Because I follow what some consider to be a “restrictive” diet, I often get asked which foods I miss most. And to be honest, there aren’t many foods that I miss all that much (I’m sure many of you are rolling your eyes at that statement). Like anything, we get used to a new normal and as a result I typically crave healthy foods and give little thought to the processed foods that I used to eat.
What I do miss most is convenience. Following any type of real food diet makes it difficult to be spontaneous and find compliant foods on the go. I miss eating out at restaurants without looking at the menu in advance and driving the waiters crazy with questions. I envy my coworkers who buy lunch every day of the week (although my wallet is definitely better off). Most of all, I miss the free time that is now designated to shopping for and cooking meals.
When I first started eating a paleo style diet, I was constantly thinking about what my next meal would be and was so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of preparation and cooking involved. I never loved cooking, so I searched for the quickest, easiest paleo recipes that I could find. Luckily, there are so many great sites with recipes that fit any style of eating, from vegan to paleo!
There was definitely a steep learning curve over the first few months on this diet, but once I perfected a few recipes and developed a routine I felt like a seasoned pro. I’m a big fan of Sunday meal prepping, and highly recommend it to anyone trying to stick to a healthy diet. I typically cook large batches of food on Sundays and eat portions throughout the week or freeze food for later. It’s tempting to reach for convenient, unhealthy options when you are busy and can’t find time to prepare a meal. But if you plan ahead and prepare healthy options on a lazy Sunday, you will set yourself up for success.
Some people like to portion out meals for the week. I prefer to meal prep buffet style, then mix and match foods throughout the week to avoid boredom. Choose what works for you and get cooking!
Here are my top five Sunday meal prep ideas to set you up for a healthy and happy week:
A definite staple! I love any recipe that involves a Crockpot, since it involves minimal attention and is almost impossible to screw up. Shredded chicken is a versatile protein that can take on the flavor of any dressing or seasoning you add. I love cooking this with fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or sage. Depending on the size of the chicken this can make A LOT of food, so I typically freeze a few portions in Ziploc bags to save for weeks ahead. You can also use the bones and make bone broth in the Crockpot after removing the meat.
I love making sheet pan roasted veggies with a little salt and pepper, LOTS of healthy oil, and whichever spices and herbs I’m in the mood for. These are great to throw into a salad for lunch or as a side for dinner. There are so many different types of veggies that you can roast, and most involve the same simple steps. My personal favorites include carrots (especially baby carrots if I’m too lazy to peel and chop), mushrooms, zucchini, and butternut squash.
Chopping veggies for the week ahead
Although I do a lot of cooking on Sundays, I do some additional cooking mid-week as well. I find it helpful to wash and cut veggies in advance to make weeknight meals quick and easy to cook. It’s also great to have raw veggies on hand already washed and chopped, ready for snacking!
Ground turkey (or any ground meat)
Similar to shredded chicken, ground turkey is an easy protein source that you can throw into any salad or stir fry for a filling and satisfying meal. You can add different spices and herbs, like ginger or turmeric, or keep it plain and simple with salt, pepper, and coconut oil.
The easiest of all Sunday meal prep recipes! Hard boiled eggs are great to have on hand for breakfast or snacks on the go.
What are some of your favorite meal prep ideas?