A Year’s Worth of Meal Prep

It’s officially been an entire year since I’ve been bento box meal prepping!

I used to prep every night, hence all photos of the single lunch boxes – this eventually grew to 5 boxes for the week. As I got more serious into meal prepping, macro counting, and IIFYM in 2016, it became more important that my containers were the same size and weight so that I could save time (no need to tare between different sized containers). It took me almost a whole year (end of March 2016) to make the move to complete my set of BentGo boxes because they’re not that cheap, but I eventually completed the set.

It takes me about 3-4 hours on Sunday nights for the actual prep depending on what I’ve decided to eat for the week. The majority of my time is spent weighing out the ingredients and recording them down so I can input all of it into MFP afterwards. I work full time and prep on the weekends to clear up time during the week for other things. In a given week, my process works as follows:

SATURDAY:

Plan what I want to eat for the week, write down each ingredient on paper – this is for groceries as well as giving me the ability to quickly write down the weights for each ingredient. Check fridge/pantry for all ingredients. If required, bake protein squares/any other bakery goods in order to clear up the oven for Sunday and reduce the heat in the kitchen when I do my big prep.

SUNDAY:

  • Morning: Final pantry check, Costco haul, followed by grocery haul
  • 4PM: Start meal prep
  • 5:30PM: Start cooking dinner
  • 6PM: Eat dinner/wait for rest of items to cook
  • 7PM: Finish up meal prep, pack it up, put it all in the fridge, take various photos for the Instagram/blog likes and comments
  • 8PM: Wash copious amounts of dishes and spoons
  • 9-10PM: Input everything meticulously into MFP

EVERYDAY:

  • Place next day’s meal into lunch bag, pack snacks
  • Eat it

If you’re just looking to get started on meal prep, just go for it. It looks daunting, but it’s not! I’m specifically talking to all you people on Facebook who write lovely comments praising my organizational and prepping skills. I am STILL not good at this. My process took over a year to create and work on my process to fit my own schedule. Start with simple meals, just an extra one or two a week, and eventually you can move to all 5 when you get more comfortable with your cooking and prepping skills. Alternatively, jump in and just GO FOR IT. There are lots of resources to pull help from! My personal favourites:

FAQs:

  • The lunch boxes are from BentGo, the jars are 500ml wide mouth mason jars.
  • No, the food doesn’t go bad by the end of the week. I keep everything stored in the fridge during the week.
    • BUT SALAD GETS SOGGY!! Store the wet parts (sauce, toppings, etc.) separately from the dry (the wrap, the greens), and mix them day of before you’re about to eat it
  • I only prep breakfast and lunch – I like making dinner fresh.
  • I started meal prepping vegetarian in 2016 (hence all the beans, tofu, tempeh, etc.).
  • I save time cooking, packing lunch, and inputting into MFP every day.
  • I usually have 2 snacks during a workday. They range from protein balls, homemade protein squares, peanut butter cheerios, and black bean brownies (all recipes on my blog!).

Since I’m going to be on a break from working for the summer (starting grad school in September!), I’ll most likely not be prepping full weeks as I can cook and eat fresh at home, but I’ll definitely still do at least some sort of meal prep (probably big batches of Sofritas, lasagna, things like that) because of several reasons: I enjoy the process, I don’t have to look at MFP every day, and it saves a lot of time. I haven’t posted all the food recipes on my blog yet, but I’m been working on it – it’s hard to do when everything’s a mess and you need to take photos.

I post my weekly meal prep photos (along with fitness-related photos) on my Instagram @winsofit. More details about the food and recipes I use/make up are on this blog!

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Vegetarian Grocery Haul!

Since there’s a snow storm in my area tonight and I didn’t ride my bike to work, it’s obviously the perfect night to do a grocery haul seeing as I’m all out of almost everything. I’m being sarcastic, it was horrible and everything was very heavy and snow was blowing everywhere, but I made it!

