Meal Prep 101: How to Plan for Healthy Eating
  • May 21, 2014
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    Meal planning sounds like a big job. It’s two of the things I used to hate to think about on any given weekend: cooking and general domestic order. But like all things in life, you don’t just HAPPEN to eat healthy. You have to have a plan. Your plan may be different than mine based on your own dietary restrictions, but here’s how Fiance and I prep for a week of healthy eating.

    Step 1: Figure our what you’re going to eat  

    Every week, I mix new flavors with staples to avoid getting stuck in a rut. If you’re eating plain chicken, broccoli and quinoa for dinner every night, you’re not going to make it far on your healthy eating plan.

    I do a little bit of research every week to find new recipes to mix it up, but I will ALWAYS have things on hand like eggs and Fage Greek Yogurt (I’m not working with Fage, I just love the stuff) in my kitchen. Variety, will keep you interested and ease will help to you actually reach for the good stuff.

    There are a few blogs and websites I look to when I’m adding something new to the menu including Cooking LightKalyn’s Kitchen, Skinny Taste and my Mom’s Pinterest board named “Healthy Food Even Wayne Likes”  as it is healthy food that she tricks my father into eating (bless her heart). Spend no more than 20 minutes on this.

    New items on our menu this week:

    Staples:

    • Chicken breasts (cooked all at once)
    • Lunch meat
    • Eggs (for hard boiling and other delicious egg activities)
    • Fruits
    • Veggies
    • Almond butter
    • Fage Greek yogurt
    • spices
    • Almond milk

    Step 2: Make a list and shop

    Once you’ve figured out what you want to each, make a list based on the layout of the grocery store. This helps you from forgetting anything or flat-out giving up on your recipes because you made it to the register and, of course, you forgot ginger.

    A great tool for the tech savvy and repeat grocery buyers is ZipList. I can’t share an exact link to my zip list with you, but I CAN show you exactly how ziplist compiled my shopping list based on the recipes and section of the grocery store. Talk about a life saver.

    Produce

    • Apples
    • 1 medium avocado, diced
    • Avocados
    • Baby Carrots
    • Bananas
    • Broccoli
    • 4 cups broccoli florets
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
    • 1 cup diagonally sliced celery
    • 1/2 cup diagonally sliced green onion
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp. Spice World Ground Ginger Root or grated fresh ginger root
    • 1/4 cup minced red onion, finely diced
    • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
    • Limes

    Condiments, Dressings & Oils 

    • 3 T avocado oil (or other neutral flavored oil)
    • cooking spray
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
    • 1 tsp. sesame oil
    • 2 T soy sauce (low sodium is fine; use gluten-free soy sauce if needed)

    Meats

    • Chicken Breasts

    Canned Foods, Soups & Mixes

    • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    • 2 cups vegetable stock (I used a 14 oz. can of vegetable broth and added a little water to make 2 cups)

    Grains & Pasta

    • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
    • Almond butter

    Dairy

    • almond milk
    • 1 cup egg whites
    • Eggs
    • 4 whole large eggs
    • 1/4 cup good grated cheese like pecorino romano
    • 1/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar (Sargento)

    Deli

    • deli meat

    Baking & Cooking

    • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
    •  pinch crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 1/2 cups diagonally sliced sugar snap peas
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    •  salt and fresh pepper
    • 1 tsp. Agave Nectar (or other sweetener of your choice)

    Step 3: Make and store your food 

    You’ve got all of your groceries. Great. I know you’re busy. If you just put all of that in your fridge and and pack it away along with your good intentions, it will go to waste in a week’s time.

    Pull it together all in one cooking session or all of that planning will, again, rot in your fridge. Follow these proper food storage procedures to keep you and your loved ones safe.

    When you’re all finished, your meals will be delightfully easy and made up of colorful foods like, Broccoli and cheese mini egg omelets:

    photo 5

    Skinny Taste’s Fiesta Bean Salad:

    photo 4,

    Asian Quinoa Salad

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    Two hours of work will make your entire week healthier and easier.

    About Jeana Anderson Cohen

    Jeana Anderson Cohen is the founder and CEO of aSweatLife.com a destination for living your best life, with fitness as the catalyst. She's also the co-founder and head of strategy of the SweatWorking App. But before starting health-focused companies Jeana earned a degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For the first decade of her career, she created and executed social media strategies for brands. aSweatLife fuses her experience and her passion for wellness and SweatWorking was the natural evolution of that experience. You can find Jeana leading the team at aSweatLife, hosting aSweatLife’s monthly #Sweatworking events, and - on the rare evening off - you may find her using her Personal Training certification to coach group fitness classes across Chicago.

    2 thoughts on “Meal Prep 101: How to Plan for Healthy Eating

    1. Karen Anderson

      Jeana, I leave out the avocado until I am going to eat the fiesta bean salad. I just bring 1/2 of an avocado to work with me. Keeps the avocado from getting mushy and your dad will eat it that way. Love you, Mom

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