Meal prep is an essential part to any health conscious individual's arsenal. Healthy meal delivery is not always a option, so preparing healthy, delicious choices ahead of time ensures nutrition packed meals and snacks that satisfy and leave your body fueled. The key is variety. Having multiple options available for different combinations will keep things exciting and delicious. The following is a list of ten items that are packed with health benefits and easy to meal prep ahead of time for a wide variety of meals the entire family will enjoy!
1) Roasted Chicken Breast
Roasted chicken breast is a versatile, easy, and delicious food item that is a must have in anyone's meal prep routine. It is high in protein, giving you all 9 essential amino acids. A simple recipe to prepare calls for rubbing both sides of the breast with olive oil, salt, and Creole seasoning and convection baking at 400 F for 25 minutes, flipping after ten. Ensure an internal temperature of 165 F. Leftover chicken breast can be cooled and tossed on a salad or mixed with mayonnaise, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and celery for a delectable chicken salad. Serve with brown rice and cooked broccoli.
2) Roasted Salmon
Some people are intimidated by the idea of cooking salmon under the pretense that it is difficult to get right. With only some olive oil, fresh chives, salt, pepper, and tarragon (optional), you can be serving up salmon like the fanciest restaurant. Simply rub the salmon down with the oil, salt, and pepper, and bake skin side down on a piece of foil at 425 F for about 12 minutes. Drizzle with more oil and sprinkle with herbs. Salmon is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and many other nutrients. Serve with brown rice and roasted asparagus.
3) Hard-boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs can be made one dozen at a time and stored in the fridge for a snack any time. For perfect hard-boiled eggs, simply place eggs in a pot of cold water over high heat. When they start to simmer, remove from heat and cover for 17 minutes. Drain hot water, rinse in cool water, and let stand in cool water for 20 minutes. Perfect as a protein packed snack or sliced up in a salad with leftover roasted chicken.
Broccoli is so versatile! It can be cut into pieces and eaten raw as a snack or it can be lightly roasted to go along with roasted chicken or salmon as a classy side. Simply drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast on a flat pan at 425 F for 20 minutes, flipping each piece halfway through baking. Enjoy this dish with its added kick of vitamin K, Vitamin C, Fiber, and much more. Roast enough to serve as a side for multiple meals.
Asparagus can be roasted or pan seared, by itself or in combination with other vegetables such as bell peppers and onions. To roast, toss in a bowl with olive oil, Parmesan, minced garlic, salt, and pepper, and bake on a baking sheet at 425 F for 12-15 minutes. Asparagus is a good source of vitamin K and other nutrients and pairs well with roasted salmon and brown rice.
6) Bell Peppers
Whether cut into strips and roasted with asparagus or sauteed with onion to serve over rice, bell pepper is a must have for any meal prep champion. To saute, heat butter or olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Toss in thin sliced onion and bell pepper with salt and cook until tender and golden, about 7-8 minutes. Bell peppers bring variety to the table and compliment any dish while bringing hefty amounts of vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, C, and potassium.
Prepping kale can be as simple as removing veins from leaves and chopping to later have in a salad. Kale can also be a vitamin K and fiber packed addition to any smoothie. Here are 15 easy smoothies to make with kale. My favorite full breakfast includes kale, avocado, and orange blended with water until smooth. You can also try kale chips by roasting prepped kale with olive oil and salt on 350 for 10-15 minutes.
8) Brown Rice
Brown rice can be served as a side to any protein with vegetables and is high in fiber and protein. Easily make enough for the week to avoid waiting for it to cook each night. For 6 servings, combine 1 cup of rice with 2 1/2 cups of water or broth (recommended) over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to low, and cover for 40-50 minutes, until tender.
9) Sweet Potatoes
Use sweet potatoes and brown rice interchangeably to keep things exciting at the dinner table. Sweet potatoes can be roasted or mashed for a colorful pop of B vitamins and other nutrients. For mashed sweet potatoes, add potatoes to a pot of salted boiling water and cook until tender, 20-30 minutes. Drain water and blend with an electric mixer on low, slowly adding milk until desired texture is reached. Season with butter and/or maple syrup for a real treat!
10) Almonds or Cashews
Finally, no meal prep arsenal would be complete without a vessel for healthy fats and proteins. Having almonds or cashews on hand for a healthy grab and go snack is essential. The best part is, no prep required! Most nuts come roasted and salted for immediate use. Try spicing up a salad with a handful of nuts to satisfy that crunch craving.
Healthy meal prep ideas don't have to be overly complex, and meal prep services don't have to be the default option. Simple ideas like these can be used as a foundation to build from. Anyone can easily tackle these top ten and make it their own - the possibilities are endless. Save time. Eat well. Meal Prep.