Meal Prep

I’m Linda Fink and this is five days of meal prep. Hey guys, it’s me. Happy 2018! Welcome back to. If you are new to our blog, I promise you we are so fun, so informative, and so entertaining, so you should probably click right here to comment. And if you’re a returning commentr then welcome back and please give this post a thumbs up.

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It’s 2018 and I know that a new year always seems to bring that urge to start taking control of your life. And in my case, to start really being an adult.. because I am one. So I need to be one. And for me, a major New Years resolution was to start meal prepping. Before this week, meal prep looked kinda like this to me: I love pizza. So this weekend I spent a ton of time planning and organizing, and then I went out to buy the ingredients for five days of five servings of food. So for each of the days this week I’ve made breakfast, lunch, a snack, dinner and dessert. Yesterday, on Sunday, was my full meal prep day, so I spent three hours right there in my kitchen preparing everything for the week ahead. And here is what I made: Chia seed pudding for breakfast; burrito bowls with a ton of fresh veggies for lunch; roasted and seasoned sweet potato fries and chickpeas as a snack; vegetable noodles with basil pesto, cherry tomatoes and shrimp for dinner; and chocolate chip peanut butter chickpea bars for dessert. Yes, chickpea. Don’t worry because each day in this post as I go through five days of eating the meal prep foods I am going to focus on one of the meals. So either breakfast, lunch, the snack, dinner or dessert so that I can break down the full recipe for you, and then also breakdown my strategy behind everything. I got all of my meal ideas this week from chef and cooking instructor Alyssa Gagarin, who is a meal prepping goddess. Through my experience I have learned all the do’s and don’ts of meal prep and have gathered my top tips for Linda’s meal prep.

Woohoo! So, tip number one is it’s all about strategy. The total cost of meal prep to cook for one person for a week’s worth of food is approximately $100, depending on what you choose. I spend $107 total on all of the ingredients yesterday, which if you divide by five days and five servings of food a day, comes to $4.28 per dish. Pretty good. Overall, my first day of eating the meal prep foods went quite swimmingly, if I do say so myself. I ate my first breakfast chia seed pudding this morning, which was delicious. I brought all of my lunch bowls to the office, and I stored them in the my blog fridge. Dinner was so easy to compile because all of the individual pieces were in their own containers. And dessert was obviously delicious, because it’s dessert. So as I said, because I’m focusing on one meal a day, today on Monday I’m focusing on my breakfast. Here is how I made that chia seed pudding. I mixed four cups of coconut milk with one cup of chia seeds, added a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a drizzle of maple syrup. And then I cut up different types of fruits to make different toppings so that each day would have a bit of a different flavor. Then I poured them into individual mason jars, sealed them, and lined them up in my fridge for the week. Andrew, my camera man, gave the pudding his final stamp of approval by actually licking the remainders of it from the bowl.

Stamp of approval! It was good. Today, I’m sharing the recipe from my lunch burrito bowls. If you’ve chosen any recipes with avocados, here’s a pro tip for you. Buy avocados of different ripeness. One that’s ripe to use now, one that will ripen in a couple days and one that has the entire week to be ripe so that by Friday or Saturday it’s perfect for a bowl of guac. Following Alyssa’s recipe, I made a giant pot of rice, seasoned up the raw chicken with salt, pepper, paprika and other spices. Chopped up some vegetables like romaine, purple cabbage and fresh tomatoes. And then popped open a can of black beans and corn. Once everything was done cooking I assembled the burrito bowls into five separate lunch boxes, with rice on the bottom and then the vegetables lined up on top in rainbow order. I know that what’s most important is the way it tastes, but the fact that it was so beautiful and looked like a rainbow on my plate, didn’t hurt at all. I am loving these little boxes that I got for lunch this week because they seal really tight to lock in the freshness. They’re microwavable. They’re reusable. And it’s only Day Two, but I am already starting to notice how meal prep is drastically reducing the amount of waste that I’m creating throughout the day. And to make this week even more zero waste friendly, I’m using a set of bamboo kitchen utensils that I got from Lauren Singer’s package free shop in Brooklyn. #TrashIsForTossers.

