New Year’s resolution — Meal Prep

As we all know every new year comes with new resolutions. Even when you tell yourself you won’t make any resolutions this year because you just seem to fail every year — you still end up making one.

This year me and Jake decided to live healthy. And no — not mad healthy drinking green smoothies all day long, snacking on kale and sweating the life out of us in the gym, but normal healthy. Delicious and fun healthy. First things first — the research. I didn’t spend much time on researching the healthy living options, my main thing was to eat healthy without major changes in my routine. My best friend Pinterest gave me a ton of ideas for heathy foods, healthy living tips and stuff but we decided to jump in and not only eat healthy but prepare the meals for all week. I found my inspiration — It is absolutely amazing, looks super delicious, it’s healthy and time saving, it doesn’t want you to starve to death to get fit and eat well. It gives you recipes for healthy meals you can make on Sunday evening, put them in the freezer and live your life healthy all week + since you don’t have to cook every day you definitely have some free time for your hobbies, a little exercise or something else. As we found the recipes and went through the page we absolutely fell in love with the idea and got so excited we couldn’t wait for the new year to start!

We started with cleaning out our kitchen (and mind) and getting rid of all the food that we don’t want to eat anymore — pork, fresh cream, pasta, cornflakes, mayonnaise, ketchup, popcorn, butter, chocolate and stuff like that. It helps because even if you want a snack, you can’t find one and you’re basically stuck with an apple or pear. And no judgement — we didn’t bin the products, we just gave them to my friend so they won’t go to waste.

As we wanted to try more recipes and we weren’t sure we could eat the same thing for 5 days we decided to make not 2 dishes, but 4 instead so we can switch over but still stay healthy. For us two it means 20 portions of healthy ready made meals — 5 lunches and 5 dinners each. After we cleaned out the kitchen we realised we need a plan and so it begun — piece of paper and a pen, writing down the combinations and recipes of the meals we wanted to make, how much we need.. and of course the shopping list! All the recipes in My Body, My Kitchen are measured for 5 servings, so it’s easy enough to make your shopping list. Basically, if you want to start this kind of lifestyle My Body, My Kitchen will be your best friend and the biggest help. They share their lifestyle, recipes and beliefs with everyone and makes our healthy lifestyle choices much easier. Just be careful, plan well and read all the information, because when we came back from the shop and started to cook, turns out I was too excited about all the recipes I didn’t even read them from start to finish and we ended up missing some products. Our shopping cart looked different than usual, mostly full with fresh herbs, vegetables, fruit and spices. We spent approximately 120 euro,

All the ingredients

but it was just because we bought things like kitchen scales, food containers, a lot of spices we didn’t have at home and other stuff we will use more than once. Also we bought some bottles of water, fruit for snacking, 0% fat greek yogurt, berries and other stuff for breakfast. Basically, it’s completely true — one meal costs approximately 3 euro and it is super cheap for a delicious and heathy meal. If you go out on your lunch break all you can get for 3 euro is a cheeseburger and cup of coffee in McDonald’s.

Anyway, let’s move on to cooking. We spent 6 hours in the kitchen making total of 7 dishes to combine for our meals — Green, Red and Yellow Rice, Creamed Cauliflower, Garlic Roasted Cauliflower, Roasted Carrots, Basic Baked Chicken, Sautéed Turkey with Tomato and Cilantro and Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash soup. Of course I failed with some measurements and my research, I didn’t realise that the soup should be served with some meat or fish and greens to make a complete meal, but, oh well, we had soup on it’s own for the first day.

Another thing we changed — the turkey. We don’t like turkey. Sure, we want to learn to eat it, but not just yet, so we changed

Uncooked chicken filets

the turkey to chicken and hoped that it would be as healthy as the latter. It is, right? I didn’t google this

so please leave some comments and your thought son this. Another thing — the Basic Baked Chicken, we used chicken fillets instead of chicken legs. I’d say it doesn’t matter as long as you keep yourself on the right track, eat healthy, don’t snack on chocolates and crisps. And by the way, this chicken, even if it’s called basic, is perhaps the best chicken I’ve ever had — “delish”!

The cooking process wasn’t as easy as it seemed — we cried a lot of tears because of the huge amount of onions we needed to chop, we realised we don’t have enough mixing bowls, not enough large pots and the baking sheets — they’re just flying! So it took us much more time because we needed to cook one dish at a time, we couldn’t multitask as much as we’d like. We spent 6 hours in the kitchen but it is totally worth it, I don’t have to spend a minute in the kitchen to make lunch or dinner all week, so it is definitely time saving. When you’re finished, put all the storage containers with your delicious meals in the freezer. Every morning take your lunch and dinner out of the freezer and put it in the fridge for the next day, later just microwave it and it’s ready! As about the recipes — if you like spicy food go with it, but if you’re not used to it you won’t be happy at the start. For the first day all I felt was peppers in my mouth, everything seems too spicy for me, but I think I can get used to it. Or if I would know it will be this spicy, I would add less spices and increase it with every week just to make sure my tummy doesn’t have fireworks inside after every meal. The dishes contains a lot of spices and garlic, herbs. I have always been fussy about food,

Nearly all ready to go in the freezer

but this really works for me. I need to get used to eating avocado or broccoli as I am not super in love with them, or the smell of Cilantro just disgusts me, but it tastes amazing in the food. I understand that there are things I have to sacrifice on my way of healthy eating, but this Meal Prep program is amazing, you still eat great, delicious food, the size of the portion is absolutely spot on and the time saving aspect is great too. For example — I love cauliflower but I wouldn’t cook it every day. Now I just enjoy it with every meal.. well at least for this week. I have to start to plan our meals for next week too, but I doubt we will cook that much, perhaps we are fine with eating the same lunch and the same dinner for a week. Anyway, for the first few weeks we will probably stick to the recipes but as we get the hang of it we could add something ourselves or create our own recipes.

Here are some tips from my 1st week experience:

  • Research and make a plan, read recipes carefully;
  • Take your time and write down the shopping list — this prevents you from waisting your time and money in the shop and it helps you not to get confused or buy unnecessary products;
  • Stay organised — it is time saving to know what to put in the oven first and which recipe takes the most time. We ended up sitting and waiting for butternut squash because it took 50 minutes in the oven to get ready — better planning would save us the time;
  • Add spices carefully and one at the time — if you’re not too sure about how spicy the food will be, taste it now and then just to be sure it’s not too spicy for you;
  • Don’t let the recipe rule your world — our taste is different as well as our kitchen equipment, don’t count on your kitchen timer — open the oven from time to time to check on what’s going on there. Accidents happen, I burned the butternut squash a bit too!
  • Stick to the plan! I am no expert in this but I know how much I love my can of coke, chocolate bar and ice-cream and I could have killed for them for the first few days, but as the days goes by, it gets easier and you start to own your new lifestyle choice.

I do like reading and researching about what is healthy and what’s not, sometimes I find something so surprising I feel like I’ve been born and raised in the woods, but at the same time, we learn every day. Some time ago I really thought that healthy food means plain and boring meals, greens with no seasoning, eating just carrots and kale and never again having real delicious food. Well, it’s not true. Of course, it is hard not to reach for a chocolate bar at the lunch break and eat an apple instead, but I guess we just have to get used to it and after a week or two it will get easier. This Meal Prep thing works for me, at least I think it does and I’ll keep doing it. And another fun thing — you still have your breakfast and meals for Saturday and Sunday when you can explore other healthy options to cook or just go out! We make breakfast every morning, or prep it in the evening for the next day, but that is another story.