Meal Prep: Real Foods, Ready To Go

by Addie Kelzer

When I started prepping my meals ahead of time, it was a GAME CHANGER.  No longer did I set myself up for failure by not planning what I was going to eat.  Instead, I started to set myself up for success by being in control of when and where and WHAT food I ingested.  Over the last 3 years this has become one of my strongest habits for staying at a healthy weight.  Here’s a glimpse into my meal prep for the week of 10.21.14 which I divided into 2 days of prep.

Sunday morning I chopped veggies, boiled barley and made this beautiful barley salad with extras to take to a potluck later that day.  I also washed and peeled my carrots and put into  snack baggies. Total time: 60 minutes

Monday afternoon/evening I threw frozen chicken in a crockpot and finished it into a soup later in the evening.  I always mixed up dip for veggies, made a peanut-butter-ery snack and packed lunches for Tuesday.  Total time: 90 minutes.

Tuesday-Friday I spent roughly 15 minutes each night packing lunches for the next day (I portion out leftovers for myself and make meat, cheese and spinach wraps for my husband) as well as re-heating delicious homemade leftovers for dinner.

This weekend is busy with parties and potlucks so I won’t be making much more food than this.  For breakfasts and snacks we’ll likely whip up oatmeal, fresh eggs and shakes.

SouthWest Chicken Soup

Shredded chicken, white beans (smashed), salsa verde, chicken broth and taco seasoning make a zesty, hearty soup.

Shredded chicken, white beans (smashed), salsa verde, chicken broth and taco seasoning make a zesty, hearty soup.

This recipe comes out of a cookbook I really like called “FRESH FOOD FAST” by Cooking Light.  It’s packed with protein, has lots of flavor and the mashed beans make for a nice, thick broth.

I doubled the recipe for it to last us a few days.  In a crockpot I placed 8 or 9 nearly frozen chicken breasts and cooked on low while working from home one afternoon.  Once cooked, I transferred the chicken to a dish to shred.  I then returned the shredded chicken to the crockpot to mix and heat all ingredients.  My husband topped his with leftover Greek Yogurt (from below) and cheese.

Directions: In a crockpot, combine shredded chicken, Salsa Verde, cannellini beans (smash so only  a few whole beans remain), taco seasoning and chicken broth.

Power Bars

Power Bars made in mixer

My husband can chow down some serious snacks in the evening, I feel better knowing he's chewing on this instead of chips or cereal.

Using a KitchenAid Mixer makes this Power Bar recipe easy and quick.  You can imagine the muscles needed to stir together dry oats and whey powder, peanut butter and sticky honey!  I used the back of a wooden spatula to press the bars into the pan then finish with my hands.

View Full Recipe (halfway down the page): POWER BARS

For a chocolately finish, melt some dark chocolate and spread a thin layer over the top.  When kept in the fridge, the chocolate also acts as a bonding agent on top to keep the bars packed together.  This bar makes a great on-the-go snack or filling breakfast at roughly 330 calories a piece.  I cut the pan into 12 bars to match this calorie value and attempt not to eat more than one a day!  *This results in me going over my suggested fat grams per day just in peanut butter alone!  Goes great with black coffee!

“Take Out” Leftovers for Lunch

Lunch w/ Leftovers

I don’t always have steak and shrimp on the weekend, but when I do, I save half of it for a 5-Star lunchbox meal!

Mid-week leftovers consists of a few hard boiled eggs from last week and a second serving of Hibachi Grill from family dinner night on Sunday.  Our meal at Benihana was such a treat and the meats were so incredibly flavorful (maybe it was the small mountain of butter the chef used on each one)! When I was approaching full I set aside half of my rice, and 2-3 ounces of both steak and shrimp for my lunch.

*When food logging restaurant leftovers, always account for added fats like butter and oil (probably more than you would use on your own) unless you’re pulling your numbers directly off of their website.

Rainbow Barley Salad

Barley, Peppers, Broccoli, Garbanzo Beans, Olives and Pepperoncini come together with an Italian dressing.

Barley, Peppers, Broccoli, Garbanzo Beans, Olives and Pepperoncini come together with an Italian dressing.

This Rainbow Barley Salad is a favorite mid-day snack.  The barley holds up to the dressing well for several days, never going soggy like pasta would.  It’s also a great way to get a serving of vegetables that will stick with you longer because of the complexity of the barley.

View Full Recipe: Rainbow Barley Salad

Veggies & Dip (you don’t have to feel guilty about)

Tons of protein when you substitute Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream.

Get tons of protein when you substitute Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream.

Carrots are washed, peeled and in baggies, but any interest in actually eating them alludes me! Ranch dip to the rescue as it will add interest to my carrots and boost my protein numbers a little! I saved a few spoonfuls of Greek yogurt to add to smoothies later in the week.

*Hidden Valley Ranch packets have a few ingredients I’d rather avoid, however, after trying this dip using the ranch mixture from my local co-op, I’ve come back to the dark side as the co-op version was inedible. I’ll have to take the good with the bad until I discover an equally tasty version! Any suggestions are welcomed!

Directions: Mix packet with 16 ounces of Greek Yogurt

Would you like to become a Meal Prep PRO?  Check out our Nutrition Only Program to learn how to plan and execute a HEALTHY menu for your family.

~Addie

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