Updated: Sep 1, 2019
What is Meal Prep?
Meal prep is the preparation of meals or portions of meals in bulk so that actual meal time is less chaotic, portioned out & ready for consumption!
I have been meal prepping for almost 8 years and it all started when I was in college living in my own apartment. I found it really easy to make a HUGE salad at the beginning of the week, then take a portion of the salad every day and eat that alongside something else. When I started working a full time corporate job I found meal prep especially necessary to save money and make use of my little free time. I would prep all of my breakfasts and lunches for the week on Sunday night, that way it was ready to grab and go to work everyday! I spent much less time in the kitchen and didn’t stress out about what I was going to eat.
What are the Benefits of Meal Prep?
It saves you time! Spending 2 hours in the kitchen on a Sunday making 3-4 portions of the meals makes your life so much easier. For example, if you are chopping up vegetables for a salad, why not double or triple the amount of veggies you are cutting up and just store them in separate containers? You already have the cutting board and knife out, just put in an extra few minutes to do some of the prep work because your future self will thank you!
Helps with an overall nutritiously balanced diet! So when meal prepping, you’re preparing foods that are on your grocery list. This allows you to have healthy options available for you in the fridge when hunger hits! For example, if you get home from work and are super hungry, you probably don’t have the time or patience to cook a meal. What’s the next best thing? You order out and next think you know you have some fries, chips and/or a burger in front of you. You are much more likely to stick with your fitness and nutrition goals if you have a big buddha bowl prepped that is ready to be eaten!
Saves money! Buying in bulk always saves money, so you could make it a fun activity. Browse around on Pinterest, find a few recipes that sound delicious, write up a grocery list, go to the store and try to find the ingredients on sale, bring it home and prep! You’re more than likely to be able to get through a week of meals for less than $80 vs. if you were to eat out 2 meals a day, which could come to around $160 for the week (not to mention the scary ingredients they put into take-out or restaurant food to make it more tasty).
Where Should We Start?
How about this simple recipe below? It packs a ton of flavor and is made with one of my favorite greens: KALE. Kale is actually fantastic because the longer it sits marinated in the dressing the tastier it gets. Sometimes I marinate kale for 3 days before consuming! So take this delicious recipe I created below, add your own spin to it and share your creations with us on social media! Just tag @naturesgreens+ @recipes4health and we will be sure to re-share with our community!
GREEK PASTA SALAD
6 cups of Natures Greens organic kale
2 cups of pasta (I used a chickpea pasta)
1 cup of grape tomatoes
1/2 large cucumber
1/4 red onion
3 tablespoons of kalamata olives
3 tablespoons of feta cheese
3 lemons (juiced)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Begin by boiling the pasta water. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside to cool.
Add the ingredients of the dressing into a small bowl and whisk to create a smooth consistency.
Chop the kale into smaller pieces and add into a large bowl.
Add half of the dressing into the kale and massage with your hands (this helps break the kale down and make it easier to digest).
Slice the cucumber, tomato, red onion, and kalamata olives and add those all into the bowl with the marinated kale.
Add the cooled pasta into the big bowl of veggies.
Add the remaining dressing, then toss to incorporate.
Store in a large container or smaller containers with a sprinkle of feta cheese on top.
I love adding a dollop of hummus to mine when I serve it, but you could add a slab of fish, chicken or even chickpeas for extra protein.