Meal Prep for the Non-Meal-Prepper

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

I get it- spending hours in the kitchen to end up with, like, 4 options for the week is overwhelming. We're making it easier, quicker, and more balanced to help you succeed all year!


Whether you're working from home or getting back into an "on-the-go" routine, these recipes are simple, easy, and help you stay on track by having healthy options at the ready any time you reach for them.


*These recipes are a sneak preview of what we'll be sharing in Desk Job Jumpstart starting 01/15/2021, alongside mindset tools, nutrition education, and movement challenges! If you're still holding off on setting goals because you always come up short, join us in this 4-week healthy habit workshop. You'll leave with resources and tools you need to build healthy habits all year long!*


Set it and forget it big-batch prep:


-Sugar Free Dried Cranberries-

*Did you know that dried cranberries at the store typically contain about 26g of sugar?! Your daily goal is to stay under 25g/day if you're a female and under 28g/day if you're a male...do you really want to blow it all on 1/4c of craisins?*

Ingredients:

-1 bag (12oz) fresh cranberries

-1tsp (2 second spray/light coating) vegetable oil

-1-3tsp honey (1tbsp = about 17g sugar for the batch)


Health Benefits:

-High in antioxidants (anthocyanin)

-Heart healthy dietary fat source

-May help reduce seasonal allergies, lower in sugar than cane sugar + maple syrup


Preparation:

-Preheat oven to 200 degrees F

-Bring a large pot of water to boiling, then turn off the heat

-Add cranberries and let sit for 3-5 minutes. BE CAREFUL! You'll hear the skins pop- they can splash water and cause burns.

-Drain cranberries and transfer back to pot

-Add oil + honey (I like to use a spray can of oil to lightly coat the berries) and gently stir. It's ok if some of them break/smoosh! Make sure all berries are evenly coated

-Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and place in the oven, uncovered, for 4-6 hours (check them at 4 hours- they should look like the ones you buy from the store. If they are still too bouncy, keep cooking. Be careful not to cook too long or they will dehydrate.)

-Cool completely and store in an airtight container or zipper bag in a cool, dry, dark place

*This recipe can also be used (with some time/temperature modifications based on size of slicing + moisture of fruit/vegetable) to oven dry most other fruits and vegetables including strawberries, apples, pineapple, kale, sweet potato, and more! Have fun and show us what you come up with! Use caution and never leave the house while the oven is on.)


-Homemade Sugar Free Granola-


Ingredients:

-3c rolled oats

-1c bran flakes

-1/2c honey (local if possible)

-1/2c vegetable oil

-1tbsp cinnamon (1tsp any other desired spice such as nutmeg or ginger)

-3tbsp chia seeds (save money by purchasing in bulk, use in smoothies, oatmeal, and more!)*

-1c mixed nuts of choice

-No more than 1c dried fruit

-Dash of salt to enhance flavor

*omit bran + use rice cereal for a GF option

Health Benefits:

-High in fiber + complex carbohydrates

-High in fiber

-Better blood glucose management

-Heart healthy dietary fat source

-Promotes circulation + lymphatic drainage, may reduce inflammation factors

-Contains heart + brain health omega fatty acids, iron, calcium, and protein

-Clean protein, contain omega fatty acids

-Provide antioxidants (with less sugar if using homemade dried fruit)


Preparation:

-Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (I like to bake the granola at the same time as I bake dried fruit!)

-In a large bowl, mix all desired ingredients well, so that all pieces are lightly coated in both oil + honey

-Line a baking sheet with parchment paper + lay granola out in single layer. It's ok if you can't see the parchment paper through your mixture, but do avoid large clumps forming before baking

-Bake for about 90 minutes, stirring the mixture every 20-25 minutes

-When the mixture starts to look more dry than wet, remove from oven and place parchment on a wire cooling rack

-*If you like more clumpy/crunchy granola, CAREFULLY form clumps using hands or tongs/silverware before the mixture is completely cooled

-Once cool, store in an airtight container or zipper bag in a cool, dry, dark place. Keep it fresh longer by removing as much air from storage container as possible



Never knew it was cheap and easy homemade:


-Homemade Hummus-

Ingredients:

-2 cans chickpeas (unsalted* if possible, keep the liquid from the can!)

-1 fresh lemon, squeezed

-1tbsp minced garlic

-1/4c tahini (this glass jar + storing in the fridge will make your tahini last longer*)

-1/2c cold water

-2-3tbsp olive oil

-salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste

*This makes a MASSIVE amount of hummus, so if you live alone or don't eat it every day, I recommend you start by halving the recipe and see how much you like + use it.


