We’ve all been there; you’re getting ready to run out the door when you realize you forgot to pull together a lunch. You have two options, raid your snack stash, or order take-away again, not ideal. Enter meal prepping, an hour or two spent in the kitchen over the weekend that’ll take the weight of making food choices during a busy week off your shoulder, keep your nutrition on track, and will likely save you some $$$ if like us, you tend to order takeaways instead of making a meal out of cheese puffs and an apple.
Here are our four favorite benefits of making meal prepping a part of your week:
1. You save time and stress
Plain and simple, decision fatigue is real. Our weeks tend to get hectic as we balance work, life, family, our health, and so much more. With meal prepping, you will answer one of the most repetitive questions known to man, “What am I going to eat?’ and reclaim precious time. Allowing you to spend more time with others, read a little more of that book you’ve been enjoying, get back into journaling, or FINALLY start that daily meditative practice you’ve been talking about starting for months.
2. Save some $$$
With or without inflation, there aren’t many people that would be bummed about keeping some extra cash in their bank account. This is especially true if you do your best to eat a balanced nutrient rich diet. Meal prepping saves money because you can often cut down on the amount of things on your grocery list, can buy ingredients in bulk, cut down on impulse purchases during your grocery shopping, and for us DoorDash addicts, spend less money eating out.
3. Keep yourself on track
Like we’ve already said, life can get busy, but that doesn’t mean your nutrition has to suffer, especially if meal prepping is a part of your weekly routines. By planning out your weekly menu and prepping it all ahead of time, you are not only able to ensure it’s checking all the nutritional boxes you need checked but also that your nutrition will not be the sacrifice you make when the going gets tough. The saying ‘Failure to prepare is preparing to fail,’ comes to mind.
4. You might unlock your inner chef
If you do not consider yourself the handiest person in the kitchen, a weekly meal prep just might be the perfect way to build some confidence. By setting time aside to cook a few recipes when you truly have the time to do so, you’ll be able to zero in on learning your way around the kitchen, learn some new techniques, and experiment with new recipes… Culinary School here we come!
Ok, so have we convinced you to tackle your first meal prep, or try a few of our favorite gut friendly meal prep recipes? Below you will find four recipes, and a shopping list, that we love for a well-rounded week of feasting that your gut will love you for undertaking.
Some of the ways this meal prep is good for your gut:
- Each recipe puts the focus on fiber.
- It’s no secret that veggies are good for you and this meal prep provides a wide variety that your gut, and microbiome, will love.
- It embraces fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut.
- Four words, Papaya & Mango Kefir Smoothie, a tall glass of enzymes and good bacteria for your gut.
Some notes on personalizing this meal prep:
You need more carbohydrates:
Consider sources such as potatoes, quinoa, legumes, and oats to maintain the focus on fiber and gut health.
You need more protein:
We like to focus on quality and ease of preparation to keep your meal prep on track. It’s not uncommon to see a beautiful piece of air fried salmon on top of our power bowls, or a hard-boiled egg or two next to our daily Papaya & Mango Kefir Smoothie.
You need more fat:
Drop the processed oils like vegetable oil and pick up a bottle of high-quality olive or avocado oil, and drizzle that on top of your sides or salads. Consider switching your protein sources to fish like salmon that are packed with the good stuff. And snack on foods like nuts, seeds, whole fat yogurts, soft cheeses, and avocados to up your fat.
Now onto the recipes…
Breakfast: Kimchi & Veggie Egg Bites
Nutritious, and filling, these protein-packed egg bites are perfect for a meal prep! And, your gut will love that they are loaded with kimchi, spinach, shitake mushrooms, and scallions.
- 10 large eggs
- 3/4 cup of milk of choice
- 1 tsp olive or avocado oil
- 1 cup of chopped scallions
- 8 ounces shitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup kimchi, chopped small plus more for serving
- 1 tsp kimchi liquid
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350° and prepare a 12-cup muffin tin by either using silicone muffin cups or by spraying a metal tin generously with olive or avocado oil.
