m just a little¬†obsessed with using all my new spices…
  • They were so good! My boyfriend even thought they were good¬†and¬†he hates health food…

*I’m not vegan but for the past couple months I’ve been eating vegetarian/pescatarian just to try it out and it’s actually been really easy and yummy! I’ve felt a lot less heavy as well – which is always welcome!

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Enchiladas on the left topped with organic micro greens and avocado. The Italian pasta bake is on the right. Because I can never choose between the two.

I also made an Italian dish for dinner – it was super simple:

  • Cooked up a bag w/ 6 servings of gluten free brown rice penne.
  • Saut√©ed some pre-minced garlic (you can find this at the grocery store in a small glass jar) in a sauce pan and then added a big jar of¬†Basil and Tomato sauce.
  • Simmered on low heat for about 15 minutes while the pasta was cooking.
    • Added about a tablespoon (a lot) of Mrs. Dash Italian Medley, Garlic powder, and Basil
  • In another pan, saut√©ed cubed extra-firm tofu until brown – no seasonings.
  • Combined tofu, pasta, and sauce in a large 9×13 pan and mixed well.
  • Sprinkled parmesan cheese and a Kraft Italian blend of cheese on top (probably too much)
  • Baked for 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Finally, I made a couple snacks –

  • Cauliflower “muffins” from Andrea’s blog:¬†http://www.andreatooley.com/2012/08/pizza-bites/
  • Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins for my boyfriend because he wasn’t overjoyed to eat the cauliflower muffins. ūüôā

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    They’re huge! But really really tasty.

This weekend was great – I went grocery shopping¬†3 times!!!¬† Which is crazy. The first time was to pick up items like crackers, soy milk, pasta, and tortillas. The 2nd time was actually¬†The Winter Farmer’s Market in Indy. I had thought that I’d be able to get all the fruits and veggies I needed for the week but sadly it’s too early for most fruit and veggies. I did pick up some smoked salmon, baby kale, organic micro greens, carrots, and some vegan gluten free muffins! But since I didn’t get everything I needed to meal prep I had to go back to the grocery store. Sigh. But I weirdly love grocery shopping.

Oh! And Friday night Marek and I had a date night which consisted of making barbecue salmon, sweet potato fries, and seasoned carrots. A random mix of orange but it was so delicious!

 

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I checked off my first item on my 2016 Bucket List!!!

I’m still adding things to my bucket list but one thing I’ve always wanted to do is attend a Hot Yoga class. It’s yoga in a 90-95+ degree room. Holy hot.¬†I think I’m actually going to add it into my monthly workout plan…Maybe twice a month? I would love to go once a week but that would get a little pricey.

It was intense! Way harder than I had anticipated… I naively imagined it’d just be like moving slowly in a sauna. Nice and relaxing. NOPE. It was fast and the postures were hard!

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This is me all sweaty after Hot Yoga – but so happy!

It would have been a challenging workout by itself, but the heat made it feel like I had just run a 10k in the middle of summer. I felt like I was going to pass out a couple times. But I resisted the urge to run the hell out of room and tried to put as much as I could into every posture. I was dripping in sweat before the first 10 minutes were up.

It was the most mentally challenging workout I’ve ever done and I LOVED it. I want to do it every week. When I left the room I felt so good. Every part of my body¬†was tingling and I love the detox-feeling that comes with sweating. A day later and I’m pretty¬†sore everywhere!

I need some more ideas for my 2016 bucket list! Right now I’m working on doing a handstand. I’ve given myself until the end of the year for that one though…

 

 

Questions for YOU!

  • Where are you guys at in your meal prep journey?

  • What kind of dishes do you make?

  • Any tips for me on how to make it easier?

  • What’s on your 2016 Bucket List?!

  • Have you tried Hot Yoga?

 

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