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The SIMPLEST Meal Plan Ever
By Ashley Schober
In a household of two health-conscious full-time professionals (yep, serious adulting over here), figuring out what to eat for breakfast and lunch can be a pain.
You know why. Think about it. Fancy Pinterest recipes meet grocery store shopping meet actual cooking meet washing dishes meet repeat every day for the rest of your life.
Are you exhausted yet? And you’re broke if you like natural, non-processed foods (like we do.)
The result? Two years ago we decided to start meal prepping because:
1) Feeding yourself and another person is a lot of work.
2) We wanted to save money.
3) We wanted to eat better.
And, at age 29, I still hadn’t really gotten into grown up lunches – you know, the ones that include all the colors of the rainbow and the perfect protein, carb, veggie combo. My lunches moreso resembled that of the first graders I teach. But this super simple approach to meal-planning keeps my calorie count low and overall health on track. And it’s super tasty. And not hard at all. Which is why we have mostly stuck with it.
Here’s the secret: Keep it simple and very basic. Like a classic white T and boyfriend jeans basic.
Here’s the Menu—
These breakfasts are so simple they hardly need prepping. The one thing we do to prep breakfast is to make sure the berries are washed in bagged in single servings (we usually do this on Sundays. Takes 15 minutes tops). The rest we keep in open bowls in the fridge for easy grabbing when we feel like snacking.
1. Chobani Yogurt & Berries. Pro Tip: add a crushed graham cracker to make this taste exactly like pie.
2. Frozen Organic Waffles. We like Nature’s Path best. Top them off with natural peanut or almond butter, fresh strawberries, or fresh blueberries
3. Frozen Breakfast Burritos. Ours are vegetarian with egg, hash browns, grilled peppers, onion, pinto beans, and cheese stuffed inside a whole wheat tortilla wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen until we need them. Pro Tip: get it out of the freezer the night before to make reheating super quick.
When we prep our lunches, we usually do two days’ worth at a time. Our lunches typically include some combination of:
1. Sliced Turkey or Chicken on a Spinach Salad or Sandwich Thin. (We like these best.) Pair with half a cup of homemade Trail Mix (pretzels, Horizon Cheese Cows, Mixed Nuts, and Pumpkin Seeds
Lunch 2. Our FAVORITE Caprese Pasta Salad. It's just cold noodles mixed with basil pesto, fresh mozzarella chunks, and halved grape tomatoes. Pair it with Fruit Salad: ½ apple, ½ pear, raspberries, and a kiwi. (Sometimes I take a banana in my lunch bag and add it right before eating.) Pro Tip: If you mix in fresh squeezed lemon juice, these fruit salads will usually keep for two days.
Total Meal Planning Time-Commitment: We spend about 5-10 minutes each night prepping our breakfasts and lunches together. Do the math and that equals that’s less than an hour a week. Factor in an hour at the grocery store, and that’s still not much time at all.
The Final Word—
If you’re new to meal prepping, just start simple (and I’d recommend staying simple despite the elaborate plans you can find on Pinterest) since you're much more likely to stick with it. Try Monday through Friday meals prepped, but treat yo’self on Friday night and on Saturday.
Pro Tip: It’s hard to stay on track on the weekend, so just let it go, and get an extra good workout in on Sunday and eat as clean as you can.
This 5-Day meal plan seriously helped with my weight loss goals because it’s hard to cheat on your diet when the only thing on the menu is diet-worthy food that you made and packed in advance!
The amount of money and time we save is definitely worth the hour we spend prepping. So give it try and see what works for you .
The only rule: Keep it simple.
Any favorites to add? What’s your experience with work-week meal prepping? Leave me a comment with your favorite simple recipes!
P.S. You can get a cute printable of this meal plan (plus an ingredient list!) by entering your email below. You'll also more tips for simple, healthy living. right to your inbox.
Ashley Schober is super-busy first grade teacher living in the adorable suburb of Frisco, Texas with her husby Mike. In her free time she visits friends, tries new recipes, and crafts like a boss.
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