How Ingredient Prep Turns Into Meals

As I shared recently, I’m a big ingredient prepper over the weekends. If I just prepped full meals ahead, I’d be disappointed at some point during the week that the flavors just weren’t what I was craving, and as a result wouldn’t be satisfied. Plus, I think it’s more fun to enjoy the same ingredients with different flavors most of the time. This post is to show you how some simple ingredient prep translates into meals during the week.

Being an ingredient prepper doesn’t mean I put zero thought into the meals we will eat during the week, though. Last weekend was a great example of when I jotted down some ideas for meals and then prepped a few ingredients so that things were ready.The ideas I jotted down were for dinner:

Lunches:

  • Ingredients thrown together with different toppings
  • Leftovers
  • Eggs and avocado toast

Breakfast

Snacks

  • Fruit & nut butter
  • Yogurt, fruit & granola
  • Granola bars (loving these love crunch ones) with cashew butter
  • Mushroom jerky (yup, it’s a thing!)
  • Valentine’s Day treats
  • Snacks currently stocked in our offices
    • Tim: square bars, hummus, crackers, buffalo almonds from Whole Foods, peanut butter, rice cakes

What We Actually Did While Prepping

This all took somewhere between 1-2 hours; keep in mind we had an infant to take care of at the same time. So, if you have no kids at home, 1 hour is all you need!

  • Baked a large spaghetti squash
  • Baked sliced oriental yams and purple potatoes
  • Roasted some veggies
    • carrots and a red pepper in one small dish
    • cauliflower and green beans from frozen on a baking sheet
  • Made pancake batter (technically done in the morning for breakfast)
  • Cooked a pot of lentils from dry
    • I made extra in addition to what we would need for the lentil tacos
  • Made a large frittata
    • Tim’s main contribution this week for him and Cooper 🙂
  • Sliced and diced produce
    • not much, but segmented blood oranges for Cooper
    • diced veggies below for appropriate meals
  • Blended a pesto in the mini food processor

What This Looked Like During the Week

I think the snacking is pretty straight forward. Get hungry, eat a snack. But, I did also pair almond butter with oriental yams a couple of times, and stole a few of Cooper’s peanut butter puffs. I’m also going to skip over breakfast as you can see our options above 🙂

Monday
  • My lunch on campus
  • I packed and heated up oriental yams and lentils over fresh spinach, topped with the pesto I made and crushed red pepper
  • Tim’s at work
  • Dinner Southwest Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
    • The above link goes to an old recipe before I knew what I was doing on here, but gives you an idea of how to prep what we made Monday! I also added a hefty helping of nutritional yeast into the mix. We topped off the squash bowls with avocado and ate some Beanfield’s chips, too.Since we prepped the squash, the night of I just took 10-15 minutes to cook the stuffing ingredients on the stove.
Tuesday
  • My lunch post-workout
    • 2 eggs with avocado toast and kale
  • Tim’s at work
    • Leftover stuffed squash
  • Dinner: Spicy Peanut Tofu Stir Fry
    • I wasn’t feeling tacos since we had Mexican flavors last night, so I switched our planned Wednesday dinner for tonight!
        • Prep: cook rice (another option below) and chop onion, carrots, cabbage; hold off on cutting the pepper since oxidation deteriorates the vitamin C. You can also chop the tofu the night ahead and store in a container with a dish towel to drain the liquid more quickly and efficiently.
      • Night of: cook the veggies and cook the tofu, make the easy sauce out of pantry ingredients while they cook. If you didn’t cook rice ahead, you can make quick cook rice or soba noodles or open up a couple of frozen or pantry rice/quinoa pouches.
Wednesday
  • Both of our lunches were leftover stir fry
  • Dinner: Lentil Tacos
  • This is a go to week night meal when we’re craving Mexican flavor.
  • Prep: cooked lentils from dry (can also just purchase them cooked) and chopped onion
  • Night of: cook it all in a pan in 10 minutes and fill taco shells or add to greens for a taco salad with some chips on the side
Thursday
  • My lunch post workout:Leftover tacos with an egg on top cause I was HUNGRY after exercise
  • Tim’s lunch at work was also tacos
  • Dinner:
    This is where true flexibility comes in to meal prepping and planning. It was our first Valentine’s Day as parents and was a busy enough week that I totally forgot to get a babysitter. I was also feeling stressed and a bit anxious, so for me, this means I need a super high protein meal with lots of veggies, rather than the garbanzo pizza we had on the menu (usually adequate in protein for me, but needed a nutrient boost).

    • We put in an order at our local Italian restaurant (I added their great portion of large shrimp to their delicious cavatelli and broccoli) and made some pan roasted Brussels sprouts to snack on while Cooper ate dinner and we waited to pick it up. If it had been a night where I had more prepped in advance and was nervous it would spoil, into the freezer the prepped food could go and I could try again next week!
Friday
  • Italian leftovers for both of our lunches
  • Pizza for dinner!
    • Who doesn’t love pizza on a Friday anyway?
    • I bumped the garbanzo pizza idea to today for Cooper and I and pulled some sprouted grain dough out of the freezer to thaw for Tim’s pizza (Pro tip: always have dough on hand!). With some jarred pizza sauce and random veggies in the fridge, pizza night was pulled together in minutes.

Let me know if these type of posts are helpful!

I did this one based on audience requests, and will be doing it at least a few more times once I start training for spring and summer races. Happy weekend!

Leave a Reply