A Veggi-licious Meal Prep: Snacks & Simple Roastin' Ideas
During my Whole 30 I was a meal prepping, veggie chopping maniac. And yes, although it was time consuming, I believe it was the key to my success over those 30 days. It also kept me feeling ama-ZING. Turns out your body feels pretty fabuluous and energized when you ditch the processed crap and fuel it with simple, whole foods like fruits, veggies, healthy fats and lean meats. Go figure :)
I am not strict Whole 30 anymore but I do make an effort to stick to whole, real foods for the most part. While I believe the Whole 30 way of life is a wonderful plan to follow for those 30 days, anything beyond that time period is hard to maintain. That’s just my opinion. I don’t consume a ton of bread, or booze, but I found it hard to stay social while doing the Whole 30. It's a strict plan! Sure I could still go out and hang with friends, but having to do the Whole30 inquisition at every restaurant to determine what is and what is not compliant is not ideal. I found it easier to pass on plans and stay home. Let me tell you, this buzzin’ bee is not happy as a perpetual hermit. My balance was out of whack.
With that said, the Whole 30 is not designed to be a sustainable way to live your life. Rather, it’s intended to build a foundational skill set to arm you with the knowledge to make smart, healthy decisions. It showed me how awesome I could feel by just choosing to eat healthfully and mindfully. I also significantly cut down on my Splenda use. Phew. Much needed.
For the long-haul, you take those lessons you learn from the program (the label reading, the self-awareness, the veggie PREPPING!!!) and make them apart of your everyday routine in a flexible, balanced way that works for you. No diet, just healthy habits. So … when basic beezy has a night of one too many vodka sodas and late night eats, she bounces back with a healthy crockpot meal. Seriously. Welcome to my Sunday.
Meal prep was one of the key healthy habits from the Whole30 that I still maintain today. Every Sunday I'll make a crockpot meal [usually crockpot chicken + coco-cinnamon cauliflower] and prep that in containers to take for my lunches during the week. Whatever chicken is left over, I'll use for dinners. Nothing goes to waste!
I also use my time on Sundays to chop a ton of veggies [we'll get into that below] to store in my fridge for quick snacks or one-sheet pan meals for dinners. During the Whole 30 I learned a lot about veggies. They don’t have to be bland and boring. Overtime, I’ve discovered what veggies [and combos of veggies] I like best. I’ve learned interesting ways to cook them and seasonings to use to keep things jazzy.
Below is an overview of the veggies I like to prep on Sundays and keep in the fridge throughout the week. And let’s be real, none of this stuff is rocket science. I’m sure everyone knows how to chop a head of broccoli and store in the fridge. BUT, I know I’m always looking for healthy meal prep inspiration and am curious to see how people prep for the week ahead. Hopefully it's helpful in some way :)
1. Cucumbers with S&P
Peel the cucumbers and chop into 1/2 inch rounds. Add sea salt and ground black pepper. Pretty simps!
2. Chopped celery, bell peppers, or carrots with dip [Greek Yogurt salad dressing, hummus, babaghanoush, tzatziki]
Carrots are my JAM, but when I consume one too many, my palms turn orange. No joke. It’s a problem. Just Google carotenosis - you’ll see a big ole picture my face :) SO, lately I’ve swapped out my carrot snackums for either chopped celery or chopped bell pepper slices. Dip your veggies of choice in a Greek yogurt salad dressing like Lighthouse’s OPA [YUM!] or hummus, babaghanoush [I need you back in my life!], or tzatziki.
3. Kale Chips
Ugh, I know what you’re thinking. Beezus get out of here with the KALE already. That was so 2015. #jokes. But if you chop this stuff up into bite-sized pieces, lay on baking dish, add some coconut oil and sriracha seasoning, it makes a pretty bomb chip [450 degree for 8-10 min … or until crispy]. Just sayin’!
Most often for dinner I eat some sort of variation of roasted vegetables with a protein like crockpot chicken, pork, or baked tofu.
As I mentioned above, on Sundays I will go grocery shopping and buy a bunch of veggies. I chop these up [if they require chopping] and store in the fridge for future one-sheet-pan roasted meals throughout the week.
This is a list of my veggi-licious favs:
- Cauliflower & broccoli florets [or riced versions of both]
- Asparagus stalks
- Brussel sprouts [whole, or shaved]
- English peas
- Baby Zuks
- Sweet Pots [I like the sweet potato ribbons from Trader Joe's]
- Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix or Asian Stir-Fry Mix [again, both found at Trader Joe's]
When I come home from work I can be slightlyyyy hangry, so one-sheet-pan meals are my go-to. It really cannot get easier than this. I’m a no fuss gal when it comes to cooking, so take it from me, if the veggies are already prepped, chopped and ready to go, the idea of a one-sheet-pan meal makes your life 10000x easier and keeps things uber healthy.
And yes, you could cook all of this on Sunday [meals for M-F] and store in the fridge for even quicker dinners. But I've found I like the crisp of roasted veggies. If I cook it too far in advance, by Wednesday or so, I feel like it's gone soggy. So, I just keep it chopped and roast as needed. Sometimes I'll make batches that last a couple days, but nothing longer than that.
I take a sheet pan, line it with parchment paper, and add my chopped veggies [from the list above]. I add a little coconut oil + sea salt and pepper [or other seasoning blend] and roast at 450 degrees for about 25-30 min, or until crispy. I then pair my roasted veggies with a protein and boom, dinner is served. I call this my roast n' toast :)
And that's that.
Give a big ole toast to that veggie ROAST!