It’s the first week of August which means back-to-school season is officially in session! I know it can be a difficult transition, so I’ve created a simple meal prep plan to help you gain some momentum.
My schedule is often jam-packed, but pre-planning my meals has been the easiest way to eat healthy when I’m on the go. So whether you’re heading back to school or managing a hectic work week, this meal prep for beginners is a delicious, timesaving way for you to keep your health on track.
But first things first– create a shopping list!
While most people like to design their meal prep plans based on their favorite recipes, I actually compose my shopping list based off of the things that I love to eat such as romaine lettuce, sweet peppers and cucumbers. I also recommend investing in a variety of plastic containers so that you have an easy, efficient way to store your meals throughout the week.
Recently I’ve fallen in love with “Lemonade”, which is a cafeteria-style restaurant on the west coast. I was really inspired by their food options and decided to create my own version of a few of their selections. So let’s just jump right into it!
INDIAN CAULIFLOWER SALAD | savory & sweet:
1 head of cauliflower
1 tbsp. of sweet onions
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 dash of cloves
2 tbsp. of raisins
Take the head of cauliflower and chop it into bite-sized pieces. Next, mince 1 tbsp. of sweet onions.
Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil on a skillet. Once the pan is heated, cook the tbsp. of sweet onions until they turn a golden-brown then mix in the chopped cauliflower.
As the cauliflower mixture cooks, add 2 tbsp. of salt, 1 tsp. of turmeric, 1 tsp. of cinnamon, a dash of cloves and 2 tbsp. of raisins. (Remember, all of the ingredients are optional and you can always improvise based on your preference!)
After you add the seasoning to the cauliflower mixture, add a little bit of water so that the vegetables can steam. To avoid over-cooking, turn off the heat once the cauliflower has absorbed the seasoning and the raisins appear plump.
Let the mixture cool for a few minutes, then store it in a container, refrigerate and enjoy!
SESAME GREEN BEANS | crunchy salad: Ingredients:
1 bag of green beans
2 tbsp. of sesame oil
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
Steam your green beans in a pot about half-way through the recommended cook time so that they still retain their crunch.
Once the green beans are steamed, cool them down in cold water (cooling the vegetables in ice-cold water helps them maintain their vibrant color!) and drain them into a mixing bowl.
Season your vegetables with 2tbsp. of sesame oil, 1 tbsp. of sesame seeds and 1 tbsp. of rice vinegar. Thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
Place the mixture into a storage container and chill them in the refrigerator for later use!
SESAME POTATO | croutons: Ingredients:
2 ½ cups of chopped sweet potatoes
2 tbsp. of olive oil
Substitute Montreal Steak Seasoning* with:
1 tbsp. of sea salt
1 tsp. of garlic powder
1 tsp. of paprika
Chop 2 ½ cups of sweet potatoes and place them into a mixing bowl.
Drizzle 2 tbsp. of olive oil onto the sweet potatoes and season them with 1 tsp. of sea salt, 1 tsp. of garlic powder and 1 tsp. of paprika (You can always personalize your mixture with your own seasoning! Don’t be afraid to improvise!).
Line a baking tray with one sheet of baking paper and spread out the sweet potatoes on top.
Bake the sweet potatoes until they’re nice and crisp and allow them to cool down before you store them into your containers.
Once they’ve cooled a little below room temperature, place them into your refrigerator to chill.
The shelf life of these recipes are about 3-4 days, but you can always cook up a new batch throughout your week in case you run out!
WEEKLY MEALS | monday – friday:
Pita Pockets | Suggested ingredients: Pita pocket, hummus, fresh carrots, cucumbers, quinoa, lettuce, tomatoes and sweet peppers
Tuesday & Thursday
Mixing Bowls | Suggested ingredients: Base: lettuce, wheat pasta and quinoa. Toppings: Sesame Green Beans*, shredded carrots, sweet peppers and veggie burger patties (a great addition if you want to add protein to your bowl).
Wednesday & Friday
Salads | Suggested ingredients: Lettuce, sweet peppers, tomatoes, shredded carrots, Annie’s Goddess dressing, Sweet Potato Croutons* and vegetarian bacon (for a slightly savory taste).
Quick Tip: Store your salad toppings and dressing on the side to keep your meal fresh and crisp!
The best part about these recipes is that they’re easy, healthy but most of all tasty! There’s a lot of room to play with different ingredients and really personalize each dish to your preference so that you can use these recipes week-to-week without getting bored of the flavors, so be creative and have fun!