5 Simple Meal Ideas
Meal prepping can be extremely challenging when there isn’t enough time to cook, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for canned beans and ramen noodles. There are many benefits to meal prepping. It can decrease the temptation to order out, cut back on food waste, and help to promote healthier habits and reduce stress because your meal is already made! Setting aside roughly 60 minutes a week to meal prep can set you up for success for the next few days.
1. Prepping Protein: Chicken
If you buy in bulk, an average pack of chicken breast can cost anywhere from $10-$12 for roughly 5 pounds or 80 oz. If 3 meals a day consisted of 4 oz of chicken breast, that’s approximately 7 days’ worth of meals! Chicken can be seasoned with a large variety of seasonings as well, like adobo, garlic powder or any marinade you like. Chicken breast should be cooked at 350 degrees for 25-30 min. Use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
2. Prepping Breakfast: Steel Cut Oats
When it comes to preparing oatmeal, the better choice would be to use steel-cut oats. They undergo the least amount of processing and flattening, and contain more fiber than rolled oats. A regular bag of steel cut can cost anywhere from $3.50-$5 depending on the amount and brand. A standard serving size is ¼ cup (dry or precooked). In order to create a week's worth of oats, take 2 cups of oats and add it to 3.5 cups of boiling water. Bring it back to a boil and then let it simmer until desired consistency. Once cooked, divide into separate containers. Healthy, great toppings can include blueberries, Greek yogurt, almonds, chia seeds, flaxseeds and more! Cooking great tasting oats can take as little as 15 minutes.
3. Prepping Vegetables: Zucchini
The average cost of zucchini is about $1.20 per pound. To prepare a week’s worth, you will need approximately 3 large zucchinis. The best part about zucchini is it can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. It can be roasted, baked, or grilled and can take as little as 10 minutes to prepare.
4. Prepping Grains: Rice
A typical bag of rice is about $4. One serving is ¼ cup dry and one bag contains about 50 servings. To prepare a week’s worth of rice you would need 3 ½ cups of dry rice and 15 minutes to prepare.
5. Prepping Snacks: No Bake Energy Bites
A really simple and tasty snack that will last the whole week are no-bake peanut butter and coconut protein bites! They require peanut butter, shredded coconut, vanilla extract, honey, old fashioned oats, flaxseed meal, and chocolate chips. The standard recipe will make 20 servings, which will be more than enough for a week. The total cost of all the ingredients is about $22 and total prep time is about 7 minutes.
Bottom line: Meal prepping your food can be a great way to save money, time, and stress. It’s a helpful way to practice portion control and build a healthier relationship with food.
Written by: Meaghan Martin, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern
1. The Warm Up