The glory of meal prep
For a long time I thought that ‘meal-prepping’ was reserved for enthusiastic gym-goers who needed to monitor their calorie and protein intake by way of steamed greens and creepy, pale chicken and sad brown rice.
HOW WRONG I WAS.
Since having Hunter, I have gained new respect for those of you who prep their meals as well as seeing the benefits of it in a very real way. Even just a few days ago, Hunter was having a particularly clingy day. All of a sudden it was 3pm and I realised I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. I started to feel faint, my hands started to shake, I was out of breath. I ended up shovelling an entire packet of children’s ravioli that Hunter wasn’t a fan of into my mouth.
I have wanted to have meals ready and prepped ever since I realise how hard it was to schedule in my own meals with a little human in my life. I have tried to do it a few times, using a few different methods and nothing has stuck. I end up just snacking throughout the day. I do not recommend this as a life-style choice. I have always been healthy; I have always eaten well. My body started to feel really berth, and my mind even more so. I wasn’t having set meals, instead just grazing when I was hungry and most of the time it was just whatever I could grab out of a packet easily.
That was, until, I was walking through Big W and came across Sally O’Neil’s The Meal Prep Plan. This book has completely changed the way I eat and, in turn, the way I parent and the way I live. What is so great about this book is that it is SIMPLE. Not only are the ideas and practices easy-to-achieve, but the recipes are the kind that you will ACTUALLY cook and that don’t require you to go to the shops and buy an entire bottle of avocado oil only to use 2ml of it in one dish one time. No. All the recipes are focused around things that the ‘average’ person would already have in their fridge or their cupboard.
The other thing I loved is that Sally almost ‘gives’ permission for people to use ready-cut vegetables and ready-prepared cauliflower rice. I may have a small sliver of time where I can prepare some things but cutting down a whole pumpkin and making my own vegetable rice are not things that fit into that tiny window. So many times I have found that recipes assume the readers have a food processor out and ready to go to blitz together a whole cacophony of things, this book is not one of those recipe books. Don’t get me wrong, there are some elements in the book that require a blender or some other kind of food smasher, but the recipes do not rely on them and for me that is a huge deal.
I have only managed to do a couple of the things and make a couple of the meals that are included in this fabulous book, but already this week I have noticed a HUGE change in my energy levels and my mood. I started by simply doing my normal grocery shop but, instead of just chucking everything into the fridge in whatever space I can fit it, I consulted The Meal Prep Plan. I cleared out everything in my fridge that I wouldn’t eat or that was off. Then I grabbed some Tupperware containers and chopped, sliced and peeled my fresh vegetables and stored them in the fridge. Then I prepared the overnight oats recipe for the week and OH MY GOD HOW HAVE I ONLY JUST DISCOVERED OVERNIGHT OATS?!
Seriously, the recipe for overnight oats in this book is to die for and it is SO easy. literally three ingredients: oats, vanilla essence and whatever milk you prefer. Not only is it delicious and keeps me full right up until lunch, but the first time I had some, Hunter was gazing up at the bowl longingly. I gave him a small spoonful to try and he bloody devoured it. So now I have something else up my sleeve for Hunter!
He also ate most of the pumpkin out of my salad that very same day. Food thief.
Pete works a physical job and is not the biggest fan of salad. This means that most nights I cook very carb-y and protein-y meals. Most of the time though, I don’t feel like that. I am not the biggest fan of spaghetti bolognese and there is only so many nights I can have rice without wanting to poke my eyes out. Having all of my salad stuff and vegetables prepped meant that when I made Pete a big ‘man meal’, I was able to quickly throw together a salad for me and we were still able to eat together.
SO MANY BENEFITS PEOPLE.
This weekend when Hunter and I do the grocery shopping I am aiming to buy a few more of the protein items so that I can prepare some more of the recipes – HELLO MISO EGGPLANT (it’s only my favourite thing ever). I would love to be able to open my fridge and see that EVERYTHING is prepared and stored, but it’s all one step at a time and, with this book, I know that I will get there!
Mums are time-poor. We know them, we are them. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If you can manage to put some time aside to do some prep, I promise you that you will notice the difference. This isn’t a plug, this isn’t a collaboration, this is simply me relaying my own experience in the hope that it is able to help someone else who is surviving on breadsticks and freezer pastizzis (which are totally delicious).