Hello friends and readers!
A big part of my taking on this adventure of writing full time was to get to a healthier place both physically and mentally. This past year, I treated my body and mind pretty poorly. But that's the beast that is anxiety and depression. The littlest action can feel like climbing Everest when your mind is on constant attack.
Things are slowly getting better, even though I know it will always be a struggle. I've begun taking little steps towards happiness and healthiness.
Which is why, I hate to break it to you, but the research is right (not all of it). You really do feel better when you treat your body better. How you feed it, how you exercise it, how you pamper it. Jimmy and I have started working out more (HA! Anything is more, because we were doing nothing), and I cook at home almost every day now.
The idea is: start small. That's what works best for me. I don't need to walk out my front door and run for 68 minutes. Or go to hot yoga and lead the class. I've started with walking and running (I hate running). But when I don't put a heap-load of pressure on myself, I enjoy it more. I run a minute, walk a minute. And the mornings I do this, it is so much easier to break into my writing. I don't sit here searching the web for thirty minutes, or stare out the window at our weird neighbors across the street (The man talks on his cellphone in the street almost everyday. Either he's in the mob or he's got a sidepiece).
My next problem was eating. I love to cook, but it was hard to take a huge chunk out of my writing day to go cook lunch. I would either: A.) Not eat lunch at all and then gorge myself at dinner, or B.) Take over an hour to cook lunch, then watch an episode of a show while eating, and before you know it I'm on Season 3 and my eyes are bleeding.
You get the picture.
So I did some research on meal prepping. There are some intensely talented meal-preppers out there! If you're ever bored, search "mealprep" on Instagram. The colors and organization is addicting. And somewhat soothing. I decided to meal prep breakfast, lunch, and snacks. By the time dinner comes around I am through with my day, and I can have a glass of wine and cook dinner for Jimmy and I.
Now, I understand many are away from the house during the weekdays, and making dinner is the last thing you want to think about after a shit day at work. For you, it might be easier to meal prep lunch and dinner, or if you're a badass, all three meals. Do what makes you comfortable. You could start small, preparing one meal for the week and go from there.
So what were the steps I took towards meal prepping without losing my mind? Lets find out!
1.) Research, research, research. Like I said, I looked at a ton of different Instagram users and websites to figure out what I wanted to do and how. These sites were my favorites:
-And of course, the always fantastic Pinterest!
2.) Buy some containers. I'm weird, I like everything to match. And I wanted containers that had different compartments. So I bought these! They are dishwasher and microwave safe, and they are a top seller on Amazon. These containers are also (they're different because they don't have separate compartments).
If you have Prime, they will come in two days with free shipping! I like 'em already! If you have a crap-ton of Tupperware, you can obviously skip this step.
3.) Make a plan! While you're waiting for those fantastic containers to arrive in the mail, make out a list of what you're going to eat each day. Mine was simple and scribbled out. I get somewhat bored eating the same thing all of the time, so I made two different lunch options. Chicken with roasted vegetables and veggie stir fry (All recipes will be at the end of the post!)
If you can't see the photo well enough, here was my plan.
Breakfast-oatmeal muffins, fruit, and coffee (Mon-Fri)
AM Snack-Fruit smoothie (Mon-Fri)
***I bought a frozen fruit mix (no sugar added), put a cup of that fruit in a ziplock bag with a cup of spinach and put the bags in the freezer. I use my NutriBullet to blend the smoothie with a little bit of water. You can make any kind of smoothie you like! I don't like dairy smoothies, but if you do, substitute the water with almond milk or greek yogurt.***
Lunch-Baked chicken with roasted vegetables (Mo, Wed, Fri), Veggie stir-fry (Tues, Thurs)
Afternoon Snack- Celery and Peanut Butter (Mo, Wed, Fri), Rice Cake and Peanut Butter (Tues, Thurs)
4.) Get you some groceries! Now that you have a chart of what you're going to make, go to the store (or Farmer's Market, or your backyard garden, or wherever!). I found that I spent less money this week on groceries when I had this set plan. I knew exactly what I needed, and I wasn't throwing random things in my cart (okay, I had a couple random things).
5.) Put on that frilly apron and get to cooking! Your containers are here, you have a plan. Crank up some music and cook away! All-in-all, it only took about two hours to cook everything.
-I started with the muffins. I mixed up the batter, and while those were cooking, I sautéed the vegetables and chicken and got them on the pan (I'm all about one-pan meals). Those went in the oven when the muffins were done.
-While the chicken and vegetables were cooking, I got all my stir-fry veggies in the pan on the stove. I used mushrooms, sugar snap peas, broccoli, and bean sprouts, but you can use any combo of veggies you like.
-While the veggies were cooking on the stove, I sliced up strawberries and oranges for my breakfast containers. Once the muffins cooled, I placed two muffins in a container with the fruit and BOOM, breakfast for a week complete!
-The chicken and veggies were done, so I let them cool outside of the oven. I cooked (microwave rice), and divided that up between my containers for the stir-fry. I had some rice left over, so I put it in some of the containers with the chicken and vegetables.
-I divided up all of the finished lunch food into containers, and set them aside to cool some more.
-I got ziplock baggies and filled five of them with the frozen fruit and spinach. I filled three baggies with celery, and two others with rice cakes.
-Everything went into the fridge, freezer, or pantry.
Done! It was pretty enjoyable, and did not take me long at all! I already feel less stressed about what I'm going to eat for meals this week and when I'm going to prepare them. My plan is to continue this week after week, so I'll be back with more recipes and ideas.
Does anyone else meal prep? Any good tips? Let me know!
Until next time,
2 1/4 cups oatmeal
1/4 cup nuts
1/4 cup raisins (I omitted the raisins because I think they are the devil)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup honey
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1.) Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2.) Place 12 muffin/cupcake liners into the muffin pan
3.) In a big bowl, mix oatmeal, nuts, raisins (ew), baking powder, and salt
4.) Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until mixed together
5.) Fill each liner 3/4 full
6.) Bake for 13-15mins or until golden brown
Balsamic Roasted Brussel Spouts (I added carrots to this because I had some!) from the wonderful site Eat Yourself Skinny
2lb brussels sprouts, halved
1 red onion, sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds (I didn't use this because I didn't have any, it was still good!)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil
2.) In a large bowl, toss together brussels sprouts, red onion, olive oil, salt, pepper, and mustard seeds. Transfer to baking sheet and spread out evenly.
3.) Roast veggies for 25-30 minutes, stirring once in between, until sprouts are tender and slightly browned.
4.) In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, honey, and Dijon and drizzle over roasted veggies.
Stir Fry Sauce
1 cup broth (I've used beef or chicken, low sodium)
2 Tbsp soy sauce or alternative like Liquid Aminos (GF, and I've never used soy sauce again since discovering this!)
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic
1.) Mix it all together and pour in pan with cooking veggies. Let simmer.
**You can add a little corn starch if you'd like a thicker sauce!