Save your sanity & meal prep
It's no secret that Sunday's are my meal prep days, and probably my favourite day of the week. Meal prepping is honestly my number one tip for staying on track with my eating and saving my sanity throughout the week.
Make this week, the week you get organised and stay on track with my top 5 meal prepping tips. I've even saved you some time and included 5 recipes to get your week sorted.
Top 5 Meal Prepping Tips
Probably one of the hardest parts of meal prepping is the planning, but as the saying goes, 'If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail'. When it comes to planning the meals I am cooking for the week, my first point of call is everyone's favourite rabbit hole Pinterest, I could spend countless hours going from one pin to the next. A simple search can bring up a world of tasty, healthy recipes, saving you countless hours scouring the internet or paging through cookbooks wondering what you're going to eat next week.
Save more time: If you don't have time to scour Pinterest, head to my meal prepping pinboard, full of meal ideas and recipes I have found for my own meal prep inspo.
Save time & grocery shop online
Once you have your recipes for the week, it's time for the dreaded grocery shop, but it doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. Save your sanity, time and money and take your grocery shopping online, most supermarkets now offer both click and collect and grocery delivery, meaning you can avoid any impulse buying and kiddie tantrums.
Top tip: Save money by only ordering the items you need, in the amounts you need for each recipe. I copy and paste each ingredient into the search bar and add the amounts I need.
Batch Cooking is your friend
Hate cooking? Think it takes too much time? It doesn't have to, prepare your meals for the week ahead of time and cook in batches to store in either the fridge or freezer. Cook once, eat 5 days is my motto, every Sunday I set aside 2 hours to cook and prep 5 - 6 days of meals meaning most nights we just heat and eat, perfect for those evenings when you don't want to cook, or you get home late.
Top tip: Wondering what to have for lunches? Cook an extra serve or 2 of each meal to have for lunches during the week. Save time in the morning and pack leftovers into lunchboxes the night before, I like to do this while I am cleaning the kitchen after dinner. The next morning just grab a lunchbox and you're good to go.
No time for breakfast? No problem
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and for me it really is, especially post bariatric surgery (I find I am only really hungry in the morning). But for many of us, the mornings are usually a blur of getting kids ready for school, getting ourselves ready and trying to leave the house on time, leaving no time for breakfast. One of my favourite ways to ensure I have a healthy, protein fueled breakfast is by prepping single serve sized egg cups or frittatas (get my go-to recipes here) during my Sunday meal prepping making for easy grab and go breakfasts, store in the fridge or freeze individually for easy grab and go meals.
Top tip: Write the nutritional information (per serve) on grab and go meal bags to quickly and easily track your macros.
Take it slow
If you ask me, one of the best time saving inventions is the slow cooker, quick (or slow), easy, minimal prep and zero fuss amazingly delicious meals all come from this baby. Whether you're craving a soul-soothing stew or even a roast chicken, the slow cooker is one of the best meal prepping gadgets (I'll let you in on a secret, it's great for this self - saucing butterscotch pudding too).
Time saver tip: Pop a meal in the slow cooker, a meal in the oven, one on the stove, and if you have a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, go on and chuck a meal in there too. 4 meals cooking at once, you can't go wrong.
5 Recipes to get your week sorted
Everything but the kitchen sink frittata
My no fail, use what you have go-to breakfast or lunch on the run recipe.
Best ever spaghetti Bolognese sauce
This is one the kids will love and they won't even know it's full of veggies.
Serves: 12 tiny tummies or 6 regular sized serves
Nutritional Information (tiny tummy)
500g lean beef mince
500ml beef stock
1 jar of passata
100ml dry red wine - optional (I like a merlot)
2 sticks of celery, grated or finely diced
1 large zucchini, grated
2 small carrots, grated
150g onion, grated
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp Italian herbs
1 tsp monk fruit sweetener
salt and pepper to taste
Add zucchini, carrots, onion, garlic and celery to a food processor and grate or finely chop.
On a medium heat, in a large non stick pot, pour the veggies in and fry lightly to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the beef mince to the pot and fry until brown, gently breaking up any chunks of meat.
Add stock, passata, red wine, Italian herbs and monk fruit sweetener to the pot.
Bring to a boil and let it cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced and thickened to your liking.
Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
Serve with spaghetti or pasta or for those who prefer a lower carb option serve on cauliflower mash or rice.
Purée stage tip: Use and stick blender and puree for a delicious puree which is also a wonderful baby food for those with little ones.
Coconut fish curry in a hurry
Serves: 4 serves
100ml light coconut cream
1tbsp curry powder
120ml vegetable stock
1tsp grated ginger
275g white fish (I use cod or basa)
1 clove of garlic
150g onion, grated
On a medium heat, in a non stick pot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown, around 5 minutes.
Add the tomato, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring for another minute or two.
Add the curry powder, and cook, stirring, until fragrant.
Slowly add the coconut cream and stock, and stir to combine.
Bring to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes or until the tomatoes begins to soften.
Cut the fish into bite-sized pieces and add to the pot. Gently cook into the sauce until the is cooked through.
Serve on rice, or for a low carb alternative cauliflower rice.
Meal prep tip: If you are meal prepping and plan to eat this later in the week, cook the recipe until step 5. When you are ready to serve, simply heat the sauce in a pot and continue the recipe from step 6.
Slow cooker Mongolian beef
There are easy recipes, and then there are recipes so easy it is literally dump and go, and this baby is one of those. Cook a delicious kid approved dinner that is literally dump, set and forget.
BBC (bacon, brie & chicken) frittata
Indulgent without the guilt and packing a whopping 23.6g, this frittata is the perfect on its own as a lunch on the run, or serve with a leafy green salad for a well balanced meal.
Serves: 9 serves
20g baby spinach
70g brown onion, diced
150g roast chicken, diced
100g bacon, diced
60ml light thickened cream
100ml skim milk
75g brie, sliced or diced
1 clove of garlic
Set the oven to 180°C (356 F).
On a medium heat, in a non stick pan, add the onion, garlic and bacon and fry, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, around 5 minutes.
Remove the mixture from the stove and let it cool slightly (around 5 minutes).
In a blender, crack the eggs and add the salt, pepper, milk and cream, blend until frothy.
In a greased (just a spritz of spray oil) baking dish, add the bacon/onion mixture and spread into an even layer.
Top with an even layer of the spinach, followed by the brie.
Pour the egg mixture into the baking dish.
Pop the baking dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown and the mixture no longer jiggles.
Cool for 10 minutes and divide into slices and serve.
2 hours, 5 meals, I usually start my meal prep at 7 am, I am a notorious early bird, 4 am is my usual wake up time, which means by 9 am when the rest of the house is starting to emerge the week's cooking is done and it's onto family day.
Don't stress if the first few times, it takes you 3 or even 4 hours to meal prep, it does get easier especially if you have a meal going in the slow cooker, one in the pressure cooker, one on the stove and one in the oven. This is also a great way to make sure you get your meal prep in, even when you're short on time.
Get your meal planning started with my blank printable Monday - Friday meal planner.
Short on time? No time to plan, I got ya back - Monday - Friday meals sorted.