top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureV

The Art of Meal Prepping: A Recipe for a Stress-Free Life

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

If you've found your way to this post, it's probably safe to assume a few things about you:


1. Life's got you running in circles.

2. Stress is that ever-present companion.

3. You're itching for a change in the daily grind.


Chances are you've heard the meal prepping advice from varying sources – the health gurus, the Pinterest queens, or even your well-meaning pals who can't stop raving about it: "Just start meal prepping."

Little boy pouting in front of unsatisfying meal.

The daily exhaustion of the trivial battle of “lunch” is something that we all encounter on a daily basis.

When I first started working full time, I found myself throwing whatever I could find into my lunch box and heading to work. Right around lunch time, I’d get out my disappointment of a meal and consume in an unappreciative manner. I often felt unsatisfied and tired after my quick lunch. I’d spend the rest of the afternoon dragging my feet, craving a nap, and longing for the end of the work day. In my earlier days, I would’ve simply had a cup of coffee or hurried over to a coffee shop. By 4pm I’d usually be ravenous, depleted, and malnourished. As I began to have more stress, less time, and more challenges in my life, my health started to take a serious decline. Our bodies can only go so long without proper sustenance and loads of stress.

Truth be told, I had some underlying health issues in the mix at the time. But it wasn't until I found myself in the emergency room with excruciating abdominal pain, just two months into my new job, that I had my wake-up call. This wasn't merely about "self-care"; it was a stark realization that it was time to prioritize self-preservation.



Now, let's talk meal prepping. I'd ventured into the world of meal prepping several times before, but it often meant tackling an overwhelming mountain of food prep, complete with complex recipes that felt more like culinary Olympic events. And that, my friends, only added to the stress I was already grappling with.

So, here's the magic of meal prepping—it takes that colossal task called "time management" and breaks it down into manageable micro-tasks.


Brightly colored lunch containing fruits, veggies, nuts, and a sandwich.

Find Something Good to Eat, but Easy to Make

I usually try to focus on finding foods that aren’t too complicated to make, have minimal ingredients, but tons of flavor. I also try to stick with ingredients that are easy to come by. Usually when I look up recipes, I’d have to go out and buy half of the ingredients at some conspicuous niche health store that charges an arm and a leg for a sweet potato.

Oftentimes, I will meal prep a few different staples to upkeep variety in my meal choices. I usually will prepare a protein source, a few vegetable options, and then a few different carb options. Doing this allows me to pick and choose what I want each day and keep me motivated without eating the same exact meal everyday.



Salmon, Quinoa, Broccoli, sitting in a meal prep container, ready to be covered by masculine character.

Properly Store Your Meals

This has probably got to be the most vital part of staying consistent with your health journey and meal prepping. If you’re not properly storing your meals that took precious time out of your day to prepare, then all of that effort goes to waste. I would suggest buying some containers that cater to your meal-prep needs and preferences. If you’re a previous visitor to the blog then there’s no secret in the fact that I’m pretty anti-plastic. A few years ago I invested in some sturdy glass meal prepping containers and they have stood the test of time. I also found some handy glass baby food jars that handle sauces, dips, yogurts, and overnight oats magnificently!



I will say when I first began my meal-prep journey I wasn’t ready to invest in that type of hardware, so I opted for some simple plastic containers which do a pretty good job, they simply do not hold up well over-time and are of course, plastic. If you decide to go the plastic container route, I would suggest lining the top of your meal with saran wrap before placing the plastic lid on, as they do not seal tightly, especially over time.


Meal prep container containing roasted veggies, walnuts, and baked chicken with greens.

To Freeze or Not to Freeze?

This is always one of the elements of meal prepping that I struggle with, and quite honestly, I think it has to be judged on a case by case basis. Some things freeze well, and some things don’t. Oftentimes, you do not really need to freeze something unless you’re planning on eating it in a longer period than three days. I would say anything that will be eaten within 3 days, leave refrigerated. Anything beyond that I would stick in the freezer.



Woman with apple pencil in hand, working on free template on tablet.

Follow Through

Staying committed is oftentimes the hardest part of the journey. Personally for myself, by day three of meal-prep I’m ready to grab some take-out on my lunch break. Stay vigilant. Overtime, as your cooking improves and you find the meals that really hold-up well for meal prep, you’ll not only be doing your body a favor, but your wallet as well. On days where you’re debating whether to grab your lunch from the fridge or have something delivered, try to remember your why.

Here is a free template on establishing what
goals you have in mind on your wellness journey.
MakeItHappen_FollowThrough_template
.pdf
Download PDF • 185KB
You can find more templates on my Etsy Shop to help you reach your wellness goals.

When you feel yourself swaying from your path, come back to what you’ve written down and remind yourself why you started.


Time Management

When it comes to healthy, balanced, and satisfying meals, it's all about the prep time, cook time, and eat time. By sensibly organizing your schedule and reserving precious moments for prep and cooking, you carve out precious spaces in your week for the simple joy of savoring your meals and focusing on other endeavors. Plus, let's not forget the ebb and flow of our energy levels and motivation as stress fluctuates throughout the week. When your meal is prepped and ready to go, the urge to settle for a subpar, hastily microwaved substitute becomes almost a non-issue.



