Have you ever reached into your cupboard five minutes before you’re running out the door only to find nothing? Or, have you ever come home for lunch break to find that you have nothing in your kitchen to satisfy your hunger pains and hold you over for the rest of the day? Below you’ll find two recipes that can be prepared days in advance to help prepare for your upcoming meals.
The first step to meal prepping is keeping your cupboard stocked with all of your “go-to’s” or essentials. For myself, this includes rolled oats, fruit, peanut butter, pasta, sweet potatoes and avocados. Find your favourite staples that you can knowingly purchase and make sure they are always stocked in your pantry or refrigerator.
Next, find recipes that you don’t get sick of or that can be altered to swap out ingredients that switch up the flavour of the meal. My two favourites are oatmeal and salads. Oatmeal can taste different every day based on the fruit that you choose. Salads can be made up of entirely vegetables or contain protein sources like beans, chickpeas, tofu, etc. These meals keep you full from the high-fiber content.
What does meal prepping have to do with zero waste?
Meal prepping keeps you accountable for bringing your own meals if you’re away from a kitchen for a long period of time. This method creates less waste since you will not need to purchase fast food items wrapped in unnecessary packaging, or throw out food that you cannot finish. In addition, meal prepping helps you choose your meals in advance and motivates you to eat healthy. In my experience, if I don’t have time to run home and make a healthy lunch in the middle of the day, I am more likely to purchase a food item that I am craving at the time—wrapped in plastic, paper or Styrofoam.
Breakfast & Lunch Meal-Prep Ideas
Breakfast – Overnight Oats
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ¾ cup of almond milk
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. of chia seeds
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- ½ cup of fresh or frozen berries
Combine oats, almond milk, chia seeds and maple syrup into a medium-sized Mason jar. Let sit in a refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Add peanut butter and frozen berries, mix thoroughly and enjoy.
Tips: Buy ingredients in bulk, using the tare system and a Mason jar. Make your own homemade almond milk to reduce packaging. Create 4-5 servings in separate Mason jars at the beginning of the week to have a healthy and quick breakfast ready in the mornings.
Lunch – Mason Jar Salad
- 2 tbsp. tahini
- 1 tbsp. Lemon juice
- Chili flakes, pinch (optional)
- 1 sweet potato, cubed
- ¼ red onion, sliced
- ¼ cup diced cucumbers
- 5-7 cherry tomatoes
- ½ avocado, cubed
- 1-2 handfuls of mixed greens: spinach/kale/chard, your choice!
Roast sweet potato in an oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until totally combined. Layer ingredients in Mason jar as listed, with dressing and sweet potato on the bottom and greens on top. Sprinkle chili flakes on top if you like a spicy kick to your salads.
Create 4-5 servings in separate Mason jars at the beginning of the week to have healthy lunches ready to go for the entire week. Feel free to add a source of protein throughout the week or other alternatives that suit your needs and preferences.