Happy Monday Everyone! I hope y’all had a great weekend and a wonderful day celebrating the fatherly figures in your life🤗 This past weekend, I had fun visiting with my college besties and honoring Pat Donahue #BESTDADEVER. One of my friends suggested a blogpost idea and I am so excited to share it (Thanks Nat!!). Today’s blog post is titled: “Saving Time & Meal Preppin”. For this post, I wanted to highlight various ways to save time, while still eating healthy, during the school year and summer.
I would say one of my least favorite parts about teaching is packing a lunch!!! I do not know why, but I just don’t like having to make my lunch ahead of time–worrying about how the food will stay fresh, what I should buy at the grocery store, etc. One way that I have made this task not as terrible is through meal prepping. Every Sunday during the school year, I would prep my lunch and set it all aside for the week. It was like an assembly line! I would make and pack all my sandwiches. Then I would pack my fruit. And lastly I would pack my veggie of the week. In preparing these meals, I would package them in either Ziplock bags or Tupperware and store them in the refrigerator. On Sunday, I would pack my first lunch and add an ice pack, sparkling water, silverware, and napkin and store it in the fridge. Then, every afternoon after school, I would unpack my supplies from that day’s lunch and repack it with a new ice pack, drink, and utensils. IT WAS AWESOME and saved SO MUCH time! Sometimes the last thing you want to do in the morning or evening is make your lunch, so I would just get the hard part done on Sunday (maybe it would take 15 minutes) and be all set for the week.
Nooooowww, what would I make for lunches you might ask? Here was my typical lunch. As you can tell from the list, I am pretty *basic*, but it was such a yummy and filling lunch that I didn’t really have to change it up. Every week I would have a:
- Chicken Sandwich
- Sara Lee Oven Roasted Turkey from the deli is BOMB 🔥
- Dijon Mustard–if you want more of a sweeter taste and less savory, try Honey Mustard
- Breading of some sort–throughout the course of the year I went from using Kangaroo Honey Wheat Pita Pockets, Sandwich Thins, and my current favorite Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread!!!
- Green grapes or MOON GRAPES (when they were in season…OMG if you have never tried moon grapes before YOU.HAVE.TOO. They are these funky shaped long dark purple grapes that are crunchy and oh so sweet. My favorite produce man, “Jim from Produce”, at my local Mariano’s introduced me to them and they are delicious. I only have had them during the months of maybe October and February…they are not always at Mariano’s).
- Whatever berries are on sale–sometimes I have raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or a combination!
- Baby carrots OR sugar snap peas (if I’m treating myself because these are more expensive).
Lol and that was my typical lunch throughout the week. Nothing fancy or exciting. Every now and then I would pack some leftover pasta, squash, or taco salad from the night before. However, the lunch I listed above was my favorite. I also enjoyed it because it was healthy and filling. If you are not like me and can not eat the same thing for the entire year lol, there are so many meal prep ideas on Pinterest. Here are some of my favorites that I have had before or have had during the summer:
- Turkey Taco Salad
- Turkey and Cheese Pinwheels
- Greek Chicken Bowl
- Hawaiian Pizza Chicken
- Chicken, Rice, and Broccoli Bowl
Meal preppin’ is awesome because it saves you time during the week! Want to know how to save time during the week and make healthy dinners?! Well, let me introduce you to my two best friends: Crock Pot Meals and Trader Joe’s Freezer Section!
Do you have a Crock Pot?!?! If you do not, stop what you are doing right now and head over to Amazon to buy one. Crock Pots SAVE lives. Really, they do. If you do not know the wonders of Crock Pots, let me tell you. They allow you to have fresh, homemade meals right in time for dinner without the hassle of cooking one to two hours after work. The Crock Pot does all the cooking for you. Especially if you find the right recipes–how I like to refer to them “Dump Recipes”–there is minimal effort involved. You just dump all your ingredients and GO! I am actually making a Crock Pot meal for dinner tonight since I am working at Loft (*Selfish plug come visit me from 1:00-5:00pm💕)
Then, add a frozen veggie, a salad, and/or fruit on the side and you are GOOD TO GO for a great meal. Here are my FAVORITE FAVORITE FAVORITE easy Crock Pot recipes:
Now, my other best friend is the Trader Joe’s Freezer Section!! There are so many wonderfully healthy freezer meals that you can make in 30 minutes or less. Put them in the oven and/or stovetop and cook while you are doing other things—catching up on emails, reading, cleaning, laundry, watching the Bachelorette from the night before, etc. Please follow @traderjoes and @traderjoeslist on Instagram for even more ideas! ORRR when you go in the store, head right to the samples. I have found many of my favorite recipes from sampling them from the oh-so-kind workers.
Here are some of my personal favorites (all of these ingredients can be purchased at Trader Joes):
- Cheese Cauliflower Pizza topped with Hot & Spicy Pickles– don’t knock it until ya try it
- Sweet & Sour Chicken with Vegetable Fried Rice
- Turkey Corndogs with Fries
- Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Chimichurri Rice and Ground Turkey
Soooooo, I hope these meal prep ideas and recipes save you some time and take a shorter amount of time than it did to read this entire blog post😜 I just wanted to share with you all that there are amazing options out there that help ya save time and are healthy.
I am Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness and these meal prep hacks and recipes are ways that make me feel happy throughout the year as they help me save time and allow me to focus my energy on other things💕 I hope you all have a wonderful week! Be on the lookout for a new vlog or blog post about my “Nailed It” adventures…follow me on my instagram @missdeclaireinghappiness for moreeee💕