In a nutshell, meal prepping is more than just kitchen savvy – it's a form of self-care, a trusty sidekick for tackling life's challenges, and a route to a less stress-ridden and more nourished existence. Below I have listed a few of my tried and true meal-prep recipes that I come back to again and again.


Gluten free shrimp and veggie stir fry.

1. Gluten-Free Shrimp Stir Fry:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 2 cups broccoli florets

  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Sesame seeds and green onions for garnish

  • Cooked gluten-free rice or quinoa, for serving

Instructions:

  • In a bowl, mix shrimp with soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Let it marinate for 15-20 minutes.

  • Heat olive oil in a pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and stir until fragrant.

  • Add marinated shrimp to the pan. Cook until shrimp turns pink and opaque, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove shrimp from the pan and set aside.

  • In the same pan, add more olive oil if needed. Stir fry broccoli, bell peppers, and carrots until they are tender-crisp.

  • Return the cooked shrimp to the pan. Toss everything together for a minute.

  • Serve the shrimp stir fry over cooked gluten-free rice or quinoa. Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions.




Gluten free chicken, broccoli, and rice.

2. Gluten-Free Chicken Broccoli Rice Dish:

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced

  • 2 cups broccoli florets

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (or your favorite gluten-free rice)

  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder and 1 teaspoon Onion Powder

  • Red pepper flakes (optional, for spice)

  • Sesame seeds for garnish

  • Sliced green onions for garnish

Instructions:

  • Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add diced chicken and cook until browned and cooked through. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if desired.

  • Add broccoli to the pan and stir fry until tender but still crisp.

  • Add cooked rice and add gluten-free soy sauce, Garlic Powder and Onion Powder to the pan. Toss everything together until well combined.

  • Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions before serving.



Gluten free pepper steak noodle stirfry.

3. Gluten-Free Spicy Pepper Steak Beef Noodle Stir Fry:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound gluten-free rice noodles

  • 1 pound sirloin or flank steak, thinly sliced

  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced

  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon chili paste (adjust to taste)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Chopped cilantro and lime wedges for garnish

Instructions:

  • Cook rice noodles according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

  • In a bowl, combine sliced beef with soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey, chili paste, salt, and pepper. Let it marinate for 15-20 minutes.

  • Heat olive oil in a pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and stir until fragrant.

  • Add marinated beef to the pan. Cook until beef is browned and cooked to your liking. Remove beef from the pan and set aside.

  • In the same pan, add more olive oil if needed. Stir fry bell peppers and onion until they are tender-crisp.

  • Add cooked rice noodles and cooked beef to the pan. Toss everything together until well combined.

  • Serve hot, garnished with chopped cilantro and lime wedges.



Enjoy your delicious, gluten-free meal prep creations! Feel free to adjust the ingredients and spices according to your taste preferences.



Woman slicing colorful bell peppers on butcher block.

Meal Prepping – Your Path to Wellness and Ease

As we wrap up this culinary journey, I hope you're feeling inspired, not just to read about meal prepping but to dive into your kitchen and give it a whirl. Meal prepping isn't just about saving time and reducing stress; it's about crafting a lifestyle that prioritizes your well-being.

Remember, there's no need to overcomplicate things. Look for recipes that are as delicious as they are straightforward, and choose ingredients that are easily accessible. It's all about finding that sweet spot where convenience meets flavor, where your meal prepping routine becomes a joyful part of your life, not a burden.

And let's not forget the critical aspect of proper meal storage – an investment in the longevity of your efforts. Whether you're a fan of glass containers or reliable plastic ones, ensuring a tight seal is key. Your meals should be as fresh on day three as they were on day one.



The freezing dilemma is another puzzle you'll solve with practice. Some dishes freeze like a charm, while others prefer the cool embrace of your refrigerator. Trust your judgment, and you'll get the hang of it.

Now, the real challenge begins – following through. Commitment to your meal prep routine can be the trickiest part. But as you hone your culinary skills and discover the meals that shine in your meal prep lineup, you'll be doing both your body and your wallet a favor. On days when you're tempted to call for takeout, remember your "why." Revisit your wellness goals, etched on paper as a reminder of why you embarked on this journey.

In the world of health and well-being, meal prepping is more than just a kitchen-savvy hack; it's an act of self-care, a steadfast companion as you face life's hurdles, and a route to a life marked by less stress and more nourishment.

As you embark on your meal prep adventure, remember to keep it simple, savor the process, and most importantly, relish every delicious, stress-free bite. Here's to your holistic wellness journey, one well-prepped meal at a time.

Stay tuned for more tips, recipes, and insights on this path to a balanced, stress-free life. Happy meal-prepping! 🍽️


See you again,



Vi's Signature











*Please note that some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase through these links. I want to assure you that I only recommend products or services that I believe in and that align with the values of my holistic wellness blog. Your support through these affiliate links helps me continue to provide valuable content. Thank you for your trust and readership.


Vi is a certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. The opinions and thoughts of this post in no way represent IIN or its affiliate programs. VHARMON's opinions and suggestions are not to be taken as medical advice. You should always discuss any health issues with your doctor. Stock Images provided by Canva.

ความคิดเห็น


bottom of page