Health and well being

Recipes for a healthy meal prep

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Who knew the world of meal prepping could be so complicated? As I browsed the internet for ideas, I came across questions I had not yet anticipated.

Do I want to meal prep with my freezer or fridge? 

How much do I want to prep and how long does it last?

Ok not the world’s most complicated questions in theory. Yet I assumed it would all be so easy. A website suggesting breakfast, lunch, dinner and wala!

Instead, I twisted myself into the web of wonder, asking how much do I eat? (Alot), do I just cook a weeks worth or kind of follow the recipes I come across?

My first attempt was a sham. My potato after two days went bad, my lentils started to smell strange and I was sick of the sight of tuna that by day 4, I ended up cooking anyway.

The solution for me is to prepare large meals that I can eat for the new few days. In theory I do an extra little bit of meal prep midweek, but the cooking is minimal. My food is mostly targeted towards being plant based and the recipes I am going to share are straightforward, tasty (in my humble opinion) and quick. Tips will also be spread out throughout this article. Happy meal prepping!

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Breakfast

If you find yourself bored or hungry after a few hours, it helps to have a breakfast prepared. If you haven’t already, check out my six ways to eat oats which has ideas that can last throughout the week.

If you can eat egg, you can boil a batch and have hard boiled egg in the morning, either on it’s own or with some cooked mushrooms and spinach. Simple but filling. Boiled eggs last for about a week in the fridge.

Lunch and dinner

I want to share some great recipes and suggestions. These are all meals that you can put in the fridge for a few days and again they do not require too much prep.

The Nutribullet recipes have been my go-to. Many of their recipes do not actually require the Nutribullet so it is worth looking at their website which is www.nutriliving.com

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This was a recipe from one of my Nutribullet books; a vegetarian stew. I found something very similar on BBC good food. Vegetarian casserole

The prep time is 10 minutes. With stews and casseroles, they are great to take to work. You can take a packet of rice and heat up to have together.

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Another from my Nutribullet book; I adapted this and  it is far more delicious than how it looks in my photo.

Perfect to take to work, cooked noodles with broccoli, half a can of butterbeans, tomatoes chopped, onions and sesame oil with herbs.

Cook the noodles according to the packet and then saute in a generous drizzle of sesame oil (keep adding until you can taste it in the noodles). I coated this dish in Italian herbs and oregano, both of which help to bring out the flavour.

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Quinoa is fantastic for protein. While it may look bland and cook bland, it’s easy enough to mix up.

Cook quinoa and mix in a couple of chopped celery, carrots, tomatoes, 1 red onion and lots of olives. Put together in a casserole dish and drizzle with half a lemon, a good pouring of olive oil and any herbs if desired. Cook for 25mins and then serve with sweet potato wedges.

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If you love burgers and chips but would rather a healthy option, here is your answer.

Portobello mushroom burgers. Funnily enough I am not the biggest fan of mushrooms. Nevertheless, in a burger these were delicious. To skip the cheese and tomato ketchup or mayonnaise, make some guacamole by mashing an avocado, sprinkling a hint of salt and a good squeeze of lime.

To make homemade chips or sweet potato chips, cut potato into its desired shape, cover in olive oil and cook the sweet for roughly 25mins, and regular for 35mins. Adding paprika on them is my favourite! Be aware that smaller you chop, the less time it takes. For small sweet potato wedges, aim for towards 20mins.

I know this meal is not exactly something you can meal prep. It is super quick though and for coming home after work tired,  it is a nice plate of food to whip up.

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Super soup! Ideal because you can easily refrigerate and freeze. When taking to work, try serving with cashew nuts, potato or of course bread but be careful to not over indulge.  Unless you want too, then bread away!

As tempting as it is to buy canned soup, I’ve now made a few of my own and I will never go back. Most contain vegetable stock (you can buy vegan stock) with a host of vegetables that will ensure your soup will fill you up. There will be no sugar spikes or excess salt.

To me, meal prepping is a case of making 10-20min meals that I can re heat for the next few days.

Tuna wraps, black bean burgers and salads are all foods that can last the week. If you are considering a salad, make it interesting. Coleslaw, beetroot, egg, fish or chicken, a small portion of French bread, hummus; a salad does not have to purely be a mix of veg.

Sweet treats

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These nut/protein/date balls are everywhere! If you want a nice little dessert or something you can take to work that is still healthy, look for one of these recipes.

I took this from Nutribullet, but really there are million ways to do these. It’s a case of blitzing nuts such as walnuts or cashew nuts, mixing them with around 12-15 dates (preferably medjool), and adding in any extras from protein powder, oats, cocoa, vanilla and cinnamon. You shape them into balls and then refrigerate for the week.

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Have you ever purchased frozen fruit?

Frozen veg I do not like but frozen fruit is a weekly staple. Usually you can buy a pack of berries or strawberries and bananas, or even pineapple chunks.

Leave out for a few hours to defrost or warm up in a pan with a hint of oat/almond milk and vanilla. You can use cream or butter to make the sauce thicker.

You can use it as a sauce to go with anything from melted chocolate desserts, pancakes to French toast. Once I got the hang of this, I started storing it as a quick topping.

Additional tips

  • Get creative with what you already eat and find healthier options to prep. Avocado gluten free spaghetti is superb!
  • If you need a good meal to last and you have excess veg, you can’t go too wrong with tomatoes and vegetable stock. I love mixing around a cup of stock with 2 cans of tomato, a nice splashing of olive oil and slow cooking perhaps carrots, courgette, cauliflower etc. Once cooked on the hob (wait for the veg to be soft and for the sauce to be warm), transfer to an oven dish with a few tablespoons of cream cheese and cook for around 15-20mins.
  • For full on meal prepping, decide what meals you want and check how long they can last.
  • If you want variety, you can meal prep a stew or dish, and then each day serve with a different side.
  • Look into frozen food that meal preps. It’s great to have in the freezer for those just in case moments.

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