10 Tips for Easy Meal Prepping

Many people lead such busy lives that they have to make a decision of which is more valuable to them– time, or money. It’s really a tough call, but when you make health the priority, it is an easier choice. Lunch breaks nowadays are used to make phone calls, run errands, and basically do anything BUT take an actual break. I find that if I pack my lunch (and breakfast too) I am likely to take a real break, and I eat healthier too! The added bonus of meal prepping is that you save money. You really can eat well for just a couple dollars per meal. Here are my top 10 tips for making meal prepping easier.

  1. Different sized durable containers are important. Use glass and BPA free plastic.
  2. Plan meals with recipes and then grocery shop if needed.
  3. Be sure to use measuring cups when portioning off each meal.
  4. Overnight oats are a great option for people who bring their breakfast to work. You can eat them warm or cold, and you get to skip cook time and will not have to wash a pot.
  5. A food scale is crucial. Make sure you know that most meat servings are 3 oz, a half a cup of veggies is one serving when  cooked, while usually 1 cup when raw is a full serving.
  6. When cooking veggies, leave them crisp. They will be getting microwaved again, so you don’t want them to lose their value.
  7. When storing hot food, allow to cool a little before sealing container. The rule is typically if the food is hotter than 90 degrees, let it cool for about 20 minutes.
  8. Store sauces separately to keep the food tasting nice and fresh!
  9. Don’t forget to pack vitamins!
  10. Get an insulating container for your food to avoid bacteria growth. I got this lunch bag at Bed Bath and Beyond for $7. The cooling pack is very effective and necessary if your food will not be refrigerated within 2 hours– or if you have those bold coworkers who will eat food that does not belong to them.

Here is also a video I made on meal prepping:

Asian-Inspired Croquettes with Sauteed Kale & Spinach

While it may not be a dreaded Monday for everyone, it is usually guaranteed to be full of action. There is always so much catching up to do, and when someone asks “How was your weekend?” it always makes me stop and think, “What weekend?” because it flew by too fast. I really believe we should designate Mondays as a day to make comfort foods. Comfort foods do not have to be heavy and unhealthy, but they are instead foods that are associated with fond memories and hearty enough to satisfy your pallet and your weary body. A food I remember from meals at Gram’s house were croquettes. They were usually salmon and accompanied by fluffy rice with a generous dose of black pepper, and veggies. Funny enough that I didn’t like croquettes very much the first time I tried them. My picky pallet back then did not appreciate the croquettes at all. No, I didn’t eat them for flavoring, I knew at just 7 years old, that this was delicious grown up food. I savored it, and eventually grew to love croquettes. Now that I am older, I have become a vegetarian and I was very curious if I could closely replicate them and find a nice dish for accompaniment. This fusion of Southern style cooking and Asian cuisine will likely be an easy dish you run to when you need a good hearty meal and do not want to spend a lot of time. This is a 20 minute dish that will be eaten in blissful silence or as long as it lasts (probably a few minutes tops 😉 ). I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Serves 2

  • 1/4 cup walnuts (leave out if using fish for protein)
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic peeled
  • 6 sheets of roasted wasabi seaweed
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 4 oz tempeh OR your favorite fish, cooked
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Japanese panko crumbs
  • extra virgin olive oil

1. In a food processor, combine walnuts, garlic, seaweed, tempeh and cilantro. Pulse until mixture is combined, and stop when the contents are just a little larger than grains of rice.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix contents adding a dash of black pepper, 1 TBSP of soy sauce, and add 1 raw egg which will hold the croquettes together. Mix well.

3. Meanwhile, heat your skillet on medium high in 1/4 inch of extra virgin olive oil.

4. Take a cutting board and place panko crumbs on it to use for covering the croquettes before frying.

5. With a spoon (I used a teaspoon), or your hand, portion out croquettes and then either dip in panko crumbs or sprinkle on top.

5. With a slotted spoon or spatula, lower croquettes into hot oil. Cook about 2 minutes per side until crisp and brown.

6. Set aside on a paper towel to cool and drain excess oil.

For Kale & Spinach

  • 2 cups kale
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • sesame seeds
  • soy sauce

1. In a large non-stick skillet, warm sesame and olive oil.

2. Once oil is heated add kale. Move the kale around and allow it to become slightly tender. About 2 minutes later, add spinach, which wilts faster. Just as spinach begins to wilt, the veggies are essentially done.

3. In your last step, turn off the heat and as the mixture still cooks, add soy sauce and sesame seeds.

4. Remove from heat and serve hot with croquettes.