Does the idea of meal prep sound appealing but feel totally overwhelming? And maybe just a bit too boring? Haha. I’m with you, I used to shudder at the thought of those 5 identical containers all lined up side by side, eating the same thing day after day. But as you may know If you’ve been around here for awhile, I’ve found a better way!
You might be familiar with my take on Meal Prep using The 3-2-1 Method (I love hearing from you guys who are using it already!) to nail your weekly prep in 1 hour without sacrificing flavor or variety! It’s the only way I’ll ever do it from here on out, and nothing makes me happier than seeing how it has transformed the way you guys approach cooking, and helped you find some serious satisfaction whipping up healthy meals!
I’ve shared a bit about this strategy with you guys here before, but I’m so excited to finally have a video to really walk you guys through the steps! I know for a lot of my clients, having a visual is super helpful.
You can watch the full video here, or if you’re more of the reading type, I’ve summed it up for your below.
I’ve also put together this free Guide to Mastering Meal Prep. I’d recommend downloading it now, before you continue, so you can just fill in the blanks and have your week planned out in the next 10 minutes as you watch the video!!
Are you one of my 321ers who’s already tried this method?? Leave us a comment here or on over on the video! I’m sure you’ve come up with even more of your own tips that we could all benefit from!
Before I get ahead of myself here, the first step is the grocery shop. I know this is a dreaded task for a lot of you so hopefully last week’s Grocery Shop & Meal Planning Made Easy helped solve that problem! Ok, ready to dive into the prep?? I promise it’s a game changer!
STEP 1: Limit Prep to 6 Key ingredients with The 3-2-1 Method
If you’re not familiar, here’s how it works. Pick:
3– VEGGIES (ie: green beans, bell peppers, Brussles sprouts, asparagus, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower etc.)
2– PROTEINS (ie: tempeh, tofu, beans (pinto, black, kidney etc.), chicken, turkey, chickpeas, fish etc.)
1 – CARBOHYDRATE (ie: rice, quinoa, couscous, yams, millet etc.)
That’s it! With just those 6 ingredients, you have the building blocks you need for completely different (not to mention balanced and healthy) meals every night!
STEP 2: Turn to Fast Foods.
I’m not talking about the McDonald’s Drive-Through here. My version of fast foods are nutritious, whole foods that take little to no extra prep but allow you to turn your 321 Ingredients into completely different meals!
Think – bins of greens, spices, whole grain wraps, tortillas or buns, canned goods like tomatoes, tomato sauce, or paste, curry paste, stocks or broths, or ready-to-eat veggies like cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, snap peas, or pre-cut broccoli or cauliflower.
Time Saving Tip: As you’re starting to plan out your meals for the week – purposely plan for leftovers that you can take for lunch – two birds with one stone!
STEP 3: Order Your Prep 1-2-3
What really makes the difference in ultimate time efficiency is the order that you prep your ingerdients! I have made the mistake one too many times of starting with the veggies, only to end up spent after half an hour of chopping and dicing, never to make it to prepping anything else.
So, the solution is to follow this order.
1 – Start with your 1 carbohydrate. These generally have the longest cooking time but the least amount of hands on work. So get your carb started and prep the rest while it cooks away!
WHAT: This week I’m doing brown rice. Add it to to the rice cooker. Turn it on to cook for approx 40- 45 minutes.
2 – Next, prep your 2 proteins. These require a bit more hands on than the carb but once they’re in the oven or on the stove, all they’ll need is a flip or maybe a couple of stirs.
WHAT: This week I’m doing chicken breasts and roasted chickpeas
Chicken -Drizzle with avocado oil, season with salt and pepper, and any other desired spices. Bake in the oven at 400F for 30-40 minutes
Chickpeas – I’m leaving one can as is to add to curries or salads throughout the week. I’m spicing the other can up with avocado oil, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and roasting in the oven at 400F for about 30 minutes. These will go into tacos and a buddha bowl.
3 – Finish with your 3 veggies. These take the longest hands on prep time which is why they often get left out, but the anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, high fiber powerhouses that they are, make them worth the prep! Wash and cut these up while everything else finishes cooking.
WHAT: This week I’m doing cauliflower, purple cabbage and bell peppers.
You can see how I’ve prepped everything in the video here – waiting for link!
When you prep in this order it really helps to make the most of your time so that you can be cleaning and packing everything up as the cooking finishes up. In about 1 hour everything should be ready to go!
STEP 4: Safe Food Storage
In order to limit your grocery shop and prep to just 1 day per week, there are a couple of things to consider.
- Carb & Protein – these won’t last in the fridge all week, recommended storage is generally 3-4 days. Store anything you’ll be using later than that in the freezer, to be taken out mid week.
- Veggies: Wrap veggies in paper towel to soak up any extra moisture and prevent from going soggy or slimey.
Note: Storage time may vary for different foods. Check the Food Keeper App for more information on food safety and storage times!
STEP 5: Enjoy Your Ready to Go Meals!
Ok, your meal prep is done for the week! That wasn’t so painful was it?! I honestly can’t even tell you how much of a difference this has made in our household in terms of less eating out, saving money and getting our veggies every night!
Basically all you have to do when you’re ready to get dinner going every night is add in your Fast foods and dinner is served!
To show you exactly what I mean, here are the meals I’m making this week with my 321 Ingredients and Fast Foods. As you can see, seven completely different meals form just those 6 core ingredients! These are just some ideas but you can get creative and choose your own “Fast Foods” or ingredient combos to make your favorite meals!
|MEAL||321 INGREDIENTS||FAST FOODS|
|Chicken Buddha Bowls with Spicy Peanut Dressing||Chicken
|Crunchy Roasted Cauliflower Chickpea Tacos||Roasted Cauliflower||Corn tortillas
Yogurt (I use instead of sour cream!)
|Red Thai Coconut Curry||Chicken or Chickpeas
|Red Thai Curry Paste
Optional additional flavorings: fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice
|California Chicken Burgers with Garden Salad||Chicken||Whole grain buns
Sriracha Yogurt Sauce (sriracha and Greek yogurt)
|Roasted Cauli & Herb Salad||Roasted Chickpeas
Jalapeno Mint Dressing:
Jalapeno, mint, oliveoil, honey, white vinegar
|Mediterranean Chickpea Grain Bowl||Roasted Chickpeas
|Whole Grain Wraps
Onion (saute with other veg)
Greek yogurt (can sub for sour cream)
So what do you think? Are you going to try this out?Please let me know if you do! Nothing makes me happier than seeing your success stories! I’d love to hear what you’re doing with all that extra time 🙂
If there’s anything else I can add, let me know in the comments below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! And, if you haven’t already grabbed it, don’t forget to download your free Guide to Mastering Meal Prep!
LIKE THIS RECIPE? SHARE IT WITH SOMEONE YOU KNOW WILL LOVE IT TOO!