Friday, March 21, 2014

Meal Prep: 4 in 45

I'm a big fan of Pinterest. I mean a BIG fan. I'm always on there looking for specific pins or just searching for things that grab me. Usually I post about food--snack ideas, veggie and fruit dishes, and of course, new meals. Quite a few people have posted about meal prepping before, but I thought it was too much more and effort. HA. Wrong.

OK--it is a little work and it could take a little time, but what you get out of it? A week of healthy, filling lunches that only take time to reheat. I started with an meal my friend Sheri gave me. She's also the one who taught me about these babies. It's simple, easy, delicious. I call it 4 in 45!

Since I work four days a week, I make four meals. Here's all you need are:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (or four small ones) 
  • 1 bunch of asparagus 
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • Choice of seasoning (I like Mrs. Dash table seasoning or Penzey's Chicken & Fish seasoning)
  • Olive oil (no more than 2 teaspoons) 
  • Salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and poke holes in sweet potatoes. On a cookie sheet lined with non-stick foil (or regular foil with non stick spray applied), place the sweet potatoes on the sheet. Pop into the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. 

The final product!
In the mean time, you can prep the asparagus. Wash thoroughly and trim the bottom ends off the asparagus.

After the first 15 minutes, throw the (thawed out) chicken breasts onto the pan. Sprinkle seasoning over the chicken breasts and push the pan back in. Set the timer for another 15 minutes. 

After the second 15 minutes, place the asparagus on the pan, spray with olive oil (toss in olive oil before if you don't have a spritzer) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set the timer for another 15 minutes. 

When the timer dings, check the potatoes to make sure they're cooked. If they are, pull of the tray and let everything cool. If they're not done--it sometimes happens to the gigantic ones--pull out the chicken and asparagus and let the potatoes cook another few minutes until soft. 

Once everything is done, pull out four tupperware containers (I use the disposable containers so I still have storage for dinners) divide up the meal. One piece of chicken for each container, half a sweet potato for each container (or one small one for each container), and several spears of asparagus to each one. Make sure everything has cooled completely, pop the tops on, and pop in the refrigerator for the week. TA-DA!! Meals are made and ready to go! 
Four meals in forty-five minutes. OK, with prep and finishing touches, sixty minutes tops. Aside from how easy it make, I really like that I'm fueled for the day with protein and nutrients. 

Chicken breasts--duh. Lean meat with protein to power you through the afternoon. Sweet potatoes are very high in vitamin A (to keep our peepers working) and have tons of potassium, great for blood pressure. The skin, along with the great guts, is full of fiber so go ahead and eat the whole 'tater! Asparagus is packed with vitamins and minerals. Plus, it acts as a cleaning agent, flushing out our kidneys which prevents kidney stones from forming. Awesome, right? 

I leave all my containers in my fridge at work so I can eat one every day. I also bring a small container of orange marmalade to mix into my sweet potato--it's my favorite way to dress it up. You can add a little butter and cinnamon instead or leave it plain. 

One week I switched out the asparagus for steamed broccoli and carrots. Squash would be a good addition or green beans. If you're not a sweet potato fan, try butternut squash instead. Top it off with a little bit of honey. SO good! 

Do you meal prep? What's your favorite? 

Last night's smaller version for dinner and lunch. I made this while
I  did a Barre3 30 minute work out.
True story. 

1 comment:

  1. Julie, you are a GENIUS! I am seriously going to this ASAP!!!


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