- In a large bowl whisk together eggs with milk of choice and season with salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet over medium heat sauté scallions in oil until lightly browned.
- Add shitake mushrooms, sauté until tender.
- Add kimchi, kimchi liquid and spinach to the skillet and cook until spinach is just wilted about 30 seconds.
- Add veggies to muffin cups and pour egg mixture over veggies until muffin cups are close to full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until eggs are set and no longer jiggle.
Lunch: Gut Loving Power Bowl
This bowl features roasted vegetables, probiotic-rich sauerkraut, fresh greens, and a delicious apple cider vinaigrette that will make for a nutritious lunch you will look forward to eating!
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup avocado oil, or olive oil
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/4-inch nub fresh ginger, peeled
- 1 small clove garlic, peeled
- sea salt, to taste
Probiotic Power Bowls
- 4 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 large red beet, roasted and chopped
- 1 small head cauliflower, roasted
- 3 cups arugula
- 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced, optional
- 1 cup sauerkraut
- 2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped
Make the Dressing:
- Add all ingredients for the dressing to a small blender and blend until smooth.
- Set aside or in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Make the Power Bowls:
- Divide the cooked rice between 5 large bowls. Top with roasted beets, roasted cauliflower, dandelion greens, green onion, sauerkraut, pumpkin seeds, and raw walnuts.
- Drizzle the dressing over each bowl when it’s time to eat and enjoy!
- Note: If you would like to add a protein to your bowl, we love grilled chicken, fish, or tofu on top.
Snack: Papaya & Mango Kefir Smoothie
A refreshing break during the day that will provide your gut with the enzymes and fiber it loves. We like to chop up the ingredients in this smoothie, throw them in a baggie, and store them in the freezer until I am ready to blend.
- For one smoothie
- 250ml (1 cup) kefir
- 1/2 chopped mango
- ½ cup chopped papaya
- 1/4 cup chopped pineapple
- A handful of spinach (approximately 1 cup)
- 1 Date
- Throw all the ingredients in a blender, blend until it reaches your desired consistency, and enjoy!
Dinner: Lemon Chicken Sheet Pan
This recipe is one of our very own Fairy Gutmother’s Recipes. We love it because of how easy it is to prepare, and because the use of fresh veggies makes for a beautiful dish.
- 4 chicken breasts
- 4TBS olive oil
- 4TBS bone broth
- 2 lemons, juice & zest
- 4TBS oregano, chopped
- 1tsp sea salt
- 1tsp black pepper
- Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 squash, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1C asparagus, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- Feta to taste
- Kalamata and green olives to taste
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Combine oil, broth, lemons, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and mix.
- Add chicken to a mixing bowl and coat with 1/2 of the marinade, reserve the rest for the veggies.
- Toss chicken in marinade until coated.
- Place in refrigerator for at least an hour to marinade.
- In the meantime, chop all veggies and line a baking sheet with tinfoil.
- Add veggies to sheet pan and spread so it’s evenly covered.
- Place marinated chicken on top of veggies and place in oven for about 30 minutes or until internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.
- Remove from oven, top with feta, olives, and optional additional oil and seasonings.
- 2 lemons
- 1 Squash
- 1 Zucchini
- 1 Bunch of Asparagus
- 2 Red Onion
- 3 Mango
- 1-2 Papaya
- 1-2 Pineapple
- 5 Cups Spinach
- 1 Large Beet
- 1 Head of Cauliflower
- 3 Package of Arugula
- 8 Oz Shitake Mushrooms
- 1 Jar Sauerkraut
- 1 Jar Kimchi
- 1 Nub of Fresh Ginger
- 1 Head of Garlic
Meat & Dairy:
- 4 chicken breasts
- Feta Cheese
- Small Orange Juice
- 10 large eggs
- Milk of choice
Pantry & Frozen:
- Olive or Avocado Oil
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- 4TBS bone broth
- red pepper flakes (optional)
- Kalamata Olives
- Green Olives
- Raw Pumpkin Seeds
- Raw Walnuts
- 5-6 Dates