Updated: Jan 8, 2019
THIS ONE GOES OUT TO ALL THE VEGGIES OUT THERE.
I get a lot of hesitation from clients about meal prep. How long it takes. How much it costs. How complicated it is. How it’s impossible to get enough protein. But if I can do it, (I’m no wonder-woman!) you can do it. So I thought I’d take a couple photos of my most recent meal prep, just to break it down a little.
Now, I used to be one of those people who claimed never, ever, to eat anything packaged. And if you, like the former me, stick to this claim, you’re probably bullshitting. You never eat ANYTHING that comes from a package? Come on. Let’s be real here. Just to clarify though, while I admit to eating things that have been packaged, I go for things that are minimally processed. In this case, I have frozen broccoli, brown rice, a couple varieties of prepared Indian meals, and vegan chicken tenders. Now wait a minute–isn’t fake meat heavily processed? Well, yes. That’s really the whole answer. But as a vegetarian, it is the ONE item I allow myself, out of necessity for protein dense food, that was not hand-plucked by bare-bottomed cherubs in the garden of Eden. So I don’t feel bad about it, and neither should you if it’s your only option.
If you can cut out 90% of the processed garbage in your diet and allow yourself one relatively processed food, you’d be doing better than you probably are right at this moment. And if you do eat meat, it’s easy enough to throw a slab of lean meat in instead. As far as the other three items here, the rice and broccoli are simply frozen–no added ingredients, no processing, simply frozen. The brown rice is easily the most convenient grocery item I’ve ever encountered. Seriously–when does brown rice ever turn out right when you make it at home? It takes forever, I usually burn down the whole house, and then I still don’t have a tasty dinner staple. This brown rice only takes 3 minutes in a microwaveable bag, and is perfectly fluffy and moist. And the Indian cuisine adds a nice, different flavor to an otherwise kind of bland meal. It has a short list of easily recognizable, common home kitchen ingredients.
NOW THE PART YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR: THE MEAL PREP BREAKDOWN
I used the following items from the Trader Joe’s frozen section: broccoli (2 bags), chickenless crispy tenders (5 bags), and frozen brown rice (2 boxes). I got the Punjab eggplant and Kashmir spinach pouches by Tasty Bite (4 each), available at Whole Foods and most large grocery stores. But you can use anything that adds flavor in lieu of these, a favorite sauce is also a great choice.
Place 3 chickenless crispy tenders in each tupperware.
Scoop 1/2 cup of rice into each tupperware.
Scoop 1 cup of broccoli into each tupperware.
Pour half of a pouch into each tupperware.
This entire process took me 15 minutes, and cost about 57 dollars. When you break it down, each meal cost about $3.56, and that is almost DEFINITELY less than what you are spending on food. You can also easily put in the macros, because now you know what they are. For the Eggplant option, you get 20g protein, 54g carbs, and 17g fat. The Spinach option has 22.5g protein, 48.5g carbs, and 13g fat. You can always adjust the portions if you need different numbers for your meals, but you get the picture.
The real reason most people don’t prep is not because it’s time consuming, or that it’s costly, but that they haven’t set up a system for doing it regularly. This itself only takes a couple minutes too. It’s as easy as making a list, buying the stuff, and taking an hour out of your schedule to cook it all, although it probably won’t even take that long. Now that you can see just how fast, cost-effective and easy it is, put it on the calendar, and commit!