Happy Wednesday, y’all! I’m excited to be back this week to share not only some of the tastiest breakfast bars around, but my newest addition to my meal prepping tips. If you know me, you know that I am all about meal prep. Not only does it cut down on time in the morning, but it sets me up for success throughout the week. When I take time on Sunday to prepare snacks and meals for the week, I am able to avoid the last minute “Oh no! What will I have for lunch today?”, or grabbing chips, candy or whatever else I find to eat as my snacks. I am also a very structured, type-A person, so having everything organized and ready for the week brings a smile to my heart.
(If you are just here for the food, click here to jump down to the Berry Breakfast Bars recipe! I getchu.)
How to Meal Prep Like a Boss
In the past I’ve covered tips ranging from planning your time, how to store your food, the beauty of muffin tins, chopping veggies ahead of time, and planning your menu. Today I want to dig a little deeper, and focus on two specific things: being intentional about the foods you eat, and the doubling trick.
I can’t stress this tip enough. Before I realized the importance of being intentional about the foods I ate, I was all over the place. My blood sugar would drop like crazy, I ate way too many empty carbs, and I slacked in the veggie department. I honestly have to thank the 21 Day Fix for showing me how much of each food group I need throughout the day, and Tone It Up which taught me when to eat those foods. I never realized how important it was to be intentional about what I ate, but now that I do, I’m never going back. Trust me- it’s a game changer.
I’ve blogged recently about what to eat for breakfast (here), what NOT to eat for breakfast (here), what to eat while training for a race (here), and my favorite healthier food swaps (here). If you’ve had the opportunity to read those posts, then you understand what I mean when I say the foods you eat really do matter.
When it comes to meal prepping, I plan out my entire week’s worth of food. That includes what I eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I make sure I follow the guidelines I’m sharing below, and it takes all the thinking out when I am packing my food for the day. Planning ahead like this is also great for grocery shopping! I never buy too much or too little of an ingredient when I know exactly what I am making every single day (read more grocery shopping tips here).
Personally, I try to eat a meal with some form of protein in it four times a day (breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner). I’ve come to find that those are the times of day that I need a little oomph, and they’re spaced out in a way that prevents me from having random blood sugar crashes. For breakfast and my afternoon snack, I normally opt for a protein smoothie, eggs, or something quick and easy like turkey roll ups or avocado toast. At lunch and dinner my protein is more meat based, and normally consists of chicken, ground turkey, lean beef or the occasional fish, which I pair with lots and lots of veggies.
Fruits & Veggies
When you think healthy, normally the first thing to come to mind is fruits and veggies (amiright??). You see lots of salads and chopped fruit, and maybe that depresses you a bit. I get it… Fruits and veggies can be boring, especially if they are raw and unseasoned. But guys… they don’t have to be! It’s all about finding the recipes that work with you, and that get you excited to get in your greens.
When it comes to meal prep, I plan for around 2-3 servings of fruit a day, and as many veggies as I want. I limit the amount of fruit I eat, and try to only have it in the morning (with exception to my occasional afternoon smoothies), mostly because they are higher in sugar and I don’t need a ton of sugar coursing through my system. Veggies, on the other hand, are more of a free-for-all in my book. I stick to lots of greens (like spinach, kale, brussels, asparagus and zucchini) and less starchy veggies (such as mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots and squash). I normally eat my vegetables later in the day with my lunch, afternoon snack and dinner!
Carbs & Fat
Now for the two biggies- carbs and fat. I’ve talked about some misconceptions people have had over the years concerning these two things, and I’ll continue preaching this till the day I die: they are not your enemies!
As a runner, I need the carbs to keep me energized and to fuel my body for the run ahead. Even if you aren’t training for a race or super active, your body still needs carbohydrates in order to function correctly. I try not to go overboard with them (like a few nights ago when we devoured an Italian food feast), and limit my servings to about two a day. I normally eat my carbs in the earlier part of the day rather than the latter, and stick to whole grains, sprouted bread, and quinoa. In the evenings instead of eating a carb heavy meal that will make me feel full and bloated the next morning, I sub the carb ingredient with a veggie (check out my favorite swaps here!).
Fats are another shunned super star in your diet. People hear “fat” and think “it will make me fat”. I see the connection (and there’s some truth in that statement), but just like your body needs carbs, your body also needs fats. Your cells need the fats in order to function properly and to grow, and they also help your body absorb some nutrients and hormones. I stick to the “healthier fats”, like avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and fish. I eat about 2 Tbsp (give or take) a day of healthy fats, and try to space it throughout the day!
The Doubling Trick
So this trick is less about nutrition and more about simply being smart. Lately I have been SO busy on the weekends. Between my photography business, selling LipSense, and you know… living, my meal prepping time has been cut short. I know a lot of you have similar situations, which is why the doubling trick is perfect for on-the-go people! And y’all… it’s as simple as it sounds. All you need to do is double the recipe you made for dinner the night before, and eat the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Mind blown, right? ; )
But for real though… Why had I not thought of this before? I’d love to be able to spend hours on Sunday making super fun and delicious meals to eat throughout the week, but more times than not, that just doesn’t happen. However, when I intentionally plan my dinners and I know they’re lean, clean and green, then they are PERFECT to eat for lunch the next day too! It cuts down on prep time, and means your food won’t go to waste.