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I haven’t done a big haul of groceries in a long time because I usually keep a pretty good stock in my kitchen, however, after meal prep this week I ran out of egg whites, yogurt, cheese, oatmeal, tomatoes, and broccoli. As you can tell from the title, this IS a vegetarian grocery haul – I’ve been eating almost completely vegetarian (ovo-lacto meaning I still eat dairy and eggs) for just about a month now! (The almost is for the very rare once or twice a month times I eat meat!)

Vegetables & Fruit

  • Cucumber (eating with hummus & salads)
  • Bananas (parfaits)
  • 2 containers of strawberries which you can’t see (parfaits)
  • Tomatoes (burrito salad)
  • Avocado (burrito salad)
  • Red pepper (burrito salad)
  • Broccoli

Proteins

  • Yves vegetarian falafel balls
  • Yves vegetarian kale & quinoa bites
  • Tofu
  • Great Northern Beans
  • Pinto Beans (I’m not sure what I’m actually doing with either types of beans yet…)

Dairy

  • 2 cartons of egg whites (I eat this almost everyday)
  • 2 750ml yogurt (I really like yogurt)
  • Silani light feta cheese

Other

  • Vector Protein Granola (parfait)
  • Quick oats (for baking only! I like to eat steel cut oats for oatmeal.)
  • Couscous (burrito salad)

Things that I already have in my fridge/pantry that I did not need to buy:

  • Eggs (I have 2 full cartons AND half a carton of boiled eggs…)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Almond Milk
  • Cauliflower
  • Onion
  • Regular Cheddar cheese\

I’m a creature of habit, all these items are pretty much in my kitchen at all times, and I eat very similar food week to week. You’ll see all of these ingredients in my upcoming meal preps. In addition, my wonderful mother got me the matching Kitchenaid food processor, so you can expect lots of great things from that coming soon!

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Posts still to come: Strawberry pie, vegetarian burgers, and black bean brownies!

Chia Seed Yogurt Parfait

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I’ve been eating these every single day for over a month now, and I absolutely love them. They’re super simple and delicious. The macro balance is pretty good, but these are NOT low calorie! I enjoy eating larger breakfasts and smaller lunches which is why they’re pretty high in total calories, but it works for my diet. That being said, there’s a LOT of protein! At the moment, I really enjoy blueberries and banana, but I’ve also been eating a lot of strawberry-only parfaits.

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Ingredients

  • 200g plain Greek Yogurt (I like Liberte or Skye)
  • 2 tablespoons Chia Seeds
  • 28g frozen mixed berries (1/4 cup)
  • 12g granola (1/8 cup)
  • 7.5g Ground flax seed powder (1 tbsp)
  • 5g Hemp hearts (1/2 tbsp)
  • 40g blueberrries
  • 44g banana
  • 15g cashew butter (1 tbsp)

Optional!

  • 7.5g of unflavoured Allmax Isonatural protein powder
  • .5 tsp Maca Powder

Directions

  1. Set up your container and area.
  2. Add Greek yogurt, chia seeds, protein powder, and maca powder. Mix well.
  3. Add in frozen berries, mix gently.
  4. Pack the mixture down in your jar. On top, add your blueberries and chopped bananas, or whatever fruit you desire.
  5. Cut a small piece of saran wrap, and place it over the top, pressing it into the jar. I do this to keep the granola and toppings from getting soggy until I want to mix them up.
  6. Add in granola, flax seed powder, and hemp hearts.
  7. Screw on the lid, and leave it in your fridge overnight.
  8. When you’re ready to eat it, unscrew the jar and pull the piece of saran wrap out!

Macros: 536 calories: 46 carbs, 23 fat, 41 protein. (Extra details: 13g fiber, 20g sugar!)

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More meal prep

Did a usual week’s long meal prep, but this time had a fellow meal prepper with me! Of course, my meals are the bottom 2 rows, and his are the reaally boring couscous, vegetables, and sausage.