I’m one of those people who cannot go between lunch and dinner without munching on something, so I decided to make a really healthy snack idea this week, but to turn it very delicious by adding spices and seasoning to it. I got pre cut sweet potato fries and a couple of cans of chickpeas, and I seasoned them both up with olive oil, salt, garlic powder, paprika and more. I put them onto separate trays because they needed to cook for different amounts of time at different temperatures. That was really tough for me and it was difficult for me to balance the different temperatures with the different cook times, so at some point I just put them both into the oven together and decided to eyeball it. Now this is a very important thing to know about meal prep. From the footage you’ve seen so far, it probably looks like first I whipped up my chia seed pudding, and then I made all the ingredients for my lunch and then I moved onto seasoning my snack.. you get the drill. But the truth is, that is not how I did this at all. Sunday in my kitchen was a complete and utter whirlwind of chaos. I feel like I’m on Chopped. How do we want to cook the chicken? How’s that rice doing? Ah! These chickpeas are roasting. Ah! Out of space! Racing against the clock. I was running around, doing six things at once. I had the rice on the stove while I seasoned the chicken and the shrimp. I was roasting up my snacks while I put my chickpea and peanut butter brownies into the food processor.

A lot of things, a lot of moving parts. Tip number three: When you are choosing your recipes for the week, think of using multiple cooking methods that utilize various different tools, so that you make the most of your time. As I was planning my meals for the week, actually, I took Alyssa’s advice to heart and I realized how silly it would be if I chose meals that all use the oven, or all needed the stove top because that would just not be strategic with my time and with my kitchen space. My proteins for lunch and dinner were cooked on the stovetop, the snacks were roasted in the oven, the vegetables didn’t need to be cooked at all and my dessert was the only thing that needed a food processor. So, you see what I did there. Very smart. Just had my fourth chia seed pudding cup of the week and they never get old. They are so good. But I was a little bit extra hungry this morning so I woke up and popped in a waffle. It was tough picking a dinner recipe for this week because if I know anything about myself it’s that I really like diversifying the meals I’m having from one day to the next. And the only exception to this rule is pizza because I could literally eat pizza every meal, every day, forever. But sadly I wasn’t making pizza this week, so that was tough. I needed a dinner idea that allowed me to pick and choose different pieces so I could make it differently each night. I got a vegetable noodle medley, made of sweet potato noodles, squash noodles, zoodles and more. I kept them raw so they didn’t get soggy. I cooked the shrimp with salt, pepper and olive oil.

I made a basil pesto, and I halved the cherry tomatoes. The first night I made this I just tossed all the ingredients into a pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper and I sautéed it up. On the second night, I changed up the flavor a bit by trying out some different seasoning and spices on top. And tonight I was really not in the mood for a hot noodle dish. Instead, I want something cold and refreshing, like a salad. So I kept the noodles raw and crunchy. And then instead of the basil pesto I just squeezed some lemon juice on top. And it’s not just my dinner that I’m doing this with. Actually, yesterday at lunch, I wanted to spice up the burrito bowl a little bit, so I bought a tortilla and I turned the burrito bowl into an actual burrito. And if I learned anything about myself from the experience it’s that I cannot roll a burrito for the life of me. But I do have to say that turning the bowl into a burrito made the lunch look, feel, and taste completely different. So that was good. Happy Friday everyone! Today I’m sharing the recipe for these incredible chocolate chip peanut butter chickpea bars. Y’all ready for this? If you’re one of those people who looks at a dessert made of chickpeas and seriously judges it for what it is, And don’t even try to imagine what this tastes like, because you just can’t until you try it. And when you do try it you’ll see that it tastes like dessert, not chickpeas. This is Alyssa’s recipe and oh man, oh man, it was epic.

I preheat the oven to 350 and then I mixed half a cup of natural peanut butter with one 15-ounce can of drained and rinsed chickpeas. I added two tablespoons of maple syrup, two tablespoons of honey, one tablespoon of vanilla extract, half a teaspoon of salt, a quarter teaspoon of baking soda, and a quarter teaspoon of baking powder. I blended this all up in a food processor until it was smooth and shiny and delicious looking. And then I spread it into a baking dish and added chocolate chips on top. They baked for 18 minutes exactly and came out perfectly. I put them in a tupperware and I had two rows with a piece of parchment paper in between. And then I stored them in the fridge to give them a fudge-like consistency. And in a few hours I am going to have my final serving of dinner and dessert and after that I will have officially eaten all of the meal prep foods that I bought and made this weekend. Actually taking the plunge and doing this challenge calmed my fears about: a) how long it would take to meal prep everything and b) how expensive this would be. I actually think I saved money this week. Now I want to know some of your favorite meal prep recipes and if you’ve never done this before, comment below and let me know if this is something you can see yourself trying. I would highly recommend it. As always, let me know what you would like to see next time on. Go Linda, go Linda. Woo! If you’re looking for more meal prep recipes, inspiration, or tips, find me on Instagram, comment on , all at Alyssa Gagarin or my website at alyssagagarin.com Hey ! Thanks for reading five days of meal prep.

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