My Secret to Painless Meal Prep

Meal planning was not something that came naturally to me. I mean let’s be honest what in heaven’s name is natural about cooking in the kitchen for hours on end, not to mention the amount of dishes you are left with afterwards?! I was a hater for sometime, not even going to lie.  I did not like the idea of meal planning, UNTIL….wait for it…

I found a way to make it work! I cooked a week’s worth of meals in 2 hours and now I want to share my method with you!

Whether you are a hater or have been converted into a meal plan lover, this article is meant for anyone and everyone who meal preps or wants to give it a try!

It seems the easiest way to explain how I did this would be to go in chronological order, so first step is the planning portion. What meals are you going to eat? This is obviously the most important step in the meal planning process.  My issue that I had with planning is I would get bored with the same food.  I have a taste for variety and eating the same meal 5 nights in a row would not fly with me.  Then I realized I could plan what I ate and that meal planning doesn’t necessarily mean the same meal every night.

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Tip 1: Plan for meals that can be interchangeable. Plan meals that use similar ingredients, but have different flavors.  For example, I used ground turkey, black beans, sweet potato and onions and made stuffed peppers for one dinner and took the same concoction added a little organic BBQ sauce and BAM! I had a BBQ lettuce wrap. Two totally different meals, but easy to make since I used similar ingredients. I also made a couple sides to pull for meals if I was looking for something different. I had broccoli and then a salad kit from Dole that was easily split into at least 3 servings. Similar ingredients and easy side dishes helped keep cooking time down to a minimum.

 

Tip 2: Cut it all up! If you are using any sort of veggie or fruit that needs to be cut.  Do that first.  I found that it was much easier to start cooking with having all my ingredients ready to go.

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Tip 3: Be smart about your kitchen appliances.  What are you making that needs to go in the stove? What can you make without using the oven? What will go in the fridge and what will go in the freezer? Where will I find the space to fit all these plastic containers? That last one was a serious struggle, LOL.  I went in order and started with breakfast items.  One dish was a yogurt parfait in a mason jar  ( which took 5 minutes) Second was an egg, black bean and cheese breakfast burritos that I was able to freeze and pull throughout the week.  Used stove top and counter space, total time: 20 minutes.

On to lunch and dinner. I made 4 servings of salmon and asparagus in the oven, made cauliflower chicken fried rice on the stove top, put the stove top on low so I could make a turkey wrap for lunch.  The way that I used my appliances helped cut down on time.  Even though this portion of the process took longer, I ended up with most of the cooking being done for the week.

Tip 4: Get healthy pre-packaged snacks.  This one helps cut down time tremendously! Some of my favorite healthy snacks are the individual size bags of skinny pop white cheddar popcorn, unsweetened applesauce, rice cake with Peanut Butter and snap pea crisps (wasabi ranch flavored to be specific). I also have halo top, which is my go to for desserts! It’s a protein based ice cream and the chocolate almond crunch flavor I bought was only 280 calories for the whole pint!  Not to mention, it does not have a watery taste, it has the consistency of creamy ice cream! In case you were not already aware, my excessive use of exclamation points translates to me highly recommending this product!!! <– There.. three more for the road…okay I’m done, I promise.

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These key points are what made it possible to make a whole week’s worth of meals in 2 hours and if I can do it, ANYONE can do it. Trust me. My last tip would be to stay patient, sometimes things don’t go the way you planned, but the work definitely pays off!  Coming home after work and NOT having to think about what I am going to eat or cook is priceless.  The extra time allows me to focus on other things like working out, walking my dog and writing blog posts of course! Meal planning has definitely given me a balance that I have been missing out on. I am thrilled to say that I am no longer drinking the hater-ade and have officially been converted into a meal plan lover.

Thank you for reading!  In case you wanted to see what meals I had and what each day looked like, I listed them all below!

Day 1 & 3:

Breakfast- yogurt parfait

Lunch-Turkey, spinach and cranberry pinwheels with a side of celery, apples and PB

Dinner-Salmon with orange fig glaze and garlic parmesan asparagus

Day 2 & 4:

Breakfast-Breakfast Burrito

Lunch- chicken cauliflower fried rice

Dinner-(day 2)BBQ lettuce wrap (day 4) stuffed peppers

Day 5:

Breakfast-scrambled eggs & turkey bacon

Lunch-left over salad (Dole Kale Lemon Vinagrette)

Dinner-Turkey Polish sausage and vegetable skillet

Sides/snacks: cooked broccoli, Dole Kale Lemon vinagrette salad kit, apple & PB, rice cake & PB, unsweetened apple sauce, skinny pop white cheddar popcorn, natural cheese and beef stick, celery, nuts and wasabi snap pea crisps.

Dessert: Chocolate Almond Crunch Halo Top!

Everything made was doubled for 2 people.

Stay tuned for my next post where I will be sharing some of the recipes I used for this meal prep!

 

XOXO

-The Mod Maven

Morning Mindfulness

Hello loves! Todays post is highlighting the importance of a self-care routine at the start of your day.  I am not writing this because I am an expert.  In fact, I am not what I would call a “morning person” to say the least.  I am writing this because I am learning what self-care means for me and through that discovery I now understand the importance of taking time for yourself in the morning.

