In the past, I’d wind up eating half of what I made and calling defeat with a beer.
This went on for a while. I didn’t know how much to make and of what. Two cups this, four ounces that….some people weigh their food! Like…it’s just food and I want it in my mouth, ASAP.
Clearly, I hate spending hours in the kitchen most of the time. I would use my dinner leftovers as lunch day after day. Because I would rather be outside, at all-day brunch or watching Limitless on Netflix on Sundays. Have you seen it? I’m crushing hard on Brian.
But my friend Erin kills it at meal prep and she finally convinced me to try it with an actual outline of what I could make. You should follow her on snapchat/Instagram at @rinnieeats for meal prep ideas. I’ve been making stories on Instagram, too (@liftlivelead).
After I gave it a try, I noticed I had more mental space at night during the week because I wasn’t fretting about the next day. I wasn’t spending as much $, either.
So I’ve been sucking it up. And I actually like it.
My rules are simple: The recipes must be 1) Not a PITA (Pain In The Ass) 2) Tasty 3) Must have enough protein & vegetables. It’s easy to not get enough protein, so I’m sneaking it in any way I can.
Some of you have asked for a couple recipes. I’m going to list a few I recently conjured up on the go, out of desperation for something tasty and quick, and they turned out legit.
P.S. It’s obvious I was not meant to be a food Instragrammer, so don’t let the pictures discount the flavor.
Cookie Dough Protein Bites
(Picture above: Makes ~20 balls but I never end up with this much because I like to taste test frequently)
- 1 cup vanilla protein powder
- 1/2 c Enjoy Life chocolate chips
- 3/4 c The Bee’s Knees peanut butter with honey
- 1 TBSP chia seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
The quality of peanut butter (or nut butter) you choose will affect the flavor so while The Bee’s Knees or Justin’s nut butters may be a few more dollars, it’s well worth the flavor.
Drizzle agave nectar or honey as desired for extra dough-y feel.
Roll in size of beer p…I mean ping pong balls. Leave them in freezer in separate baggies (2-3 each).
Smokin’ Gains Rub
- 1 TBSP Smoked paprika (more for extra smokiness!)
- 1 TBSP coconut sugar
- 1 TBSP sea salt
- 1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper (I think a little more would work well here – I only had a grinder and was, well, too lazy to keep adding more. Not kidding when I say I like quick.)
Massage in your lean, red meat and cook as you like! This would work well on shrimp, too.
Sweet Protein Pudding
It looks like baby food, but it’s phenomenal as a side, pre-workout or post-workout energy pick-up. Did you know that when your body tastes carbs, even just a little, it tells your brain energy is on its way? I learned that from reading Faster, Higher & Stronger: How Sports Science is Creating a Generation of Super Athletes.
- 3-4 Mashed sweet potatoes (I bake them with other vegetables for my sides and take them out the last)
- 1/2 c vanilla protein powder
- 1/2 c Bee’s Knees peanut butter (optional but I’ve always liked the combination of sweet potato and PB)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 TBSP agave nectar (or honey)
You could experiment with greek yogurt for extra creaminess and protein, but I found the plain kind to add a tangy taste and it didn’t mesh so well.
This can be served warm at breakfast with cinnamon, brown sugar, nuts or straight up cold for some fuel. Pack them in little round containers. Yeah baby!
Ground Chicken Taco Salad
- 1-2 lbs ground chicken (depending how much you want to prep)
- 2 TBSP taco seasoning – I like to make my own so it’s less salty than the pre-made mixtures. Google a recipe you like. I always have cumin, chili powder, garlic, paprika, onion powder, sea salt and black pepper on standby.
- Green peppers and onions to sauté separately with 1-2 TBSP olive oil
- Plain greek yogurt
- Shredded cheese of your preference (optional)
- Avocado to slice and put on the top (I wait until the morning to put in fresh slices)
You cook the chicken with the seasonings first. Split your servings up in containers. Spoon the sautéed onions and green peppers on top of each. Sprinkle cheese and splat down a huge dollop of plain greek yogurt in each container, close them, and shake it up. Chipotle, move over.
You’ll see I don’t tell you how much to pack for each day. Instead of weighing my food, I pack based on my palms (handful of vegetables, 1-1.5 palm sized protein) and on how long my days are. Portion control, people!
One last tip, based on personal experience: Eat before you meal prep.