This is especially perfect in my household, since it’s only me and Isaac. Lots of recipes are meant for four or more servings, which means I can just make a full recipe and enjoy the leftovers throughout the week.
Well friends, I hope these tips help you the next time you meal prep! Make sure to join me on Sundays for #mealprepSunday, and share your meal prep pictures on Instagram. You know I will!
Berry Breakfast Bars
To continue this month’s theme of healthy breakfast recipes, I decided to whip together some Berry Breakfast Bars that you will L-O-V-E. They are not only perfect for an easy breakfast or morning snack, but they can be made in no time at all AND they are great for meal prepping. The raspberry jelly gave this recipe a yummy tartness, and aren’t they just pretty to look at?
Making breakfast bars is a go to around here. They grab them for breakfast, throw them in lunches and have them for snacks.
Yes! They are here too. I love having a homemade snack bar to take to work for a yummy mid morning snack.
I am so glad that I found this! I need to do this and meal prep way better, plus this looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing.
Aww yay! I’m glad you liked the post. How is the meal prep going?
Love the doubling trick! Thank you!
It’s one of my favorite tricks, that’s for sure! Glad you liked it too.
These look delicious! Im gonna try and start meal prepping again soon!
Yay! How is it going so far?
I am a huge fan of doubling! I love taking leftovers for lunch. I always feel so fancy. haha These bars sound delicious!! I always love everything you make.
Yes! And it sparks a lot of fun conversations with coworkers on what you cooked for dinner the night before. :) And thank you Jessica! You’re so sweet.
thank you, some great tips here!
Thank you Victoria! :)
Those bars look delisious! Can’t wait to try them out.
Thanks girl! I know you’re gonna love them.
Those breaky bars look so yummy! I love the tip about making extra for a healthy leftover meal too – we do that in our house as well, it makes it so much easier not having to prep a specific lunch each day :)
Yes!! I used to make myself something for lunches throughout the week, but this makes it SO much easier when I’m prepping for the week. Also, I don’t get bored with eating the same thing over and over again!
I have been wanting to try my hand at meal prepping, because honestly, I am a “what is in the fridge, oh nothing looks good? let’s just go grab something” horrible eating planner! These tips were super helpful and those bars look delicious!! Will have to give them a try!
Melanie, I used to be that way, but when I saw the value of meal prepping and meal planning, everything changed! We save money by not going out, and I always have just the right amount of groceries to make what I need to make. It’s a life saver!
meal prepping is something i try to do every Sunday..this week im trying hello fresh so didnt do much prepping :) i love these bars and all that texture looks yum!
Mmm yum! How did your hello fresh trial go? I’ve heard a lot about them!
And yes yes yes to the texture. I LOVE my foods to be tasty and fun to eat!
Meal Prep is the way to go. I love being able to grab and go knowing what I grabbed was healthy. These look so amazing! Got to try them.
Yes! That’s exactly why I love meal prepping. And thanks Ellie, I hope you like them!
You had my attention at “meal prep like a boss” LOL. My husband had to start eating vegetarian for medical reasons so I’ve started to do a lot of prep on Sunday for the week ahead. Once quinoa is cooked it’s good for about a week so I will cook a big batch of it and chop my vegetables so that during the week I can mix up my meals quickly and have dinner on the table. It’s made things so much easier!
It sounds like you’re already nailing the meal prep- way to go Ashely!! I LOVE making a big batch of quinoa and veggies for the week ahead. It gives me no excuse to eat something I shouldn’t!
Such great tips! And those bars look so yummy!
Thanks Danielle! I can’t imagine living without meal prepping!
These breakfast bars look so delicious! I am always looking for a simple way to get something to eat in the morning.
Thanks Becca! They are so easy to make, and super delicious.
I love trying your your recipes! getting the ingredients this weekend to make these
Yay!! I hope you loved them. :)
Meal prep is key for me to stay on track through the week! It’s much easier to grab and reheat something…life with a newborn haha! Those bars look super good.
I agree!! My nutrition goes down the drain if I don’t meal prep. And girl, way to go doing all that with a newborn. You’re amazing!
These look perfect to snack on during my morning commute! Do you have brand recommendations for protein powder?
Hey Liz! They are perfect for on-the-go breakfasts, aren’t they? And I use the vanilla protein from Perfect Fit (by Tone it Up). It’s so good, and I love that it’s plant based and organic.
Love all of these healthy recipes ideas and those breakfast bars look delicious!
Thanks Ryan! I LOVE me a healthy, nutritious breakfast.
Looks like a very tastey recipe! Definitely going to try it out soon.
Awesome! If you do, let me know how they turn out :)
These look seriously delicious!! I can’t wait to give this recipe a try!!
Those bars look amazing! Def need to give them a try!
Thanks Rachel! They are seriously DELISH, and I’m sure you’d love them.