I’m back with a fifth year of healthy meals! Years one, two, three, and four can be found at those links. Year 5 actually covers three years (2016-2019), since I’ve slowed down a big with blogging, so this is a picture heavy post.
With this post I want to give general meal ideas and provide preparation ideas too, so this post will be separated into two parts. Part 1 is meal ideas: breakfast, lunch/dinner, salads and bowls, snacks, low/no carb options, and eating out. Part 2 is more specific meal preparation methods: batch cooking, on the go, and work-week meals. You’ll find links throughout for specific recipes.
Overall how I eat remains the same: mindful/intuitive eating, follow the 80/20 rule (80% healthy, 20% whatever I want), and high protein/high produce/low-ish carb. I have two keys for success. One is doing all of my meal prep on Sundays so I prep once and am set up for success all week long. The second is having these posts to look back on to keep my meal prep ideas fresh and to keep me out of a food rut.
Part 1 – Meal Ideas:
If you’ve read my posts before you know I don’t really enjoy breakfast food. I stick to eggs (egg cups, hard boiled, egg salad, sunny side up), fruit, bacon, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
I try to keep lunches and dinners varied, but do have some categories that I riff on frequently. Those are sandwiches, egg roll in a bowl, chili, stir fry, italian (spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parm, ravioli), quesadillas, snack plates, burgers (meat and veggie), soup & sandwich, pizza, tacos, and fish.
SALADS AND BOWLS
For me, salads and bowls usually follow a theme/cuisine – asian, indian, BBQ, mexican, greek. You really can’t go wrong with throwing whatever sounds good – protein, veggies, grains, cheese, croutons – in a bowl together!
Snacks for me are usually whatever sounds good but my go-tos are almost always fruit, cheese, and/or peanut butter. I also love yogurt, rice cakes, cheez its, pretzels, protein bars, and nuts.
This is one area I’ve gotten more in to over the last few years. I’m not expert on this, and am not following a certain diet, my goal is just to eat less heavy carbs and fill up instead on protein/produce. Here are some of the ideas I’ve come up with: lettuce wraps, turkey roll ups, no-bun burgers, lemon chicken, meatloaf muffins, halloumi, and pulled pork/pulled chicken.
Like the rest of what I eat, I tend to repeat something if I like it so we go to the same restaurants and I typically get the same kind of things – hearty salads, grain bowls, no-bun burgers, tacos, chicken wings, etc.
Part 2 – Meal Preparation Methods:
I do all of my cooking on Sundays, as I mentioned. I don’t mind eating the same meals during the week. As this post (and the previous four healthy meals posts) demonstrate, I have a lot of recipes in my repertoire so I do vary what I eat from week to week. Batch cooking is much more efficient for me time-wise; I really don’t have the time during the week to cook a meal from scratch. I spend anywhere from 1-5 hours in the kitchen on Sundays, depending on the menu for the week. For me that’s time well spent up front!
ON THE GO
Whether it’s in the car, on a plane, in class, in a hotel, or just out of the house all day, I really pride myself on meal prepping when I know I’m on the go. There are so many portable options and I think this is a good collection of my favorites: tuna packs, nuts, veggies, veggies/fruit, cheese, hardboiled eggs, veggie burgers, rice cakes, jerky, crackers, and peanut butter.
As I mentioned one thing that keeps me on track (food-wise, health-wise, and budget-wise) is bringing all of my weekdays meals with me to work (breakfast, lunch, snacks, and sometimes dinner). This includes a mix of everything I posted above, but cooked, prepped, and packaged on Sundays so throughout the week I just grab the containers and pack my bag for work. Easy peasy!