How Meal Prepping Will Benefit Your Body And Your Wallet

How Meal Prepping Will Benefit Your Body And Your Wallet

Maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet can be extremely difficult and time-consuming. Majority of Americans feel that they don’t have the time out of their busy  days to prepare multiple meals throughout the week, or bear to spend hundreds of dollars on organic, whole foods. It almost seems as if the American food system sets up our health needs for failure.

In a post discussing the corporatization of the American food system, John Ikerd states that “industrial technologies such as reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, feeding of antibiotics and growth hormones, concentrated animal feeding operations, and genetically modified crops have raised serious public concerns about the environmental, social, public health impacts of industrial agriculture.” This ultimately creates short and long term health risks for people nationwide.

meal-prepping-benefit-body

However, many people are proving that with a little bit of research, diligence, and commitment, putting the “good stuff” in your body on a regular basis is definitely doable.

Their secret? Meal prepping.

What Is Meal Prepping?

Meal prepping is the process of purchasing whole foods in advance and preparing them so multiple meals are ready in advance for the week. For example, a best practice would be choosing one day out of the week to do all of your grocery shopping — and then preparing your meals that same day.

Most people find that Sundays work best for them seeing as most are not bogged down with work and can make time to do this. Of course, picking a day out of the week that works best for you would be most ideal.

Are you looking to live a longer life? Do you care about your overall health and well-being? Do you find that you tend to purchase lunch and dinner often during the week? Is your wallet suffering from it? Or do you simply want to save up for that international trip that you’ve been dying to go on?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, I would strongly suggest you challenge yourself and start adding meal prepping into your everyday life.

  • Here are some meal prepping tips and tricks along with a sample one-week plan that will save you time and money — and make you feel a lot better inside and out.
  • Pick one day in your week when you have 4–5 hours of free time
  • Don’t go to the grocery store on an empty stomach
  • Go to the grocery store with a shopping list so you can mark items off the list as you shop
  • Check to see what foods are “in season” so you choose ingredients in their prime
  • Never steer away from your shopping list — Unless you see any outstanding deals on either fresh fruit, vegetables, or meat

Sample Meal Prep Plans

Not all meal prep plans are created equal. What works for one person may not work for the next.

Keep in mind successful meal prepping requires a bit of willpower. You should feel comfortable with eating the same or similar meals a few times a week. If this is difficult for you, try to get creative by modifying ingredients and recipes.

Also, make sure you are considering your dietary guidelines and restrictions.

Below, we’ve shared both a vegetarian and non-vegetarian sample meal prep plan.

Non-Vegetarian Sample Meal Prep Plan

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Egg Muffins Egg Muffins Egg Muffins Overnight Oats Overnight Oats
Tuna/Chicken Salad Tuna/Chicken Salad Wheat Spaghetti w/ Sausage Wheat Spaghetti w/ Sausage Wheat Spaghetti w/ Sausage
Turkey Burger w/ Sweet Potato Fries Turkey Burger w/ Sweet Potato Fries Chicken Parmesan w/ Wheat Spaghetti Chicken Parmesan w/ Roasted Vegetables Chicken Parmesan w/ Roasted Vegetables

Your non-vegetarian meal prep shopping list includes:

  • Dozen eggs
  • Quick oats
  • Spinach
  • Multicolored peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • 2 Cans of corn
  • 1 Cucumber
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Frozen berries
  • Bananas
  • 4 Cans of tuna
  • Chicken sausage
  • 2 Zucchini
  • Onions
  • Chicken breasts or ready-made roasted chicken
  • Turkey burgers
  • 2 Sweet potatoes
  • Wheat pasta
  • Parmesan
  • Black beans

Recipes

Egg Muffins

First, chop up half of a red, green, yellow, orange pepper, a handful of mushrooms, and half of an onion. Heat skillet with olive oil and sauté the chopped up veggies with a few handfuls of spinach (feel free to add bacon, turkey, etc for added protein).

Once cooked through, set aside. Then in a large bowl, whisk together a dozen eggs and season with salt and pepper. Optional: sprinkle in some shredded cheese. Transfer the cooked veggies to the egg mixture. Preheat the oven on 350. Grease a muffin pan really well with olive oil and transfer some of the mixture into each cup. Bake for about 10-15 minutes depending on how runny/dry you like your eggs before letting them cool and transferring them to a large Tupperware bowl.

