(KMSP) - The best ingredients for lunch and dinner meal prep are simple, packable, storable, and customizable. Here are the basics for prepping your meals:
Pick a healthy starch: Brown rice, sweet potatoes, roasted root veggies, quinoa, bulgur.
Select vegetables: Asparagus, zucchini, broccoli, yellow squash, Brussels sprouts, string beans, tomatoes, carrots, pepper, and eggplant can easily be roasted or sautéed (fresh, frozen, or canned all should work)
Choose a protein: Beans, cottage cheese, cooked eggs, chickpeas, tempeh, seitan, tofu, fish, chicken, beef, pork, turkey, and shrimp are a good place to start; choose accordingly based on your dietary needs.
Condiments to Customize: Choose different spice and herb blends (I like Minnesota Nice Spice), sauces, marinades, dressings, fermented veggies, nuts, seeds, avocados
You won't see serving sizes, so adjust quantities to whatever suits you. The beauty of the formulas is that you don't need to follow exact measurements; just be sure you have enough to last you for the next 3-5 days.
What can you make with these customizable ingredients?
1. Buddha Bowls
3. Mason Jar Salads
4. One Pan Veggie Bake
5. Stir Fry
6. Snack packs
Here is the formula for smoothie packs and the chia pudding base:
Fruit + greens, frozen ahead of time (at least the night before)
1 1/2 cups your favorite (frozen or fresh) fruit
2 cups greens of choice (spinach, kale, etc)
Dry ingredients: chia seeds, hemp seeds, coconut, flaxseeds, unsweetened cocoa, protein powder - whatever you'd like!
When adding to the blender: add 1 to 1 1/2 cups liquid of choice (milk, almond milk, coconut water, juice, water) along with your fruit+greens pack + dry ingredients. Blend it up!
My favorite frozen fruits to have on hand are bananas, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, pineapple and mango. I really mix it all together - any kind of fruit and green go together!
Basic Chia Pudding
For the chia pudding:
3 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup gluten free steel cup oats (optional for thickness)
1-3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup, to taste
1-2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Pure maple syrup
Nuts and seeds
1. Whisk the almond milk, chia seeds, oats and sweetener together in a large bowl. Let sit for 5-10 minutes and then whisk again (this just helps prevent clumping).
2. Cover and chill in the fridge for 2.5-3 hours, or overnight. It helps to stir the mixture every so often during this time, or put in a large mason jar and shake to mix it up.
3. Stir well before serving. Portion into bowl(s) and add your desired toppings. Leftovers will keep in an air-tight container (i.e. mason jar) in the fridge for 3-5 days.