MEAL PREP: THE KALEJUNKIE DISH
There are people in the world who LOVE meal prep, and they can’t go even Sunday without preparing a lavish spread of meals to last the week. For me, I hate it. There—I said it. I don’t enjoy cooking a week’s worth of food in advance, for so many reasons.
For one, my tastes change throughout the week. I probably won’t want something I made on Sunday, on Thursday. I’m always ready for something new.
Second, reheating animal proteins (chicken, steak, turkey) completely turns me off.
Third, I don’t like soggy food. In the past, I’ve done meal preps, and once I reheat them, everything is a pile of soggy mush. Let’s face it, no one wants that.
ALL OF THAT SAID, the reality is, I need to meal prep. As a busy, full-time working mom, I don’t have the time or energy to make new meals each day. I’d rather spend the time with the kiddos, recipe developing, or sneaking in a workout.
But I don’t hate it as much anymore, and that’s because I’ve MASTERED THE ART OF THE MEAL PREP, and you can too. It doesn’t have to be a chore, and I promise you won’t end up with soggy food.
Here are my tips for a successful meal prep. Implement these tips each week and become a master, too.
Focus on veggie and grain meal preps only.
As I said above, I’m not a fan of reheating animal proteins, just because the consistency isn’t great. By focusing on veggies and grains only, you will have everything done to enjoy a nice meatless meal (think meatless Monday!), or if you want meat, your veggies/grains are already done, so you can quickly throw some chicken into the oven and not worry about anything else.
If you do choose to include animal proteins in your meal prep, slightly undercook the meat.
When you are ready to reheat, use the oven or cast-iron skillet to cook through. I think it goes without saying, but just in case, do not microwave your meat!
Buy a nice variety of seasonings and oil sprays.
My favorite clean spices are from Primal Palate. Here are the different variety packs they make: Food Lovers, Signature Blends, Everyday AIP, Griddle & Grill. They are Whole30 approved, have no added fillers or preservatives, and taste delicious. Don’t overthink which spice you will use on which veggies. For me, anything goes. If I am roasting cauliflower, I will spray with coconut oil and season with turmeric and Primal Palate Garlic & Herb Seasoning. When it comes to sprays, I always use Chosen Foods Coconut Oil or Avocado Oil sprays. I have about 3 cans in my pantry at all times bc I go through them fast. Word has it that Trader Joe’s has similar sprays. Whatever you pick, just don’t go dumping bottles of oil on your veggies, unless you want a soggy mess.
Don’t overthink your meal prep.
Head to the grocery store and buy veggies that are super easy to roast. Think broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, sweet potatoes, potatoes, rainbow chard, and kale. Don’t even think about grabbing lettuce to make salads for your meal prep. Lettuce gets soggy, and no one wants a soggy salad.
Slightly undercook your veggies.
The key to avoiding the soggy veggies is to slightly undercook them. That way when you go to reheat, your end result will be crunchy, delicious veggies.
No one wants to spend all day in the kitchen meal prepping. I don’t ever spend more than 90 minutes doing it, and you shouldn’t either. The key is to move FAST and multi-task. Use both risers in the oven. While one thing is roasting, move on to chopping the next item. Just keep moving.
Store your prep in glass, air tight containers.
Hopefully when you go to reheat your veggies, you are using your cast-iron skillet or the oven, for maximium crunchiness. But if you don’t have time, go ahead and toss your glass containers in the microwave to reheat. While I can’t promise you crunchy veggies, at least they will be warm. Plus, you shouldn’t be using plastic containers anyway.
Hope these tips help you! What are some of your favorite meal prep tips? Comment below.