In addition to being a Certified Holistic Health Coach, I am also a full-time mom. Well, when I’m not busy with work, that is. The only way my family is able to stick to eating allergen-free, nutrient-dense foods on a weekly basis is through some simple meal preparations that I do twice a week. Here are some of my tricks of the trade so you can be super prepared for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks — without reaching for junk food or empty carbs to fill you up!
Remember to invest at least one to two hours, twice per week on meal prep and you’ll have at least 7 days worth of food ready to grab and go. Spend one of your hours on a Saturday or Sunday making these items, then about 3-4 days later, spend another hour or two making these same items. The following week, you can rotate your meal ideas/recipes, but try to stick to the same meal ideas for both prep sessions each week for sake of convenience, ease in grocery shopping, and storage space in your fridge. The goal is to keep everything fairly neutral so it can be rolled over into another meal. If your family tends to eat more than this list, at least you will have done a ton of prep work in advance so you will significantly lighten your load, even if you do need to prepare more proteins after a few days.
Here’s a general meal prep for a family of 3-4. Keep in mind, this is for those people who really only want to eat out once, maybe twice per week max! So your every meal and snack needs to be accounted for here. It may look like a lot of food but it will get eaten if this is all you have to rely on — no quick microwaveable t.v. dinners. (Be sure to avoid your individual allergens — perhaps dairy, eggs, salicylates, legumes, or nightshades).
It’s best to have multiple protein sources (as this is the main dish and the most filling) for lunches and dinners. Here we have bacon for breakfast or salads, ground sauteed meat for salads, to put with a roasted veggie, to put on baked potatoes, or to turn into a sandwich or quesadilla.
Then we have multiple kinds of vegetables — both raw and cooked. The raw veg can be kept raw and eaten as snacks or salads, or they can be sauteed quickly since they’re already prepped for you.
Cut up fruits that can be stored without oxidizing. Mangoes work well. Also be sure to have grab-and-go fruits like apples on hand since they can be added to meals that you already prepped and there is no additional work involved.
And finally, choose which kinds of carbs you would like: from grains or starches, or from fruits and vegetables. This will depend on which unique diet you need to be eating. Gluten-free starches that can easily be added to this prep work include rice and roasted potatoes.
Spent 1-2 hours prepping:
- 1/2 dozen flax muffins or coconut flour muffins
- coconut flour banana bread
- 1 dozen (hard boiled) eggs
- chopped up vegetables: 5 bell peppers, 4 cucumbers, 1 large jicama, shred 1 bag carrots, cut 1 bag celery
- sautee 3 pounds ground beef, turkey, or chicken meat with neutral spices like onion and garlic powder
- cut and roast 2 medium cauliflower
- halve and stuff 4 zucchini with loose breakfast sausage meat, then bake until cooked through
- bake 1 pound bacon (in oven on cookie sheet — super simple)
- chop 4 large mangoes (or other fruit you like that won’t brown)
Other things to have on hand to be able to put meals together with the foods you prepped:
- a salad dressing you like — either homemade or store bought
- large bag of lettuce of your choice
- starches, if you are someone who needs to eat a higher carbohydrate diet (for example, swap out the roasted cauliflower for roasted carrots, parsnips, beets, celery root, potatoes, turnip or rutabagas) or gluten-free bread to make sandwiches
- water-packed olives, water chestnuts, beets, capers to add to salads
- raw fermented foods like pickles and sauerkraut (if you tolerate them)
- crumbled and shredded cheeses (if you tolerate them) to put on salads
- no work produce like avocados — just slice and eat! also, apples, peaches, plums, pears, bananas, and tangerines
- condiments you like to spice things up: mustard, mayo, honey mustard, hot sauce, salsa
Here’s what those meals will look like:
- flax or coconut flour muffin
- piece of banana bread
- hard boiled eggs and mango
- bacon and mango
- a combination of the above
- roasted cauliflower warmed up and served with bacon sprinkled on top
- sauteed green bell peppers (that you already cut up) with scrambled eggs
- sauteed green bell peppers with fresh-cooked breakfast sausage
- stuffed zucchini
- roasted cauliflower topped with a fresh fried egg
- salad with ground meat, chopped raw vegetables, salad dressing of your choice (add hard boiled egg if you tolerate eggs)
- roasted cauliflower (or other veg of your choice) with sauteed ground meat (and side salad of chopped raw veggies with dressing)
- flax muffin sandwich with avocado, bacon, and lettuce
- stuffed zucchini with raw vegetable salad, coconut flour banana bread
- stuffed zucchini with roasted cauliflower
- “BLT” salad: lettuce, bacon, hard boiled egg, cucumber, avocado with dressing, flax muffin
- gluten-free bread with ground meat and lettuce, side salad of raw veggies
- quesadilla with ground meat (if you can have dairy), side salad of raw veggies
- loaded baked potato (if you can have potatoes) with ground meat and side salad of raw veggies
- flax muffins or coconut flour muffins
- coconut flour banana bread
- hard boiled eggs
- raw celery
- raw jicama
- raw cucumber
Then about 3 days later, pull from the same list and make the same items for the remainder of the week. If you’re really into variety, you’ll want to choose different dishes. But for sake of simplicity and ease of preparation (and less grocery shopping!), using the same meal ideas makes things easier on you. You don’t have to prepare gourmet meals — keep it simple and make what works. The goal is to get full and stick to your health journey. Even just one hour of prep work is worth it!