Overnight Oats

This works well if you have multiple mason jars. Simply add two cups of greek yogurt combined with two cups of oatmeal and mix well, then add frozen berries on top and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Tuna/Chicken Salad

Combine spinach, chopped cucumber, can of corn, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and the tuna (or chicken) into a large bowl and transfer between two plastic containers.

Wheat pasta w/ Sausage

Start off by boiling salted water. As the water is boiling, chop up some onions and green pepper and sauté with chopped sausage. Add the pasta to the water and let cook for about 10 minutes or until al dente. Add pasta sauce to the pasta and mix well. Transfer some of the pasta between three plastic containers and add some of the sausage mixture in each one.

Turkey Burger w/ Sweet Potato Fries

I would suggest purchasing frozen turkey burger patties since they’re more convenient. My favorite brand is Jennie-O’s Turkey Burgers. Simply cook the turkey burgers as directed and add your favorite burger toppings. For the sweet potato fries, simply clean the sweet potato really well and cut into fry-size pieces.

Coat with olive oil, a pinch of salt, cinnamon, and chili powder. Bake on 350 for about 20-30 minutes or until browned to your desired likeness.

Chicken Parmesan w/ Wheat Spaghetti

Start off by preheating the oven on 350. In a plastic bag or plastic wrap, pound the chicken breast filets so they’re all the same width. Season them with salt, pepper, garlic, and basil. On the side, put bread crumbs (Italian seasoned would work best) in a bowl and a couple of beaten eggs in another bowl.

Transfer the chicken breasts to the egg mixture then the bread crumb mixture and make sure they are coated well. Then sauté the chicken breasts with olive oil on high for a few minutes on each side or until browned. Afterwards, place them in an oven-safe pan greased with olive oil and pasta sauce at the bottom. Roll the chicken breasts around in the sauce as well. Sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top. Bake for about 5-7 minutes or until cooked through.

Vegetarian Sample Meal Prep Plan

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Egg-Veggie Scramble Egg-Veggie Scramble Overnight Oats Overnight Oats Overnight Oats
Apple and Walnut Salad Apple and Walnut Salad Rice and bean Veggie Bowl Rice and bean Veggie Bowl Rice and bean Veggie Bowl
Black bean burger w/ Sweet Potato Fries Black bean burger w/ Sweet Potato Fries Sweet Potato Scramble Sweet Potato Scramble Sweet Potato Scramble

Your vegetarian meal prep shopping list includes:

  • Dozen eggs
  • Quick oats
  • Spinach
  • Multicolored peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • 2 Cans of corn
  • 1 Cucumber
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Frozen berries
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Walnuts
  • 2 Zucchini
  • Onions
  • 3 Sweet potatoes
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • White potato

Receipts

Egg Casserole

Chop up onion, peppers, mushrooms, potato, and zucchini. Heat a pat with olive oil and sauté the veggies until the potatoes are almost cooked through. Crack 6 eggs into the skillet and let cook sunnyside up with the veggies. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and let cool. Transfer to a plastic container.

Overnight Oats

This works well if you have multiple mason jars. Simply add two cups of greek yogurt combined with two cups of oatmeal and mix well. Then add frozen berries on top and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Apple and Walnut Salad

In a large bowl, combine spinach and other greens of your choice, sliced apples, walnuts, cucumber, and tomatoes. Then transfer to two plastic containers.

Rice and bean veggie bowls

Use the chipotle bowls as your muse. Then combine brown rice, beans of your choice, avocado, corn, lettuce, tomato, and peppers to create your own veggie bowl. Add sour cream and cheese as you like. Transfer to a plastic container.

Black bean burger w/ sweet potato fries

For the burgers, take a can of black beans and rinse off in a colander. Then let the burgers dry. Season beans with garlic powder, pepper, and chili powder. Add one egg and a few tablespoons of flour to bring everything together. Mix well and begin forming patties. Heat olive oil in a skillet and cook the patties on each side for about 5 minutes each or until brown.

Once the patties are done feel free to add any of your favorite burger toppings. For the sweet potato fries, simply clean the sweet potato really well and cut into fry-size pieces. Coat with olive oil, a pinch of salt, cinnamon, and chili powder. Bake on 350 for about 20-30 minutes or until browned to your desired likeness. Transfer burgers and fries to plastic containers.

Sweet potato casserole

Simply chop up onion, green pepper, red pepper, yellow pepper, and sweet potatoes. Heat olive oil in a skillet and sauté. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Once the potatoes are almost cooked through, add in a can of corn and beans of your choice. Transfer to a large plastic container.

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