 

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There are days I literally crawl out of the covers and my mornings seem very rushed.  The next thing you know I am throwing on my shoes and out the door without ever eating breakfast.  I recently was given a promotion and my schedule changed to mornings.  So… to be perfectly honest I was not a morning person, but was somewhat forced to become one (which is perfectly okay with me since I love my new job!!!).  There was an adjustment period, but as I started to incorporate self-practice this is what I found:

1. I feel more prepared to take on my day

2. I am more productive

3. I feel more energized

4. I now look forward to mornings!

 

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Now that I have found something that works, I’d like to share it with all you lovely people!  My routine can be broken down into three categories:

MIND. BODY. SOUL.

First category is MIND!  There are so many decisions you have to make throughout the day.  Start your day out right by preparing your mind for the interactions and decisions you have to make that day.  Some ideas I came up with that fall under the mind category include:

-Read a self improvement novel

-Meditate for 10 minutes

-Work on a crossword puzzle or sudoku

-Words with friends ( or a trivia app, lumosity, etc.)

-Watch part of a Ted talk discussion on youtube

I usually incorporate this specific step of self-care while I eat breakfast, or if I meditate I do it first thing in the morning.

 

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Second category is BODY! This portion can give you the energy you need to make it to the end of the day.  Here is what I came up with for Body:

-Stretch for 10 minutes

-Go on a brisk walk around the block (and if you have furry friends that love to walk, take them with you!)

-Try out different yoga poses for 20 minutes

-Fuel your body with a smoothie full of veggies & fruits

-Turn hot water on in the shower and let the room become steamy..Stand outside the shower and deeply inhale/exhale (the steam also has great benefits for your skin and lungs)

 

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Last category is SOUL! I look at this as a time of reflection and a way to connect to your higher power, whatever that may be.  It can also be used as a time to connect with yourself and give thanks.  Here are some ideas for soul:

-Keeping a Gratitude journal

-Prayer

-Scripture reading

-Soul writing/ reflection journal

-Look in the mirror and compliment yourself

 

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These can be done in any order! By focusing on mind, body and soul, I have felt more balance during the early morning and on throughout the day!  I would love to hear what y’all are doing for self-care morning routines! Let me know in the comments or find me on Instagram: @the_modmaven or Facebook!

 

Peace & love,

 

-The Mod Maven

 

(This is not a sponsored post)

 

 

 

Just Start.

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I’m sure by now that you are all aware that this is a health/wellness blog.  In case this is your first time visiting I want to point out that I too am on my own health journey.

Some questions that have come from starting this blog include, “What did you do to start getting healthy?”  “How did you manage to get started?”

That is the one question that I can answer in three words.

I JUST… STARTED.

I simply began.  I literally grabbed my sneakers and went on a run.  It hurt like hell and I thought my knees were going to give out the whole time, but I still did it.  I am not a fitness guru,  I have failed and that makes me human.  I understand how hard it can be to get started or to have failed and have to start again. In this post I am mostly referring to health and fitness, however, it can be carried over to a number of things.

 It could be conquering a new skill, like playing the guitar.

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Or creating something new that you can share with others.

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No matter what it is, you have to take that step to START.

After you achieve certain goals, you realize that choosing to start becomes a daily choice.  After the initiative is there,  you have to decide what is the purpose of starting?

For me in terms of health,  it is not a diet, but a lifestyle.  Not for him or for her, but for me.  Not for a day, but every single day.  Not to feel good in skinny jeans, but to feel good in my skin.  Not for the beach, but for my mind.  Not to compete with anyone, but to compete with myself to become the best version of myself.  Every single day.

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That is why I choose to start.  The beauty is that it is never too late to get going and if you fail, you can start again.  Have faith and believe in the power of beginnings.

XOXO

-The Mod Maven

 

 

 

Less negative. More positive.

In a world that is constantly pulling us different ways, self-care has never been more important.  I find the action of taking care of one self can be mistaken for selfishness, and that my friends is just not the case.  Before we delve into the conversation of what self-care looks like, I find it best to define the word.  Self-care has been defined differently throughout the interwebs, but overall describes the same concept.  In my own words, self-care includes any intentional thought or action you take to care for your mental, physical and spiritual health.  When it comes to incorporating these thoughts or actions, it is easy to take other people out of the picture.  Self-care means taking time for you, right?! Well, what about the people you surround yourself with?

 

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If you spend time with one person or a group of people whether that be a significant other, friends, family or co-workers, it is usually because you spend this time with them intentionally.  Now that brings us to the question, what effect do they have on your life?  Is it positive?

 

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During the past few years I have learned to be true to myself and continue relationships or put them to an end depending on the effect they had on my life.  I’ve been in toxic relationships before and I quickly saw the effects they had (not only to my mental health, but to my physical and spiritual health).  Eventually the “self” I embodied, the very  existence I had once was gone.  I am lucky to have realized these feelings and emotions were not healthy for me.  However, sometimes it is easier said than done.  After many periods of trial and tribulations, I can say I feel comfortable with where I am and who I spend my time with.  Sometimes it is hard to let people go, but if it is the right thing to do for you and your personal well-being, you will thank yourself down the road.  I have been blessed with a partner in life that is GOOD for me.  He loves every weird quirk, including my insane obsession for ranch and I love him more then I thought I could ever love someone.  I have a family that is supportive and caring and have had friends who stuck by my side through it all.  This place where I am took a long time to get to, but I am thankful for this season of life.

I now write directly to you.  You are important.  Your time is valuable and you have the ability to choose who you spend it with.  If you feel that someone does not value your worth, then move along.  Be weary of the people who come around for conveniences and who do not put forth the same effort into your relationships.  By removing the toxicity and negativity you are taking the initiative to better yourself.  You are deserving.

 

Sending love to you all,

 

XOXO

-The Mod Maven