How to Win at Meal Prep: A Formula
I am guessing that you are reading this because you truly want to create healthier lunches or dinners for your busy on the go life, but you feel a little lost? That's ok, I feel you. You've come to the right place. Figuring out what to cook to give you the best mid-day fuel is one thing, but finding time to actually do the prep is a whole other issue! Bringing your lunch is great for many reasons, most importantly the cost and nutrition risks of buying. If you spend $10/day on lunch, that's potentially $50/week--yikes!. If you buy lunch every day, unless you have the most amazing natural food store in close proximity, I can guarantee that the nutritional content of your food is less than desirable. In general, it's just better to prep your own food so that you know what you are putting into your body.
Let's break this down so the task doesn't seem so daunting. It all comes down to basic math. Once you get the basic formula, you will be the Tupperware master in no time.
Meal formula = green vegetable + protein + carb + fat (yes you need all of these!)
Unprocessed carbs, like the ones that come directly from nature, generally have more fiber and vitamins, so be bold and think outside the pasta box please. "Healthy" fats are a crucial part of a balanced diet. Please, no carb or fat phobia!
So just pick one from each column to get started on your combo!
Potato (sweet, white purple, etc.)
Bananas / plantains
Quinoa, barley, farro, other grains
Black beans, kidney beans, white beans, lentils, chick peas
Leafy greens (kale, chard, spinach)
Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts
And on and on and on...eat the rainbow of vegetables! Fruits are great too!
Nuts: Peanuts, cashews, walnuts, almonds
It's actually THAT SIMPLE! If you want to get really specific, about half your plate or Tupperware container should be a vegetable (preferably a dark leafy green such as chard, spinach, or kale), a quarter should be protein, and a quarter should be a good carb (like sweet potato or squash).
If you stick to this formula, you really can't go wrong. After you experiment with different combinations, you will find some that really groove with you. Rotate the combos, especially to take advantage of the in-season vegetables. You've got this!
A few of my favorite combos:
Chicken marbella, brown rice, and green beans
Taco salad chicken, beans, and veggies
Roasted chicken, roasted carrots, and wild rice mix
Braised salmon, wild rice mix, and avocado
Chicken salad, roasted sweet potato, and spinach
Pan chicken, broccoli, and spaghetti squash
Soba noodles, pan chicken, and steamed veggies
Pan chicken, salad, and roasted potatoes (and chicken soup)