Health Benefits:

-Clean protein source, high in fiber to improve satiety

-High in vitamin C, citric acid, and helps support kidney function

-Hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, supports healthy immune system

-Contains protein + omega fatty acids from sesame seeds

-Any fluid added to food helps improve your hydration!

-Heart healthy dietary fat source

-Some herbs + spices have powerful anti-inflammatory + antibacterial/anti-fungal/antimicrobial properties

-Not a health benefit, but these ingredients are SO cheap that you can purchase them all for the same amount as a container of hummus and make 3x more


Preparation:

-Start by peeling the chickpeas. I KNOW it is tedious and seems ridiculous, but you really need to do it. I read someone say the same thing and I didn't do it the first time I made hummus. I still regret that decision. (Put a few at a time in a mason jar and shake well for easier removal!)

-Add the lemon juice and tahini to a food processor first and get some air in it for lighter hummus

-Add the chickpeas, garlic, and seasonings to the food processor and process about 2 minutes

-Scrape the sides, add olive oil, and blend for another 2-3 minutes until the hummus is smooth and creamy

-Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Serve with fresh oil, spices, nuts/seeds, garlic or whole chickpeas if desired



-Hibachi Style Ginger Salad Dressing-

Ingredients:

-About 3 large carrots

-2 celery stalks

-1/4 yellow or white onion

-2tbsp minced or about 2-3in fresh ginger root (grated)

-1/4c + 1tbsp olive oil

-1/4c + 1tbsp sesame oil (I recommend this one)

-1/4c soy sauce or coconut aminos

-3tbsp rice wine or apple cider vinegar (I prefer ACV*)

-1-2tbsp sugar free peanut butter* (omit for allergy or ginger only flavor)

-salt + pepper to taste (about 1/2tsp)



Health Benefits:

-High in beta carotene to supper eye + immune system health, high in fiber

-High in water content + fiber

-Contains oligosaccharides, may support gut function (do not use if you are sensitive to onions or other high FODMAP veggies, substitute for 1/2tbsp onion powder)

-Supports digestion + soothes stomach discomfort

-Heart healthy dietary fat source

-Heart healthy, high in dietary copper + magnesium

-

-Contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits

-Clean source of protein, heart healthy dietary fat source


Preparation:

-Chop all ingredients into small pieces

-In a blender or food processor, add carrots, celery, onion, ginger, and spices. Start to blend on low to get veggies super fine

-Slowly add in remaining ingredients + blend until smooth

-Store in a leftover (cleaned) salad dressing bottle, or in a mason jar with a lid.

*This mixture will be thicker than a normal salad dressing, so be careful when dispensing. I recommend removing the top to your container and gently tapping the bottom to get it out. If you'd like it to be more smooth, add water 1tbsp at a time while blending until desired consistency is reached.



Zero waste big batch recipes:


-Homemade Vegetable Stock-

Ingredients:

-Vegetable scraps (basically anything but broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower!)

-Water

-Desired spices (I always add salt, pepper, turmeric, and red pepper flakes or cayenne)

-Mason jars, gallon size freezer storage bag


Health Benefits:

-Antioxidants are often packed into the skins of vegetables, this way they don't go to waste!

-Adding spices can enhance flavor and improve nutrient absorption, as well as add anti-inflammatory + antimicrobial benefit

-Also not a health benefit, but this saves a TON of money and is so, so easy.


Preparation:

-Any time you have carrot ends, potato skins, onion skins, ginger or butternut squash peels, pepper membranes, asparagus ends, or other veggie scraps, store them in a gallon sized freezer storage bag. Add to the bag until it's full!

-Once your bag is full, add the contents to a large pot + fill with water until all scraps are covered. If you want to have exact measurements or stronger broth, only add as much water as you want to end up with, plus about a half cup to account for lost liquid the scraps will soak up

-Place the pot on the stove and add any desired spices, bring to a boil

-Once boiling, reduce to simmer for about 30 minutes. For a less strong broth, do less time, for a stronger broth, let it simmer up to 1 hour

-TRANSFER TIP: when straining the liquid, I recommend putting your strainer face up inside your stock pot. Carefully tip it over, pouring into another clean pot or large container. Once the majority of the liquid is drained, remove the strainer, rinse the bottom, and pour remaining scraps into the strainer (over the clean broth pot/container). Once all the liquid is removed, discard of your scraps

-Allow the broth to cool completely, then transfer to desired containers. I like using mason jars because they hold a 2c serving size, and I also like to freeze it into ice cube trays and store them in a large freezer bag to last longer. 1 ice cube typically equates to 3-4tbsp of broth- great for deglazing a pan or making a sauce



-Less Sugar Aquafaba Whipped "Cream"-

Ingredients: