Saturday, December 9, 2017

My No-Fuss Meal Prep Plan

I’m keeping it real with you guys this morning. I run a meal planning business (and now nutrition software company), but, man, there are just some weeks that I’m not in the mood to meal prep at all. Sometimes I’ve had a busy weekend and just don’t have the energy. Other times, I’m just not super motivated to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen, especially when I have the option of enjoying “Sunday Funday” relaxing with my family or friends.

But, at the end of the day, I know how much better I feel after I meal prep. I mean, I’m setting myself up for a healthy week, and, if I slack on that, I know my week of eats will not be as nutritious. I’m sure a lot of us have been in the same position, so here are a few of the tricks that I turn to when I really don’t want to prep, but I know it will help set me up for success. And, of course, I would love to hear yours, too! Please share if you have a go-to tactic or trick when it comes to meal prep, especially when you don’t want to meal prep – would love to hear it! 😉

Break out the Instant Pot and make a big ol’ batch of shredded chicken – I pretty much make shredded chicken every week. It’s so versatile and so darn easy. I typically buy 4-5 pounds of chicken breast, pop it in the Instant Pot with a cup of water, and then pressure cook it for 27 minutes. After that, I remove the chicken breasts from the Instant Pot, allow them to cool, and then “shred” them with a fork. The breasts are so moist (yup), the meat just falls apart. It’s the easiest thing ever, and then we have a versatile protein source for the entire week.

Roast up a big pan of veggies. I typically roast something like Brussels sprouts, squash, or root vegetables. The only active time it really takes is the 5-10 minutes it takes to chop, which is kind of relaxing anyway. After that, I coat them with cooking spray or sunflower oil (depends what I’m baking and how lazy I’m feeling), place them on a silicon mat on baking sheet, add salt and pepper, and roast for about 35-40 minutes at 425 degrees F.

Defrost your favorite frozen veggies. If you’re not into roasting, defrosting your favorite veggies and having them ready to go is a helpful trick for me. I don’t know about you, but if I see a food out or in my refrigerator, I’m more likely to prepare it. Out of sight, out of mind, right? I typically pour a few servings of frozen veggies into glass containers and then just keep them in the fridge for easy access throughout the week. Seeing them every time I open the fridge definitely gets me to eat more nutrients since I’m constantly adding them to meals and even snacking on them.

Prep your breakfast for the week. Whether you have kids or not, mornings are almost always stressful and it’s just too easy to stop at Starbucks for a sandwich instead. But breakfast is actually one of the easiest meals to prep in advance. Pre-making overnight oats or muffins means that you can just grab a portion and heat it up. I usually prep breakfast for Monday through Friday, so I don’t even have to think about it in the morning!

Prepare for what you suck at. When you come home from work and have no dinner ready, do you just give up and order takeout? If you know that you’re not the type to make a whole dinner when you come home from work starving, then make sure you have your dinner elements prepped and ready to go. For example: have a protein, a veggie, and a starch (spaghetti squash is a great one to prep in advance) all ready to go so that you can just sit down and eat!

Question of the Day

What are your minimal effort meal prep tricks?

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from Carrots 'N' Cake

Instant Pot Pork and Kale Salad

Inline_Pork Salad 2This salad is a riot of flavors. Shredded pork is tossed with cool, crunchy veggies (like kale, cabbage, cucumbers and mint) and dressed with tangy coconut-lime dressing. It’s a salad that is many things at once: rich, light, meaty, fresh, filling and healthy.

The pork is so easy to make—just throw pork shoulder in an Instant Pot and let it do its thing. It’s complete comfort food. You can make this pork shoulder again and again for different meals. But when you’re in the mood for a really flavorful salad, then toss the pork into this super-bold blend of raw veggies and bold, funky dressing. Lime juice, fish sauce, coconut milk and avocado oil whisk together in a dressing that’s like no other.

Time in the Kitchen: 25 minutes, plus 90 minutes to cook pork

Servings: 6












Instant Pot Pork

  • 3 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3 pieces (1.3 kg to 1.8)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (10 ml)
  • 3 teaspoons granulated garlic (15 ml)
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon avocado oil (30 ml)
  • 3 /4 cup coconut milk (180 ml)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (45 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (30 ml)

Salad Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (80 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (30 ml)
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce (10 ml)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped shallot (10 ml)
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil (80 ml)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 head Lacinato kale, leaves torn from stem into small, bite-sized pieces
  • ½ red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • Fresh mint leaves, for garnish



Cut 1-inch/2.5 cm deep slits all over the pork. Mix together salt, granulated garlic and lime zest. Rub the pork all over with the mixture. Ideally, let the seasoned meat sit out 30 minutes before cooking.

Set Instant Pot (or other brand of electric pressure cooker) to sautĂ© and add avocado oil. Add pieces of pork and sear until browned on all sides, about 2 minutes a side.

Add coconut milk, fish sauce and lime juice. Put lid on pressure cooker, and set to cook for 90 minutes on high pressure. Manually release steam when cooking is complete. Remove the meat from the broth.

The broth left in the Instant Pot can be refrigerated and used for another meal. Reheat the liquid and use it as a sauce for pork or other meats, or use it to enhance soup broth or stew.

When the pork is cool enough to handle, shred into small pieces or larger chunks.

For the salad, whisk together coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce and shallot. Add a pinch of salt. Slowly add avocado oil, whisking constantly to emulsify.

In a large bowl, toss kale, cabbage, cucumber and mint. Add pork and dressing before serving.

Pork Salad 1


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from Mark's Daily Apple