Aaah the wonderful world of meal prep. In my mind, the best meal prep boxes are made using simple recipes, are freezable, re heatable and last a full week. This Basic Meal Prep – Chicken Breast, Broccoli and Rice fits the bill perfectly.
My meal prep always includes:
- starch such as brown rice, pasta, sweet potatoes, quinoa.
- vegetables such as broccoli, butternut squash, asparagus, tomatoes, carrots, peppers or aubergines that can be either roasted or raw.
- protein such as chicken, fish, prawns, tofu, seitan, chickpeas, beans.
Meal prepping can look so intimidating and overwhelming when you’re getting started BUT you don’t have to prep all your meals for the week.
Start off simple and you will be amazed at how much impact even a little bit of meal prep can have!
Here are some other tips that help with meal prep:
Pinterest is your friend – If you know you need to meal plan but you don’t know what to make, I suggest spending some time on Pinterest, there are some great ideas on there.
- Stock your freezer – Some weeks despite our best efforts, we don’t have time to meal prep but for those days I have a freezer stocked with 5 Make Ahead Freezer Smoothie Packs for Busy Mornings and 14 Easy Chicken Marinades for Meal Prep Day.
- Use all the gadgets – I am working on a free meal plan template and will make that available here soon.Use your blender, slow cooker and pressure cooker. Gadgets always help because it makes everything hands off and you can use the ti,e to get on with something else.
- Bin the junk – Try and get rid of any junk food from the house beforehand. If like me, you are likely to fall off the wellness wagon if you are surrounded by processed junk food, then this is a really good idea. mindful of junk food will help.
- Schedule it- Block off time to meal prep so you have no excuses.
- Use SIMPLE dependable recipes – Using recipes you know are easy and tasty is a great way to start. I’m thinking something as easy as the above (chicken breast with lemon juice, garlic, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper, followed by boiled rice and sautéed vegetables).
Meal Prep helps me stay on track
Meal prep really helps me stay on track with healthier foods/snacks and portions and saves time through the week when I am attempting to work. I usually prep my meals for the week ahead on a Sunday.
Some people meal prep their entire days – breakfast, lunch and dinner but I meal prep for just my lunch most of the time. By the way, i don’t do this every single week. I do it when I am able to.
If there is one thing I want to really encourage, it is this: Get good containers. Investing in washable, non BPA plastic food containers is a good idea as is investing in a cooler or insulated meal bag.
Here are the glass ones that I love. They come with small containers for dressings, a reusable knife, fork and spoon and the lid clips on. A box with dividers is perfect because you want to be able to divide each part of your meal. You don’t want foods cross contaminating each other and you don’t want to mix random food groups together. These black ones are not as good in my opinion but they are ok-ish. I guess once you use the glass ones, these cannot compare.
BTW the company that sells the glass ones, give £10 to Fairshare (a charity that supports the homeless and tackles food waste) for every review left.
How to decide what to put on your weekly meal plan
- Take stock- The first thing I do is check my fridge and take stock of what is left over. I plan a few meals early on in the week around those items. You can also check out the freezer in case you have any frozen protein or meals that need to be used up.
- Write out theme days- Like for example Meatless Monday.
- Check my inspiration boards- I pin a lot of ideas around Meal Prep on my Pinterest board. Check it out here.
Make a shopping list and get the shopping in – First, I go through my meal plan and write in ingredients that we need beside the menu item. Then I write up a shopping list.
Meal Prep Strategies
Buffet style meal prep –This is probable the meal prep strategy that most people use. This is great for wraps, tacos, salads and that sort of thing. You can also prep a big portion of protein, veg and starch and use that as a base for several meals through the week.
- chop or spiralise your veggies
- roast vegetables or potatoes in some seasoning
- make up some dressings, sauces
- batch cook grains, pasta, quinoa
Batch cooking and portioning out – cook up a big batch of something and enjoy it through the week.
- Soups and Stews
- Cook a whole chicken and divide it between boxes
Assemble ingredients but don’t cook- this is good to do if you don’t have large chunks of time to prep meals in. You can store in the freezer or the fridge and make your meals as you go through your week. Use your slow cooker, instant pot and blender to make life easier.
Pre-cooked meals- Pre cook things like overnight oats, egg muffins, one pan meals and soups and reheat as and when needed.
So that’s all for now….
The benefits of meal prep are many including that you will save yourself a lot of stress time and money throughout the week.
Here are the some other benefits of meal prep:
- Everything is ready for the week.
- Convenient.Perfect to take to work or school and perfect for kids lunch boxes
- You are in control of what you are eating all week.
- You can make them according to your individual needs. Be that for muscle gain or weight loss.
- It is a good activity to do with the kids. My kids love getting stuck in and chopping up vegetables.
Feel free to leave a comment with any questions you might have. This is an example of easy meal prep that you can try just to get you started.
Basic Meal Prep - Chicken Breast, Broccoli and Rice
Aaah the wonderful world of meal prep. In my mind, the best meal prep boxes are made using simple recipes, are freezable, re heatable and last a full week. This Basic Meal Prep - Chicken Breast, Broccoli and Rice fits the bill perfectly.
- 1 tsp Ghee
- 1 tsp Oil
- 1/2 Onion diced
- 360 grams Brown Rice pre-soaked for an hour
- 2 flat tsp Salt
- 900 ml Chicken or Veg Stock
- 100 ml Water
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 KG Chicken Breast Cleaned
- 2 Lemons Juice of
- 3 Garlic Cloves crushed
- 2 tbsp Mixed Herbs
- 3 heads Broccoli
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 Lemon juice of
- 1 Lime juice of
- 1 tsp Oregano dried
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 clove Garlic crushed
- 1 1/2 tbsp Honey
- 1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne
- Salt and Pepper
Heat the ghee and oil and add the onions. Cook until golden (about 4 - 5 minutes). Pour in the stock and water, bring to a boiling simmer. Add the rice and salt. Bring to the boil again and simmer for 20 mins covered. Check to see if the water has evaporated and the rice is cooked. If not, add a little boiling water if need be and cook until done.
Combine all the ingredients for the chicken in a deep bowl and marinade for 5 - 20 minutes. Heat a non stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and marinade. Cook for 10 - 15 minutes, until cooked through. Flip halfway.
Combine all the ingredients for the dressing and set aside
Trim off the florets of broccoli. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Take out into a colander and run under cold water immediately.
Divide the rice, chicken and veg between 7 tubs and the dressing between 7 small pots with a lid.
Refrigerate for up to a week. Freeze and reheat if your tub allows it.
Pour over the dressing after reheating and enjoy!