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From the third row, left to right, and once again, it was a vegetarian prep week for me!

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Berry chia-seed yogurt parfaits with granola, hemp hearts, and grounded flax seeds. Right in the middle is just eggs with cheese, and strawberry with chocolate chip BuffBake. Underneath from left to right are vegetarian ‘chicken’ burgers with arugala, tomatoes, swiss cheese, onions, and mushrooms. Next is honey glazed tofu with kale, and sweet potatoes. Finally, we have cold black bean pasta with avocado, tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms.

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Sous-chef Mackenzie was chilling in the kitchen, making sure we didn’t screw up.

A Weeks Worth of Meal Prep

For whatever reason, February 6th was a crazy productive day for meal preparation and cleaning. In between all of that, I managed to also work on some freelance projects, and made really really good headway on them. If only all Saturdays were like this!

I started off the morning with PEScience waffles. Amanda Bucci’s recipe is super, super easy. Now that I’ve made 3 batches, I think I’m going to cut the baking powder by half just because it always makes a little bit too much for 1 perfect waffle and squishes out the side of the iron.

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Recipe
1 scoop PEScience protein powder (mine is Peanut Butter Chocolate cup)
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
water

Mix protein powder and baking powder together. Add egg and mix. Add small amounts of water until it’s batter consistency. Pour it into an iron, and enjoy! 🙂 I topped it off with strawberries and some snickerdoodle BuffBake, yummmm.

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After eating, I headed out to Walmart to grab some things to organize my kitchen! As you can see, the two tubs of protein powder and boxes of cookies and things were taking up a lot of space on my counter and I really wanted to clean it up especially with the added waffle iron.

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I picked up another set of Anchor stainless steel containers to match the original set I got, as well as a small rack. I really like the locking mechanism of the Anchor containers, and the fact that they (seem) to be air tight. After transferring protein over and reorganizing a bunch of things, my counter looked a lot, a lot better.

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I didn’t take photos, but I also actually reorganized my entire pantry. When I first set up everything, I tried to organize it based on which shelves were most accessible. Well, turns out what I thought would be super accessible weren’t, and so I ended up moving a lot of items around, cleaning out my fridge completely, and so now the kitchen is much more convenient to move around and work in.

Which of course, was really important because I wanted to tackle a week’s worth of meal prep tonight. I had a few ideas of what I wanted to make and started organizing my thoughts and meals. I broke them down further into what I would need exactly (for example, 3 boiled eggs, ~200g of cooked chicken, etc.), and then I got to it. While prepping for the week, I also was cooking dinner which included roasted chicken, sweet potato, and kale (super bro-food kind of night!).

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Surprisingly, it didn’t actually take that long. During the week I’ll still have to pack my ryvita crackers every night as I didn’t want them to get soggy over the course of a week with the peanut butter and jam. However, I’m super, super pleased with how everything turned out. Whenever I see meal prep nights, people eat the same thing every day for a week, which I absolutely hate doing, and so here is my daily-changing meal preparation for a whole week!

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From top left to right, we have the usual egg white, bagel, and cheese box. Spaghetti with meatballs and carrots/peas (I swear they’re there, I just added a whole bunch of mushrooms on top). Next to that is leftover sweet potato, chicken, and more carrots/peas. Two mornings I’ll have chia seed yogurt parfaits (YUM!), as well as a morning of MyOatmeal oatmeal (bottom left), and a breakfast box with no apples 😦 (bottom right). Finally in the middle there are two beautiful chicken, red beets, avocado, tomato, and egg salads.

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Everything has been carefully measured, weighed out, and macro’d into MyFitnessPal so this upcoming week should be a breeze to calculate macros as I only have to plan for dinner!

Would I do it again? Definitely! It was a lot easy to figure it out once I had it planned out, and cooking all of the food all at once wasn’t bad either. The worse part was doing all of the dishes at the end.

Until next time!
-Winona