Confession: We don’t eat 100% clean 100% of the time.
Confession: We ate out WAAAAAY more than I would have liked during weeks 10-15 of pregnancy when I wasn’t feeling my best. I didn’t feel like cooking and the thought of touching raw meat made me gag. Sometimes Jonathan would handle the protein & I’d make everything else, but just keeping it totally real, we ate out a good bit. Not good for your waistline or wallet! When we looked at our budget to start planning for 2015, we realized we went way overboard on that area & knew we needed to tighten up.
So guess what that means? Back to meal prepping!!!
We have found that when we fuel our bodies properly, we never feel hungry and we have tons of energy. It definitely takes work, but it is SO worth it. I always feel so accomplished after meal prepping & Jonathan gets excited that he’s stocked up for the week.. We have found ways to clean up some of our favorite meals, and there are SO many resources online now that there really is no excuse.
I know life is BUSY. No wonder we live in a fast food generation- it’s way more convenient, right? But that’s where meal prepping comes in. Making time for meal prep has made such a huge difference in our clean eating lifestyle. I first learned about the concept of meal prepping in The Eat Clean Diet, and once I got the hang of it I made it a regular thing. (It really is super simple….in case you haven’t noticed I don’t like to do anything too complicated. Jase can already work the remotes for the DVD player better than I can.)
We make some time 1-2 days a week to prepare some foods ahead of time, and that makes it so much easier during the week. We have clean meals ready to grab and go so we never have to worry about what we’re going to eat next. We just have to decide what we are in the mood for at that time, and we can take our pick from some of the lean protein, complex carbs, veggies, and healthy fats we have ready to go. We also bring our own food lots of times (when we travel for example), and that saves money and ensures we have healthy options. We always make better choices when we’re prepared, and I rarely go anywhere without having a snack bag for us.
I know it can feel overwhelming and lots of people don’t know where to start, so I’m going to share a little about what we do. Even if you just pick a few things off the list, it will make a big difference.
I start by taking about 30 min one day a week to meal plan. Sometimes I do it much quicker, but I like to mix it up and try simple new recipes so we don’t get bored. I try to at least try 1-2 new recipes each week, and if everyone likes it we add it in the rotation. Eating clean does NOT have to (and shouldn’t) be boring!! This is also when I write out my grocery list so we don’t overspend. Stick to the list, Danielle!
Here are a few resources I love if you’re looking for new ideas or want to jazz it up a little:
AdvoCare Tumblr (seriously- look at those pictures. Does anything about that scream “diet” or “cardboard”? DELISH!)
And here it is, friends. My super simple tips for meal prepping. I was not kidding when I said we keep it simple. We typically eat on this for 3-4 days and then do it again.
- Boil 2 dozen eggs. (Egg whites are a GREAT high protein, easy snack. We each eat at least 1 yoke and you can throw the rest in the compost or give them to the dog. It’s great for their coat.)
- Wash & slice raw veggies.
- Wash veggies.
- Steam/roast veggies.
- Make brown rice & qunioa. Put into 1/2 c serving sizes.
- Bake sweet potatoes or make them into fries/chips so they are ready to be baked. (They are better fresh so we don’t typically make them ahead of time.)
- Put raw almonds/walnuts into plastic baggies with appropriate serving sizes.
- Grill/bake lean protein. (Chicken, fish, ground turkey, etc.)
- Wash fruits.
- Separate fruits & veggies into our favorite juicing recipes so they’re ready to throw in the juicer.
- Put 1/2 c oats (Red Mill Quick Cooking Oats) into baggies with chia seeds, ground flax, sliced almonds, and cinnamon. (In the morning I just dump into bowl & use water heated from tea kettle.)
- Peel & freeze a few bananas for smoothies.
- Make homemade no bake energy bites, protein bars, or chocolate protein bites for treats.
- Two cheats: I buy hummus already made (to dip raw veggies in as a snack) & get homemade salsa from a local farmer’s market.
Jase eats what we eat, so that makes life a whole lot easier. He randomly gets picky & won’t eat something for a week (like broccoli), but for the most part he is a really awesome eater. He loves the “green machine” juice I make and will also eat boiled eggs and oats for breakfast. He eats a wide variety of veggies, meats, and sweet potatoes. He got used to eating some organic cereal when I was lazy on the meal prep & now we are undoing that one. (So much better to avoid processed foods if possible- even baby foods like crackers and Puffs- because they are addicting and can change their palette.) I was on french toast kick for a few weeks (which both of the boys loved), but we cleaned it up by using Ezekial bread in egg whites with organic cinnamon and organic maple syrup (much better option than anything else out there! except maybe some honey or natural nut butter).
I can’t help much with advice for a picky eater, but If you have a little one, I highly recommend Baby Led Weaning. You definitely want to read the book before implementing it, but basically you introduce finger-like solids (not purees) at 6 months. Let food be for fun/play .It’s messy, but man does it result in a great eater. Jase has always been a part of meal time with us and has pretty much always fed himself, which makes life way easier. (When you read the book, the logic behind it makes so much common sense & it’s WAY less work for the parents really- which will be helpful as we keep adding to our family & hopefully homeschool one day.) It just takes lots of prayer because it can be a little stressful when you’re first starting.
Here are some of the pictures I have on my phone. I’m definitely not a foodographer (is that a word?), but I do take pictures sometimes to share with challengers in our FB group. If you want to see some way better pictures, go check put the AdvoCare Tumblr I posted above.
Hope that helps some!!