A guide to food prep for those who want fresh food everyday
In theory food prep is a wonderful thing. Spend a few hours on a Sunday prepping your meals for the week and you don’t have to think about what to eat every day, you just grab and go. You save money by not buying out and eliminate food waste by pre-planning shopping lists.
Except for the fact that food prep generally means you’re eating the same thing every day (boring) and do you really want to eat food on Thursday that was prepared on Sunday?
For those who like thinking about food and what to eat and don’t like days old food, the extra time spent deciding on and making meals during the week seems worth it. Or is it?
I fall in the middle, I like the idea of food prep but I also like my food fresh. My quest for achieving both helped me come up with a way to do food prep in a way that allows for the freshest meals. How? By using the principles of creating the perfect meal in a bowl you’re able to prep separate elements over the weekend and spend 5 minutes every night assembling them into not so sad desk lunches.
The best meals in bowls are made up of 4 key components:
These are mix and match and you can prep batches of different ingredients so that each meal can be slightly different. As you’re not assembling everything together at the beginning of the week not only does it stay fresher, if other lunch plans pop up, it’s easy to take the individual ingredients and add them to dinner.
How to Prep Lunches for a week
They can be roasted, raw or even pickled. Prep enough vegetables so you get 1-2 cups per lunch.
Wash and cut raw vegetables and store them in jars and containers.
Wash and dry greens and store in another container
For roasted vegetables, roast a combination of butternut, sweet potato and baby marrow let them cool and the store in a container.
If you want to add an extra tang to meals, pickle some onions or chard stems (here’s how), store them in a jar and add a tablespoon or two to your lunch.
If you’re following a grain free diet, leave this out. You can add extra vegetables. Select one or two grains for the week. This can be anything from quinoa, millet, couscous, rice or noodles.
Measure enough for the week and cook it, allow it to cool completely before storing. Most grain portions are ¼ C – ½ C dry. If you want to alternate between grains, make two different batches and store them separately.
You can either precook your protein for the week or you can make an extra portion every night at dinner and save it for the next day’s lunch.
Make sure you’re prepping enough protein for your needs (in general you should be getting 2 grams of protein per kg of weight).
Tuna (if using canned tuna, open it when assembling lunch not beforehand).
Chickpeas (if using cans, only open when assembling. If using raw chickpeas, cook a big batch on Sunday for the week and store in the fridge).
Lentils or Beans – cook enough for the week.
Chicken – this roasted chicken is easy to make and tastes great cold. Make it on Sunday and you’ll have enough for the week.
Falafel balls (here’s how).
Cheese – soft cheeses like feta or mozzarella balls work best.
A sauce brings it all together and makes it a meal.
Your sauce can be anything from hummus, pesto or a dressing.
Sauce ideas and recipes
One of these 3 dips
To make your lunch, before you go to bed combine the ingredients in a Tupperware or jar and remember to take it with you in the morning. If you’re using a jar; here’s how to assemble it so it doesn’t go soggy.
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Main image by Zissy Lewin