Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tips & Tricks: Make Ahead Meals (Clean Eating Style)

If you've been around here long, you know I'm a huge advocate for meal prep and clean eating. For those of you who may not be familiar with my make ahead meals, I'll share my original post to get you started...

Before I get into the details, I want to throw this out there: I have so many wonderful fitness and health readers here. I could use all the help I can get with this clean eating thing. I wanted to share my start with you and hopefully y'all will correct me if I'm not getting it right. So comment away, okay?

When I first began researching how to eat clean, I was just simply amazed. My weight loss has been stalled for quite a while now and I have discovered that I'm not eating a very balanced diet. I have pretty much cut out all carbs and fat. While that idea works for a while, our bodies are not designed to run without it. I have made the decision to use all of the food groups in a balanced, healthy way.

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I went to Aldi to buy the majority of my food. I spent a little over $107.00 at Aldi and around $10.00 at Walmart to get enough food to feed my family for around 2 weeks. 

I think one reason we hold back from eating healthier is that there's an assumption that it costs a lot more money. If you use your freezer properly and prepare your meals in advance, you can save a ton of money! 

My family loves to eat out. I've showed you over the past year how to take control of your eating while dining out, but now I want to show you how to make it work better at home. My husband and I are saving up for something special and we can save a ton of money by eating meals from home. My husband also tends to really overeat and put junk into his body more if we eat out as well. I want to take care of my family better and this is one way I can do that. 

Eggs are a great source of protein. If you hardboil them in advance, you can use them on salads, over rice, or for breakfast. I prepared about two and a half dozen for the week since my husband and son love them. 

While my eggs were cooking, I preheated my oven to 350 degrees. I bought frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts and tenderloins. After they thawed, I put them in my casserole dishes. I sprinkled Mrs.Dash on them. It adds tons of flavor and variety without adding any sodium. 

As my chicken baked in the oven, I began prepping salads for the week. It helps if you set out all of your containers and keep a garbage can beside you. You can fly through this!  

I also premixed a larger salad for us to eat on through the week. 
I tried to use different types of greens and toppings to give us variety. 

For some of our lunch meals, I cooked some couscous. 

And topped it with the baked chicken. This can be paired with the salads and give a very balanced, filling meal. 

After one hour of shopping and two hours a baking/prepping, I have everything ready for my family to eat during the week. I went ahead and cooked up my ground turkey. I plan to use that in my Skinny Stuffed Peppers

Breakfast is so much easier to pull off now. I used whole wheat mini-bagels topped with all natural peanut butter and raisins. My family loved it! 

There's no more running around trying to figure out what to bring for lunch as we head out the door. We just grab our premade containers and run. 

I've thrown two weeks of protein into the fridge and freezer. Everything is pretty much all laid out with plenty of variety. As I go, I will share how I've made my dinners. 

Instead of spending $150.00 per week on groceries, then eating out some nights because we're too exhausted to cook or the food has already spoiled, and putting junk into our bodies....

I have breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and dinners for two weeks, all stored properly....with less than $60.00 per week spent and everything prepared in three hours. 

No more cooking for an hour at home while my son whines at my feet and my husband tries to distract him. No more running out to eat, spending so much money on it, and having no time to do anything else in the evenings. No more feeling sluggish with putting junk into our bodies. 

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  1. Excellent post! I too food prep on Sundays. Infact I just wrote a (small) blog post about it here:

    And THANK YOU for getting us hooked on Aldis! Seriously, they should start giving you commission, lol. My husband (who graciously does all the grocery shopping) has started a spreadsheet and compares Aldis receipts to our local grocery store. We typically save $40/week, WOW!

    1. I'm nuts about ALDI! I'm so glad you love them too!!!

  2. This is a great theme! I need more make-ahead ideas! Thanks for hosting (:

  3. Thanks for sharing some tips of clean eating. I am not very good at meal planning. Do you have the same menu for a week?


    1. No, we switch it up all the time. Once you kinda get used to the basics, you can put a spin on things.

  4. I have a few quick and easy recipes that I think are clean...

    For a different spin on the chicken, you can take your frozen breasts--1 or 2 is good, put them in a slow cooker and place some roasted red peppers on top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours and when they are cooked take out an shred with 2 forks. It is the most delicious chicken that you can add to anything from salads to toritllas or couscous.

    I got a recipe for veggie burgers from skinnytaste.com. You can get all ingredients at Aldi. I just mash a can of black beans (drain them really well first), set aside. Then in my food processor I throw in a red pepper, green pepper, 1 egg, a cup of quick oats, a few dashes of hot sauce and some black olives if I have them open. Pulse until they are completely mushed and then combine with the mashed black beans. The mix will be very wet, but you just immediately put that on a cookie sheet by the handful and flatten to look like burgers. It makes like 6 decent size burgers. Freeze for a few hours and then transfer to a ziploc. To cook them, I spray a small frying pan with Pam and then cook 7 minutes per side--don't touch them. They will get nice and crisp on both sides. I like to eat them with avocado and a little salsa on a whole wheat tortilla.

    Hope you give the recipes a try!

  5. Love these suggestions, I've just recently started meal prepping a bit more at my house now....and it is great for busy weeknights when I just have NO idea what to make and so much better than my kids having mac & cheese or frozen waffles for dinner (that will still happen on occasionally, but we are eating a lot healthier now!)



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