"deconstructed meal prep"
When most people think of meal prep they think of this:
Well that is fine if you don’t mind eating the same thing everyday and don’t have anyone else to feed. But for the rest of us: we don’t have three hours to spend in the kitchen, we have kids and spouses to feed, and/or we don’t want to eat the same exact thing everyday.
So what is “deconstructed” meal prep? I make or prep a number of items that can be easily used in any meal or snack. So I don’t necessarily make a full meal in my meal prep.
My general goal is to make 2 proteins, 2 veggies, 1 starch and 1 sauce or topping on Sunday. My cooking is generally done in batches when I am already in the kitchen cooking breakfast, lunch or dinner or if the kids are busy playing I will sneak in some chopping or prepping.
The following are a list of some of my common meal prep items.
Proteins: Easy protein is critical to meal prep. I like to prep one protein that can be used for breakfast and another that can be used for lunches and at least one or two dinners. Shredded chicken, shredded pork and meatballs are great proteins that can be meal prepped in a fairly "generic fashion" but served in very different flavorful ways. For example, I may crisp up the pork to make pork tacos one night but the next night may be bbq pork sandwiches or bbq stuffed sweet potatoes. Protein meal prep staples: hard boiled eggs, shredded chicken, shredded pork, chicken tenderloins, meatballs and egg muffins.
Veggies: I prep vegetables in two ways: (1) wash and cut for quick and easy use and (2) roast or grill for the week. The key to prepping vegetables is selecting those that can hold up to being cut a few days in advance of their use or those that can hold up in the refrigerator after being cooked. My favorites: brussel sprouts, carrots, peppers and onions, broccoli and cauliflower.
Starches: Rice and potatoes both can take a while to cook but both also hold up really well as meal prep staples. A rotation of brown rice, potato wedges, baked sweet potatoes or cubed sweet potatoes, and quinoa in your weekly meal prep will help keep things interesting. Don't forget to change up the cooking method especially for your potatoes.
Sauces or Toppings: Making a sauce or some sort of topping can really take a meal up a notch. Pickled onions can be added to any meal and can almost always be found in my fridge. I then rotate through other sauces and toppings: pickled purple cabbage, homemade paleo mayo, pico de Gallo, pesto, caramelized onions and homemade caesar dressing.