All hail to the Queen of the Clean Plate Club.
AKA: The Big Eater.
Also Known As…. ME!
If you’re paying attention to food and nutrition blogs or instagram, you know that meal prepping is all the rage right now. I will not stand here and try to tell you that I am the expert in this area of health. But I’m living on a budget, don’t have much time during the week, and am constantly thinking about my next meal.
Isn’t it the worst when you come home from work starving, immediately ready to eat dinner (me every day), but you still have to MAKE dinner?! Half the time this happens, I snack through the dinner making and the other half, I go out for pizza. Enter the infamous MEAL PREP. If you can accomplish this small feat, you’ll feel happier, healthier and perhaps even wealthier.
Meal prepping ideally happens on Sunday afternoon. It requires a thorough trip to the grocery store and an hour or two in the kitchen. Let me be clear, this is an ideal scenario. It does not happen in my world every weekend. Some weekends, I’m lucky if I make it to the grocery store before Tuesday. Do your best, okay? But if you have Sunday afternoon free, do the work on the front end. You’ll thank yourself at least five times throughout the week.
Think about the types of food you want to put on your plate. This is an important step because it sets the stage for a healthy, balanced diet. Don’t take it from me, let’s hear from a nutrition expert.
My friend, Ali Gray, who has her masters in nutrition and a soon-to-be dietitian, tells us to keep it basic. “Make 1/2 of your plate with fruits/veggies, 1/4 lean protein, 1/4 grains (preferably whole grains such as brown rice, sweet potato or whole grain pasta).” She says, “even if you have a salad or sandwich, imagine how the ingredients fit into each of those segments. Typically, 50% carbs, 25% protein and 25% fat.” You can read more about Ali’s balanced and basic nutrition advice and recipes on her new blog The Balanced Basic Blonde. Trust me, you’ll love her.
I took Ali’s advice this week when I hit up Trader Joe’s on Sunday. Here’s my grocery list:
- 1 pound salmon
- Brussel sprouts
- Sweet Potatoes
- Fresh dill
- Blue berries
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Kale/spinach mix
Let’s cut to the chase. Here are my recipes from Sunday’s meal prep:
Roasted Veggies w/ Turmeric
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- In a medium sized bowl, mix the veggies (I used broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts) with olive oil, salt, pepper and turmeric
- Once well coated, pour the vegetables evenly onto a baking sheet lined with tinfoil or parchment paper
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, gently toss the vegetables over
- Bake for another 10-15 minutes until they reach desired crispiness
Allow vegetables to cool before storing in refrigerator.
(Pro Tip: I’ve recently started adding ground turmeric to everything from veggies to my coffee and turmeric root to my smoothies. It has a wealth of health benefits, but the main one I’m going for is its anti-inflammatory powers. Heads up, ground turmeric will turn your hands, and anything else it touches, a bright yellow.)
Baked Salmon w/ Turmeric, Lemon and Dill
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Place salmon on a sheet of tinfoil or parchment paper
- Salt and pepper (I used pink Himalayan seat salt)
- Add a couple dashes of turmeric (optional)
- Thinly slice lemon, squeeze lemon juice all over salmon and then place slices on top
- Garnish with dill
- Wrap salmon with tinfoil and bake for 15-20 minutes depending on how well cooked you want the salmon
Slice salmon in fourths, place in glass tupperware and let cool. Store in refrigerator. Enjoy later cold or reheated. (Pro Tip: if you reheat the salmon, you only need 10-15 seconds in microwave.)
Baked Sweet Potatoes
I bought a bag of small sweet potatoes from Trader Joe’s and decided to bake them, although there are so many ways to cook a sweet potato. Here’s what I did:
Leave oven at 400 degrees (after cooking salmon)
- Wash sweet potatoes thoroughly and pat dry
- Rub a coat of olive oil over potatoes’ skin
- Poke several holes in the potatoes with a fork
- Loosely wrap in tin foil and set on a baking sheet
- Cook for 45 minutes or until soft
Allow sweet potatoes time to cool and then store in the refrigerator. (Pro Tip: You can dice the sweet potatoes and add them to a salad, eat them whole with ground cinnamon, make mashed potatoes, and the list goes on!)
Greek Yogurt Tzatziki
A lovely addition to the salmon dish is homemade Tzatziki. It’s super easy, ready?
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Thinly diced cucumbers
- Chopped dill
- 1/4 – 1/2 of a lemon
- Salt + Peper
- Circle of olive oil
- (Add garlic if you are unlike me and actually enjoy it)
Mix ingredients together until well blended, and add to top of salmon or as a side.
I’ve been enjoying this food all week. For lunch Monday, I made a salad on a bed of kale and spinach, added the veggies, sweet potatoes and 1/8 slice of salmon with the tzatziki on top. For dinner, I made a traditional plate with the Salmon as the main dish, veggies and sweet potato on the side. I added a few slices of avocado.
It’s always good to buy extra fruit to enjoy with breakfast and veggies to take as a snack. Not to mention, I’ve got clementines coming out of my ears, so let me know if I can bring you some!
If you have the time on Sunday to prepare your meals for the week, take advantage. Even if you only get as far as buying the groceries, you are one step ahead come Monday afternoon when you walk in the door hangry and tired. Just remember to keep a balanced diet, eat when you’re hungry and try to plan ahead!
You’re doing great.