Happy Monday and welcome back to another Motivation Monday! I wanted to share about meal prep this week because it’s a great way to set yourself up for success if you’re trying to clean up your diet. I like to meal prep on Sundays – I order all of my groceries online so that it frees up time for me to do laundry or clean up around the house. When the groceries arrive, I go ahead and try to cut up and/or cook as many items as I can for the week ahead. Although it’s a few hours of work on Sunday, it makes SUCH a difference in the week ahead! Read on for some specifics.
First up is SMOOTHIES! I love to have a smoothie either first thing in the morning or after a workout, but to be honest they can be a lot of work! I started prepping smoothie ingredients a couple weeks ago and this method has CHANGED MY LIFE. Lol! Now, every Sunday I get out five ziplock bags (these are reusable, by the way! I rinse mine and re-use them) and fill them with single-serving portions of smoothie ingredients. My green smoothie is still my favorite smoothie of all time, so each baggy usually contains: 1 banana, 1 handful of spinach, half of a celery stick, 1 small cube of fresh turmeric, 1 small cube of fresh ginger, and about a cup of frozen mango. Then, all you have to do in the morning is take out your freezer bag, empty the contents into the blender, and blend away. You can add in your wet and dry ingredients at the end – for instance, I’ve been adding in a scoop of maca powder, a pinch of black pepper and I’ll squeeze half of a lemon into the blender in addition to all of the frozen items. I can not stress enough how much easier my life is when I make these freezer bags ahead of time! And now I’m not temped to skip the smoothie because I "don’t have time."
Okay, on to actual meal prep! I usually only meal prep my lunches for the week, since Chris and I like to cook dinner together on weekdays. Specific ingredients vary from week to week, but I always like to have cooked quinoa, a roasted vegetable, beans and chickpeas in the fridge. These are staples that I end up eating throughout the week (we also end up using them our dinner recipes). Every Sunday, I will usually cook up a bag of sprouted organic quinoa. Quinoa is a grain that contains all nine essential amino acids and is packed with protein (which is great if you’re plant-based!). I like buying quinoa that’s "sprouted," which increases essential nutrients like B-vitamins, Vitamin C, folate, soluble fiber and essential amino acids, and also makes it easier to digest. Quinoa soaks up the flavor of anything that you put with it, so you can make a quinoa salad or add your favorite spices to add some flavor.
Next, I like to roast some vegetables in the oven to have on hand for lunches all week. This week I made sweet potatoes (my favorite!), but I also like roasted butternut squash or brussel sprouts. I simply cut up two or three sweet potatoes into 1-inch size pieces and then place on a baking sheet. I add some organic extra-virgin olive oil, chili powder, turmeric powder and a pinch of black pepper to the sweet potatoes (I eyeball it) and mix it all up with my hands until the sweet potatoes are evenly covered. Then I pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, usually flipping the sweet potatoes once during the process.
Black beans and chickpeas are super easy to meal prep – I take them out of the can, rinse and drain them, and put them in glass containers to store in the fridge. If I bought any vegetables for the week, like celery, carrots, or bell peppers, I will also go ahead and cut those up too and put them in glass containers. These make a great snack when paired with some organic hummus, and if they’re already cut up then they are super easy to grab throughout the week (rather than reaching for chips or junk food!).
For a typical lunch, I’ll combine a lot of the items that I’ve made into one big bowl and add a dressing. This week I made a dressing out of soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, an avocado and a little bit of water – it tastes cheesy because of the nutritional yeast and is sooo good! So a typical lunch could be a bowl of sprouted quinoa with roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, chickpeas, half of an avocado and the cheesy cashew dressing.
Kitchen Gadget I’m Loving
To go along with meal prep this week, I am really loving my new glass tupperware containers. I recently replaced all of our plastic tupperware with glass tupperware – plastic tupperware can contain BPA and other toxins that can be released into your food when you microwave them! They also can’t be recycled, so most of the plastic tupperware is probably sitting in a landfill somewhere. Glass is much better for you (and the environment). I bought these glass containers, which come in a package of 12 and contain all different shapes and sizes. We really like storing single ingredients in these. I always put quinoa in the biggest one, and use the smaller ones for cut-up veggies, black beans, etc. We also really like these divided glass containers for portioning out lunches for the week. They are safe to use in dishwashers, microwaves and ovens (just take the lid off before heating).
I got some questions about what I did with our old tupperware – I ended up keeping most of it and finding ways to re-purpose it throughout our house. I used a bunch of them to store makeup brushes and makeup, kept some around for leftover paint, and I also kept some on hand for Thanksgiving this year (we always send food home with our family!). If you have any other good ideas, let us know in the comments.
Book of the Week
This week I’m reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler. I think this book should be in the curriculum of high schools as mandatory reading for all women! I didn’t know how body illiterate I was – I’m only a couple hundred pages in and have already learned SO MUCH about my body and feel so much more empowered as a woman. In the book, Weschler explains the Fertility Awareness Method, which can be used whether you’re avoiding pregnancy or trying to achieve it. By just paying attention to your body and your period, you can learn so much about your own health. I’m a huge fan of natural birth control (I personally don’t want to ingest artificial hormones), and the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) provides a way to do that – and if you are wanting to get pregnant in the future, FAM can also identify any fertility problems BEFORE running to the doctor and getting involved in invasive diagnostic tests. I highly recommend this book, as it is an excellent resource book for ANY woman, no matter what life stage you’re in.
This Week, Eat More…
Berries! It’s August and blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cherries are all in season (although they won’t be for much longer, since fall is coming). There are several ways to incorporate them into your diet – I like mixing them all together in a big bowl and topping them with a little bit of cinnamon and honey for dessert at night. Mix them in to your morning oatmeal or whip up a batch of baked oatmeal cups to grab and go for the week ahead.
Clean Beauty Product of the Week
It’s become really important to me to use a natural deodorant, but MAN! It’s hard to find one that actually works. I tried a couple of brands and always felt like I smelled like body odor no matter what. Last week, I picked up this natural deodorant at Sephora and I was surprised to find that it works really well! (MUCH better than the other brands I had tried.) It’s 100% plant-based and also glides on clear so you don’t have to worry about it rubbing off on your clothes. I read some reviews and it doesn’t seem to work for everyone, but I am really impressed with it!