Fashion week is officially upon us, which means one thing: This week is going to be insane! Between the parties, shows and dinners with friends who’ve come in town, there will hardly be time to squeeze in a workout, let alone cook healthy meals. That’s why, on weeks like this, I do some meal prep on Sunday.
Not only does prepping ingredients on Sunday save time during the week, but it ensures that you’ll be eating healthy consistently during the week. And don’t worry – prepping for meals is not as complicated as you might think. You don’t need a ton of ingredients and you definitely don’t need to spend an entire Sunday in the kitchen chopping veggies. I promise!
There are a few ingredients that work incredibly well for prepping. These are the ingredients that often serve as bases for several dishes or can be cooked, chopped and boiled in large quantities. Here are some of my go-to Sunday prep items.
Whether you’re a Quinoa person like me, or you prefer brown rice, wheat berry, bulgur or farro, prepping your grains before the start of a busy week is a major timesaver. Make sure you don’t start cooking your grains too late in the evening, as they’ll need time to cool before you pack them away.
Shelf life: 6-7 days refrigerated
Prepping protein is one of the smartest thing I do on Sundays because I so rarely have the time (or urge) to turn my oven or stovetop on during a hectic weekday. There are several proteins that are optimal for prepping in advance.
· Whole, roasted chicken. For beginner cooks this is often intimidating, but it’s actually one of the easiest things to prepare and will provide so many meals and snacks throughout your week. The short time it takes to prep and cook is totally worth it. Bake the chicken with simple seasonings, sliced lemons and herbs – a lot of stores even have pre-packaged fresh herb mixtures for poultry – and drizzle with olive oil so it doesn’t dry out while it’s roasting. Make sure to purchase a chicken that is free-range and antibiotic and hormone-free.
· Rotisserie chicken. Not everyone likes cooking – I get it. I get it. Rotisserie chicken, while not as favorable as cooking your own – is a great option if you’re in a hurry or don’t love turning on your oven!
· Eggs. Hard-boiling eggs is one of the easiest things to do. Buy fresh, cage-free eggs and place them in pan. Cover the eggs with water, about an inch above the eggs. Cook on medium heat until the water begins to boil. Once the water boils, remove from heat and let them sit for 10-12 minutes. Finally, blanch the eggs in ice cold water to stop the cooking process.
Shelf life: chicken, 3-4 days; hardboiled eggs, 7 days
Where to begin? There are so many delicious veggies that are super-easy to prep. If you’re feeling ambitious grill Brussel sprouts, squash, zucchini, asparagus and eggplant ahead of time and have them on hand to add to salads or eat as a snack. They are delicious served hot or cold – so don’t worry about re-heating them later in the week, they’ll be great either way. For a fresh and easy veggie option simply wash and chop carrots, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, sugar snap peas or green beans.
*HB Tip: If you make fruit and veggie juices or smoothies for breakfast or lunch, pre-chop your ingredients and portion them in Ziploc bags, place in the freezer and have them on hand each morning.
Shelf life: 2-4 days
Whenever I crave something sweet or feel like indulging in dessert, I turn to fruit. Stock up on berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and raspberries for the week and wash them on Sunday.
Shelf-Life: 2-4 days
Storage & Pre-Packing Lunches
Mason Jars Create a lunch in a jar by layering salad ingredients in a glass mason jar, quinoa, veggies and arugula with a simple dressing is perfect for this. Mason jars are also great for dessert – simply layer berries and Greek yogurt.
Tupperware It might not be as cute as a Mason Jar, but it’s efficient and there are so many variations out there now that are both eco-friendly and functional – many have multiple compartments and some are stackable so you aren’t laden with 4 different containers getting jumbled in your tote bag. Here are a few I love.
Let me know – do you prep your meals for the week? What are your favorites? Do you have any tips and tricks of your own?