First Meal Prep of the New Year

Meal prepping is one of my favorite things to do on the weekend to help me prepare for the week ahead. It can help you eat better, it lowers food waste and it’s kinder on your wallet than take out or impulse shopping throughout the week.

This meal prep is a little different from what I normally do as I’m doing a bit of a detox this week. I went to Disney for Halloween and I swear, I’ve eaten nothing but sweets and carbs since then. There’s nothing wrong with a little splurging but I’ve been having a lot of headaches, which I know are due to increased sugar intake, and I’ve just been feeling blah.

So I’m focusing on proteins and veggies this week which lends itself well to a zero-waste life style. Here’s my produce haul. Look at that lack of plastic! I did most of my shopping at Russo’s, which is one of my favorite places in Boston to pick up veggies. I’ll do a little Spotlight on them later. This haul cost me about $35.

What I already had:

  • Chickpeas
  • Black beans
  • Lentils
  • Chia seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Bananas
  • Egg
  • Vegetable broth
  • Salsa
  • Almond milk
  • Lemon Juice
  • Olive oil

The beans, lentils, seeds and olive oil were purchased in bulk at Pemberton Farm’s. The vegetable broth I had made earlier from scraps and then froze. The salsa and lemon juice were purchased in a glass containers that I can reuse. For almond milk, I use Modern Mylk, which comes in a glass container and I will write a product review on soon.

What I couldn’t find Zero-Waste:

  • Protein powder- As a vegetarian, I really like adding protein powder to my morning smoothies but I haven’t found a zero-waste option. If you have any recommendations, please let me know! For now, I use the Tone It Up vanilla protein from Target.
  • Coconut water- I had a recipe for a mango smoothie that called for coconut water. I only saw plastic bottles (though, I only looked in one place) so I swapped that out for almond milk that I already had. This won’t drastically impact my smoothie.

Here is most of the finished product:

  • 1 sheet pan recipe with fennel, asparagus and brussel sprouts, tossed with a bunch of spices and chickpeas. This 1 sheet pan recipe made 5 dinners. I may or may not serve this with a vinaigrette, depending on how the flavors come together.
  • 3 taco kale salads. I sauteed onions, mushrooms and peppers with some taco spices, served it over kale with black beans and will use salsa as a dressing.
  • 3 snack salads of beets, carrots, apples and sunflower seeds with lemon juice and olive oil for the dressing.
  • Some lentil vegetable soup
  • Smoothie packets with mango, banana, ginger and chia seeds. I’ll blend this with almond milk and protein power.

This will get me through the week and I won’t have to worry about cooking again until next Sunday, which is how I like it!!

On the weekends, if I’m getting sick of a meal, I’ll revamp what I cooked to make them fresher: I’ll saute vegetables with eggs and have them for breakfast; I’ll put salads in a wrap with some hummus and dressing; or I’ll change up sauces and dressings on stir-frys and salads to make them taste different. Normally, 4 times is my limit for a meal before I get sick of it. The 5 servings in the sheet pan dinner was an accident because I bought too many brussel sprouts! I suspect those veggies will be served with some eggs by the time serving 5 rolls around!

As for the containers, I use what I have! If it’s plastic, I wait until my meal has cooled before putting it in the plastic container and then always reheat it at work on a plate or in a bowl. I keep one of each at my desk, along with utensils.

Meal prepping like this takes me a bit of time on the weekend but being prepared helps prevent me from impulse purchases that lead to unwanted waste. Also, it’s budget friendly for all those looking to spend less in 2020. I ended up with a weeks worth of food and I only spent $35. That would barely get you lunch and a coffee in Boston!

Oh, and last but not least, I prep a large batch of cold brew coffee each week. Having it ready to go at the beginning of the week helps me cut down on unwanted Starbucks runs and from tapping into all those Keurig cups at my work. Seriously! Think about how many of those mini cups a single person can go through! I make my cold brew with a pour over and compostable filters so there isn’t any waste. Plus, it tastes SO much better than Keurigs.

Do you like to meal prep each week? What are your favorite meals to prep?

2 thoughts on “First Meal Prep of the New Year

  1. Aaaah I miss Russo’s SO MUCH! I went grocery shopping today and it’s so disheartening how much produce is unnecessarily packaged in plastic. I buy bulk items like beans and oats at a co-op once a month, but it’s too far away for me to do my regular grocery shop.

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    • I always forget about Russo’s because there is so much produce and so many people, I get a little overwhelmed! I’m hoping to do a few posts about mail services that are available for those that don’t have easy access to places like Whole Foods or Russo’s. Stay tuned! 🙂

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