Food

MEAL PREP ON A BUDGET: Tips, Recipes & How-to

MEAL PREP ON A BUDGET: Tips, Recipes & How-to

Save time, money, stress, and yourself from sad desk lunches with meal preparation This is what one of my clients calls “an insurance policy on future decisions.”

Meal Prep How-to:

  • Set aside one/two hours a week.

  • Choose a recipe you love!

    • I recommend one recipe per meal, per week.

    • For variety, try varying the dressing / sauce.

    • Allow the season to dictate ingredients, too.

  • Go grocery shopping with your recipe.

    • I like sturdy greens - cruciferous - which you must learn how to massage!

  • Make your recipe!

  • Batch and stash for the week.

    • Dress at work to prevent sogginess.

    • If using soft lettuces or watery veggies, keep separate and combine the day-of.

    • If something comes up and you get lunch with colleagues, save it for another meal, or snack need.

Budget Friendly Tips:

  1. Shop Bulk Bins:

    • Build your own trail mix or granola.

    • Buy grains, nuts & seeds, beans, flours and even treats / snacks there.

      • Snacks add up and packaged products are pricey. Try fresh or dried/non-perishables for your desk/car/bag.

    • My favorite bulk finds: Dried coconut, banana chips (unsweetened), sprouted nuts, and flax/chia/hemp seeds.

  2. Produce Best-Practices

    • Produce itself can be very affordable! Just remember to buy enough.

    • Fresh not chopped / packaged produce = cheaper and less oxidized.

    • Shop WITH recipes. Srsly.

    • Plan ahead (aka meal prep)

  3. Don’t Forget Frozen Food

    • Frozen-food sales volumes rise for first time in five years.

      1. Frozen meals are an easy way to control portions, and there’s typically very little waste.

      2. Can also be quite nutritious if food is great quality when frozen.

    • Freeze your own fresh berries, soups, or smoothie-makings ahead of time.

      1. I still prefer *produce* over any “designed” food like veggie burgers or full meals, but do what’s reasonable for you.

And now, the recipes …

Supernatural Smoothie Recipe

simple green smoothie.jpg

My tried-and-true, and a client favorite ...

  • 1 banana or 1/2 C steamed yam (or both!)

  • 1/2 C berries or other fruit (frozen is fine)

  • 1/2 bunch or ~2 C spinach

  • 2 tbsp Acacia fiber

  • 1 tbsp flax, chia or hemp seeds

  • Water or coconut water as needed (about a cup)

  • Blend well, drink slowly.

Optional additions: 3 tbsp hemp protein like Nutiva or Bob's Red Mill. (Consider using occasionally rather than daily.) 1+ tbsp cacao powder. Any herbs, spices, or special extras you like.

Video: Rachelle for Well+Good on the benefits of cacao and how to make herb-infused dark chocolate (includes recipe!)

Things that have never been more popular: CBD and cauliflower—and now cacao. The superfood is a staple in healthy recipes, snacks, and desserts. But beyond the taste, are there any legitimate benefits of cacao?

Enter Well+Good’s new video series, Plant-Based, which aims to dig deep (pun intended) into all things that grow in the ground and how they impact your health and nutrition. For the first episode, we talked to herbalist and holistic nutritionist Rachelle Robinett to get the goods on all things cacao and, TL;DR, I really want to run to Whole Foods and grab some cacao nibs right now.

Cacao is not the same as chocolate. Like cocoa powder and chocolate, it comes from the cacao bean, but cacao is made from unroasted, cold-pressed beans and without added sugar. This helps it preserve a very impressive nutrient profile, says Robinett.

“Cacao is very nutrient dense,” says Robinett. It’s high in antioxidants as well as nutrients like magnesium (which can help reduce stress), potassium, and iron. Cacao is also high in healthy fats to help us stay satiated and energized, she adds.

Another perk to cacao is its alkaloid content. Alkaloids are naturally-occurring compounds often found in plants; the alkaloids in cacao, Robinett says, “interact with different neurotransmitters in our body and help us feel good.” So, yeah, there’s a reason why eating a piece of dark chocolate makes you feel so damn good.

All of this makes cacao a great before-bed snack. “I am a huge fan of cacao or dark chocolate before bed,” Robinett says. Cacao has only minimal amounts of caffeine and considering its magnesium and alkaloid profile, it’s something to try when you want to calm down, she says. Yet another reason to look forward to bedtime, IMO!

For more on the benefits of cacao, plus a delicious dark chocolate recipe straight from Robinett, be sure to watch the video above.

this story originally appears on Well+Good