Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Healthy Meal Prep

It goes without saying that if you want to get in shape, you have to eat healthy.  But, it's hard when there's so much going on in our lives and we feel like we don't have the TIME to prepare healthy meals.  For me, I eat five meals a day about 3 hours apart.  I have gotten used to eating the same thing twice a day (usually a grilled chicken salad).  I enjoy my salad, so it's no big deal.  And thank the Lord, my husband eats the same way, so I don't have to prepare another meal for him.  But, that's the caveat with this healthy meal prep, it's the same food twice a day, and lack of variety is fatal for some people.  With our family's busy schedule and needing to have so many meals to eat each day, it's just simpler for me to eat the same thing over and over.  No thinking about it, just prep once, then grab and go.  

My meal prep is incredibly easy.  Eating this way takes way less time than preparing several different meals for lunch or dinner.  All you really need to do is buy a big package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and grill them at once on the grill.  My husband and I both eat about two chicken breasts a day, so he will cook 12-16 at a time, and I have found they are good refrigerated for four days, sometimes five.  The photo below is my meal prep that I took to my bikini competition because that's all I ate for two days but you could use these for lunch or dinner once or twice a day, along with your other meals.  

The twelve meals above were made from the few ingredients below.


On the grill (we use a gas grill, but you can use a grill pan on the stove), turn the fire to medium to medium high heat.  For my "contest" chicken, no oil was used, just a sprinkle of Tony Chachere's Salt-Free seasoning.  Now that the contest prep is over, he puts a little olive oil on the chicken to keep it from sticking to the grill and to keep the chicken moist.

Cook the chicken for about 10-15 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the chicken.  When it's done, remove from the heat and cover with foil.  Let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes.

Each meal gets five ounces of chicken.  I can pretty much eyeball how much 5 ounces is now, but otherwise, I have found this scale very beneficial.  I used it everyday while on bikini prep and sometimes still do. 

For the carbs, I usually eat potatoes, but you can substitute rice or quinoa.  Sweet potatoes are great too.  I was only eating 4 ounces of carbs for this prep, so I used small, red potatoes.  


After washing the potatoes (I used 12), I towel-dried them, poked them a couple times with a knife, then microwaved them all at once for 10 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.  They shrink when cooked, so they only averaged 3.5 ounces.  Now, I'd eat about 6 ounces, so two of these small guys.  What I really like to do (when I'm home) is chop them up after they are cooked and toast them up on the stove on a medium-high heat (just spray the pan with cooking spray). 

I use my Gladware that I found at the grocery store and then begin assembling. 

A big handful of romaine lettuce, a few tomatoes or a cup of frozen green beans . . . 

then the potatoes and chicken.

I eat the salad meals cold (and add dressing now), and microwave the meals with green beans for about 1 minute or so.  You have to be careful not to reheat chicken too much or it will get dried out. 


Since I'm at home most days now, I haven't been assembling my food like this lately.  After the big batch of chicken is cooked, I put it in a large Rubbermaid tupperware container and keep it in the fridge.  We just pull out it as needed.  The variety for me now is just adding more and different things to my salad, like avocado, mango, sundried tomatoes, etc.  I was only eating Romaine lettuce before, but now I find I like a combo of Romaine and arugula.  When you add 5 ounces of chicken to your salad, it's really filling too. 

As long as you have chicken already cooked in the fridge, you're good to go for quick, easy meals, especially salads.  I need to look into other recipes using chicken (adding to pastas or casseroles) next.  

I made a Thai steak salad for dinner on Sunday and it was delicious!  I'll be sharing that recipe next!

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