When you plan ahead and prepare meals in advance, it’s simple to formulate a diet around whole foods and balanced nutrition.
Rather than calling for take-out, throwing together whatever’s been taking up space in your pantry or – worse yet – stopping at the drive-through window, just set aside a couple hours each week to whip up some easy-to-store-enjoy-anytime recipes. Then, simply heat your creations in the microwave as needed throughout the coming days.
I’ve compiled a list of instructions, along with corresponding visuals, to walk you through the steps of proper meal prep. The recipe below is just one example of a make-ahead meal that’s convenient, satisfying, and completely guilt-free – whether on its own as a filling lunch or as a tasty side dish for dinner.
And here’s more fabulous news: all you need to pull this off are a few basic, fresh ingredients!
- Step 1: Chop your vegetables of choice (any veggies you have on-hand will work; I used onions, mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes, and corn).
- Step 2: Transfer the vegetables into a Tupperware container and store in the fridge while you continue with the remaining prep work.
- Step 3: Assemble your seasonings (I used olive oil and garlic) and whole-grain carb (lentils are my go-to, but quinoa or couscous will work too).
- Step 4: Rinse off the grains, transfer them into a Teflon pot, and allow them to soak in water for approximately 10 minutes.
- Step 5: Place the pot on a stove-top burner and turn the heat on high until boiling, then lower to a simmer and cover, stirring occasionally.
- Step 6: Add the seasonings (1 tsp. garlic and 1 tbsp. olive oil), then re-cover and let the mixture simmer for approximately 30 minutes.
- Step 7: Once the lentils (or another whole-grain of choice) have softened, add the vegetables you prepped earlier and stir thoroughly.
- Step 8: Allow the vegetables to simmer for approximately 10 minutes, then strain this mixture to remove any excess liquid.
- Step 9: Transfer the lentils (or another whole grain of choice) into a Tupperware container and store in the fridge until your next meal.
*** 1 16-oz. package of lentils yields at least a week’s worth of lunches/dinners. ***