Meal prepping for the whole week has become a ‘thing’. At least I think it has from the many pictures and posts I’ve seen in the last several months.
So, I figured I would give it a try considering that in addition to my personal training sessions I am now training for a half marathon in May. I knew that I’ve only been eating so-so the last couple of months and I wanted to change that. To get me started, I researched and found which foods are the best to eat for runners (something I’ll post about). While I haven’t perfected when I should eat the different foods or whether it matters, my prepped lunches have been delicious so far and its only the second week for me!
I’m sure you might be thinking that it sounds like a great idea to do, but it takes so long! I’m sure that the time can go up depending on what you decide to make for the week. That is why I decided to start small and simple.
For the first week I made quinoa, black beans, sweet potatoes, and simply seasoned chicken.
What you’ll need is:
- 1 cup of quinoa, 2 cups of water for the quinoa
- 1 can of black beans
- 4 – 5 sweet potatoes
- Roughly 5 chicken strip pieces, raw, not frozen
- Roughly 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil or your cooking oil of choice
- Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
Before starting any cooking, I got all of my tupperware out and ready on the counter. I then set up all the pots that I would need: a skillet for the chicken, a small pot for the beans, another small pot for the quinoa, and a medium sized pot with a steamer basket with the water.
The quinoa takes about 15-20 minutes, so I started that (just follow the directions on the package).
After starting the quinoa, I washed, peeled, and cut the sweet potatoes. I usually get my bag of sweet potatoes from Trader Joe’s. I chose 4 small to medium sized potatoes, which don’t very long for me to peel or cut. Be careful though, sweet potatoes are a harder potato to cut, for me at least :).
Once I had the sweet potatoes cut up and in the steamer pot, I turned it on medium and started on the chicken. Although it’s probably not the most healthy way to cook chicken, I put a little bit of olive oil, roughly 1/2 a tablespoon though I usually just do it by eye, in the skillet and turn it on low while I season the chicken. I bought chicken strips because they cook faster and are easier to cut. Plus I cooked 5 pieces which was roughly half the package, so you get two weeks worth out of it.
For seasoning, I stayed simple: Lawry’s seasoning salt, pepper, and salt. The second week I added italian seasoning. You can really choose what you want in terms of seasoning, but considering that I’m still new to the whole cooking thing, I went safe and with what I knew I liked. After the chicken is seasoned on both sides, I place them in the hot skillet.
Once the chicken is cooking, I open one can of black beans and place in the small pot. Because the beans won’t take long to heat up, I turn them on at the last minute possible. Also, stay away from the O Organics brand of black beans, it has sugar in it somehow – shocker, I know ;). So I opt for a Trader Joe’s brand or I believe the S&W brand is okay, check the labels just in case!
By this point, the quinoa and the sweet potatoes are almost ready. While they finished up, I was able to clean my cutting board and some knives. When they’re done, I portion those two out into my tupperware. I did about a scoop and half of quinoa and a scoop of sweet potatoes, but it may depend with each time you cook.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on your chicken!!
I turned the beans on at this point, checked my chicken, and cleaned up two of the pots. All that was left was the chicken and beans. Once the beans are done, scoop them into the tupperware – about 1 scoop as well. When the chicken is done, I place onto a cutting board to cut them up into small pieces. I aimed for about 4 – 5 pieces for each tupperware, depending on the size I end up cutting them into.
And voilà! A week’s worth of lunches are done! I only worked four days last week, so I only had to make four tupperware lunches. But I had enough to make five lunches, so I got to try my lunch at home :)
And it was delicious! This week I substituted broccoli for the black beans. Next week I’m hoping to do a chicken quinoa stir fry or maybe a whole grain pasta recipe. We’ll see! Also, stay tuned for the yummy dessert I made last week too!