Friday, February 17, 2017

Weekends are for...Meal Prep?!

At one point in my life, my weekends were spent shopping, eating out with friends, and doing other fun things that had nothing to do with productivity. And then, it changed. It all changed. Now my weekends are spent at the gym, at the grocery store, meal planning, meal prepping, doing laundry and washing dishes from all of the aforementioned meal prepping. And I kinda like it.

Eating healthy, whether it's clean eating, Weight Watchers, Paleo, Whole 30, low carb or whatever diet you are doing, is not easy. It's definitely not quick and, if you aren't smart about it, can be really expensive. Planning and prep are key for surviving the week.

Since I do most of my meal planning on the weekends, I thought I would share a typical meal planning/prep with you on Friday. This way, you can start this weekend too! Or just steal my recipes for a quick grocery list. Either works.

On Saturday, I sit down with my meal planning essentials: cookbooks, iPad, meal planning notebook and my iPhone. I use my iPad for my recipes on my recipe keeper app and for Pinterest recipes. I use my iPhone for my Wunderlist app, which is where I keep all my lists. I have a grocery list and running Thrive Market and BJs lists. If there are certain sales going on (ie - Harris Teeter has a sale on seafood), I put that next to items on my list. I also bought a spiral bound notebook just for meal planning. I have been known to go back through it and steal entire weeks that are already planned out.

What a typical week's plan looks like. 
It's a pretty simple process. I plan out the week on paper first. What nights I'm doing two classes and won't be home until late, nights that we have plans with friends or parties, etc. Then I plan out my week. A typical week looks like this:

Sunday - I do big meals on Sunday nights. I have plenty of time and can do more involved recipes that take multiple hours. These meals usually provide dinner and two days of lunches. Aaron can't leave work for lunch (and it's cheaper), so we always make sure to have some leftovers for lunches. These are some of my favorite Sunday meals:

Buffalo Chicken Casserole from Juli Bauer's Paleo Cookbook

I also like to make back-up meals on Sundays. I've gotten really, really good at them and they are life savers.  Here's the basic formula: meat (chicken or pork chops usually) and two vegetables.  I used to roast on a cookie sheet, but everything works so much better in my glass 11x15 pans. Three boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in half or 6 porkchops make about 5 meals. I have been using prechopped sweet potatoes because of the convenience and tossing them in olive oil, a little cinnamon and sugar and house seasoning (recipe here, you're welcome. Consider it like Frank's Red Hot and put it on everything). Then I like to do a green like green beans or broccoli. The meals look like this and take about an hour to prep and then cook (350 for 30 minutes).

Back up meal prep - two veggies and a meat. Sometimes I made two pans if I want lots of back-up meals!

The finished product!
Monday - I'm doing a class Monday, but I'm getting home at 7:15, so I go for a meal I can have done in about 30 minutes.

Coconut Curry Shrimp - Pretty sure I help keep the curry business up and running. This is also easily made Paleo by using cauli rice instead of regular rice. I'm a big fan of the 90 second rice too!

Tuesday - Tuesdays and Thursdays are my double class nights. One night I cook, the other we eat back-up meals. On the nights I cook, I'm usually doing a crock pot recipe. I've found some really good ones and even made a few of my own!

Slow Cooker Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce by The Food Charlatan
Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff by Show Me the Yummy
PW Cheesy Sausage Rigatoni in the Crock Pot

Wednesday - This has become "teach Aaron how to cook" night. I get tired of cooking every single night, so I've been doing easy recipes that he can either do himself or I can talk him through. These are some of our favorites.

Sausage Egg Roll in a Bowl
Spaghetti and Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti are also in rotation.

Thursday - This is my off night. Back-up meals!

Friday - I try to make Friday a fun and easy dinner night. Weekend before last, we made ribeye steaks with garlic herb butter and parsnip fries. Parsnip fries, by the way, are the best thing ever. This is the only night that I don't try and get leftovers out of since we usually still have one or two left over from the week.

So that, folks, is a typical meal plan in the Zinn Life. We stick to meals that we can make in 30 minutes or less and I'm even teaching Aaron how to cook so it's not always me! What's your favorite way to meal plan?


  1. Ahh I wish I had read this post the day you put it up lol! I posted today about how I've been in a meal planning slump and want to get organized again. I'll have to try some of these recipes! Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Thanks for sharing! I prep everything ahead on Sunday, so I do very little work serving throughout the week (I'm laaazy). Made pre-packed wheatgrass smoothies, turkey hamburger soup, salmon cake sliders (for hubby, I'm GF), strawberry-balsamic salmon salad, and vegan mushroom tacos for this week :)