Tag Archive for healthy meal prep

Instant Pot Meal Prep: Healthy Lunches for a Week

Okay, so here we go; Instant Pot post number 2 for this week (if you haven’t yet, check out my recipe for Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto)! Yeah, I’m a little obsessed, but hey–it’s a good obsession, right?? I mean, I’m making lots of healthy foods, and loving how little time it’s taking me to do it.

I have been a big fan of meal prep for a while now, though sometimes I’m more successful at it than others.

Instant Pot Meal Prep Vegan

The idea of meal prepping is that you take a half a day per week (usually on the weekend) to prep a week’s worth of healthy lunches or dinners. Those then get stored in the fridge or the freezer until you need them. Mason Jar salads are a version of meal prep, though lately I’ve been taking more of a bowl approach. The Instant Pot makes this much easier, because I can cook things in a jiffy.

Here’s how to Instant Pot Meal Prep:

  1. Grains. The base of your bowl is always going to be some kind of grains. You can use brown rice, quinoa, or other forms of ancient grains. Depending on the type of grain, they make take longer or less time in the Instant Pot to cook. Quinoa or Frekeh only take 1 minute to cook. Harder grains like brown rice or wheat berries can take between 20-40 minutes to cook in the IP.
  2.  Proteins. Again, here your choices are many. Sautéed tofu, seitan (this recipe for chickwheat shreds is my current fave), chopped up veggie burgers, vegan sausages or other alternative meats are all legit choices, depending on what strikes your fancy. You could even do beans.
  3. Veg. I like to do a combo of greens and heartier veg, usually squash or sweet potatoes. For my green veg, I usually sautee some kale. I also really like to throw in some edamame for additional crunch and fibre. You can also throw a half an avocado on top of there right before you eat it.
  4. Sauce: Again, so many options! Right now my faves are hoisin and sweet thai chili sauce, but you could easily go BBQ, a green goddess, or even just plain old soy.

This video shows you how to put it all together.

These are really easy to grab as you head out the door in the morning on your way to work. Just nuke them until they are warm, sauce, and devour. There’s something really wonderful about having a full, well-rounded lunch.

HelloFresh!

Sheesh. Life is B-U-S-Y. Between teaching 4 classes and finishing up the editing on my cookbook, plus clients and the boy, I feel like I barely have a moment to spare.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say you’re in a similar position.

Our lives are pretty crazy these days–shuttling the kid(s) to after school activities, homework, housework, it’s no wonder dinner sometime feels like an afterthought.

I try to be prepared–before I went back to school, for example, I did a ton of batch cooking and prepped up a bunch of meals for the freezer, which we are still working our way through.

But I recently had the opportunity to try a local meal-prep service, and I wanted to share my impressions with you.

hello fresh

Feta- Stuffed Eggplant with Chermoula Freekeh
and a Cucumber and Mint Salad

HelloFresh doesn’t deliver readily-made meals. What they do deliver is the ingredients to make them. Everything is pre-portioned, and they include recipes. The idea is, you can make the meals in about 30 minutes from beginning to end, and it saves time because you don’t have to shop for the ingredients, and some of them are actually pre-prepped for you, like for example the onions come already cut.

You can order different kinds of boxes as well. I got a vegetarian one, but they also offer meat options. The meals feature fresh, healthy, quality ingredients.

The 3 meals that came in my box included a vegetarian sloppy joe (made with Yves Ground Round) with a side arugula salad, lentil dal with naan bread, and  roasted eggplant with feta and chermoula freekeh.

Those all sound pretty tasty, right?

veggie sloppy joes hello fresh

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes with an arugula salad

Here’s what I liked about HelloFresh:

Flexibility: my box came with 3 meals, but you can order larger quantities, and you can also order boxes that feed a larger crowd. Mine was for 2, but a version that feeds a family of 4 is another option.

Speed: all three of them cooked up in about 30 minutes. In fact, the night we had the sloppy joes was a bit of a hairy one. I had a meeting in Kits at 4, and zoomed in the door at 5:30. Dinner was served at 6! I would consider that a success, in and of itself, but the kid actually really like the sloppy joes, as well. Bonus.

Sustainability: all of their packaging is recyclable. All of the boxes are cardboard, and just go straight into the blue bin. The plastic bottles and bags can be rinsed and also recycled.

hello fresh ingredients

By sending you only as much as you need of say, herbs or lettuce, you don’t have produce languishing away in the crisper drawer. I really hate throwing out food, but I do it sometimes, especially fresh produce that I didn’t use up fast enough.

Sourcing local: they also are committed to sourcing the ingredients as locally as possible, which means fresher ingredients, and more money going back into the pockets of local farmers, something I support wholeheartedly.

Trying new things: I get stuck in cooking ruts. We eat lots of stir-fries, pizzas, homemade mac ‘n’ cheese with Caesar salad. What I like about these kits is that they force me to try something new. I’m pretty daring in the kitchen. There’s not much I won’t try, and there’s probably less that I haven’t tried. But this kit exposed me to a few ingredients like a Mediterranean spice mix called chermoula. And freekeh, which was something that I’d known about for a while, and had meant to try.

lentil dal with spinach hello fresh

Lentil Dal with Spinach and Naan

I think it’s a great service–it would be really great for those who cook less from scratch, but even a more advanced home cook can benefit. I also think it would be a really fun date-night activity (I did one of mine with a girlfriend), or a great way to get your kids to help out more in the kitchen.

You can learn more about HelloFresh!, including pricing and meal plans, by visiting their website: hellofresh.ca.

 

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