The new year always seems to bring a newfound desire to get our lives in order and start "adulting" once and for all. A major goal of mine for 2018: start meal-prepping!
Almost nightly, I leave the office with a growling stomach but little energy to actually cook a meal. And lunchtime isn't any better: some days, I'm so absorbed in my day-to-day work that I forget to eat altogether, or a wind up scraping together a measly lunch of cereal, fruit snacks, or whatever else is in the office pantry.
When I discovered Alyssa Gagarin on Instagram, I was instantly inspired. She's a chef and cooking instructor with a colourful social media feed chock-full of meal prep ideas.
With her help, I spent $107.00 (£80.25) total and took three hours out of my Sunday to meal-prep for the entire week ahead. Five days and five meals per day (breakfast, lunch, a snack, dinner, and dessert), equaling $4.28 (£3.21) per meal. Not bad!
Click ahead to check out my 5-day challenge video — and to see the various recipes I made with Alyssa's pro meal-prep tips.
Press play to catch my entire meal-prep adventure. Spoiler: zoodle cravings will definitely follow.
Instructions Start by mixing 2 cups of coconut milk with 1/2 cup of chia seeds. Next, add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Add a drizzle of the sweetener of your choice (honey, maple syrup etc). Once it's all combined, pour your chia pudding into individual mason jars and refrigerate.
Pro tip: you might want to consider doubling this for a full week's worth of breakfasts.
Instructions Spiralize about 1 large zucchini per serving or buy them already spiralised (for meal prep, keep the noodles raw. If you cook them in advance, they get soggy. So keep them raw, then just heat up in a pan when ready to eat). Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Make Pesto Sauce- recipe below. (You can always buy pesto, instead). Cook shrimp (simple salt pepper and EVOO, sear 1-2 minutes on each side until pink! Grab your tupperware, and you're all done!
Spinach Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Ingredients 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds 1/4 hemp seeds 4 cloves garlic 1 tsp salt 2 cups basil 2 cups spinach 2/3 cup olive oil Freshly ground pepper Squeeze of lemon juice.
Instructions 1. Add pumpkin seeds, hemp seed, garlic, salt, basil and spinach to a food processor or blender. 2. Pulse to grind up mixture. 3. Slowly add olive oil through the lid of the food processor while it is on and running. 4. Add fresh ground pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, to taste!
Ingredients 1/2 cup All Natural Peanut Butter 1 15 oz. can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed 2 tbsp Pure Maple Syrup 2 tbsp Honey (to make Vegan, use another 2tbsp Maple Syrup) 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract 1/2 tsp Salt 1/4 tsp Baking Soda 1/4 tsp Baking Powder.
Instructions 1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. 2. Spray 8x8 baking dish with nonstick spray. 3. Blend all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a food processor until smooth 4. Pour the mixture into baking dish and spread evenly. 5. Sprinkle with desired amount of chocolate chips! (Or if you would like to mix some into the batter, go for it!) If you like sweet/salty flavor, like I do, sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the top. 6. Bake for approximately 18 minutes. 7. Let cool and cut into squares.
Instructions Cook rice according to package. Grill your chicken, using cumin, paprika, garlic powder and chilli powder. Cook black beans in diced red onion with cumin, garlic, chilli powder. Add salsa, avocado, corn, romaine, cabbage and Jalapeno.
Spiced Roasted Chickpeas
Instructions Preheat your oven to 200°C. Drain and rinse 2 cans of chickpeas, and dry them by patting them with a towel. In a large bowl, mix chickpeas with drizzle of olive oil, 1tsp cumin, 1tsp paprika and a pinch of cayenne (if you like it spicy).Bake for 25-35 minutes, shaking them up after 15 minutes.
Instructions 1. Preheat Oven to 200°C. 2. Cut sweet potatoes into sticks. 3. Toss in large bowl with a dash of olive oil. Add spices. Toss. 4. Arrange on baking sheet w/ parchment paper. 5. Bake for 15 minutes. 6. Flip. Bake for addition 5-10, until appears crispy.