Meal Prep VidaLoca Style
This is a foreword about my VidaLoca meal prepping. There's way too much to go over in one blog. So a few words before we dive into more details, tips and tricks about how I meal prep each week...
Sunday meal prep has become one of my most treasured ways to end the weekend. Around 6 or 7 in the evening, I crank up some energetic tunes, pour a glass of Rex Goliath Cabernet Sauvignon and start pulling out the groceries that were purchased the hour before. I waste no time with uncooked food resting uneventfully in the fridge, because undoubtedly it would still be resting untouched and uneaten throughout the work week. Because we have reserved eating out to one or two meals each week, meal prepping has easily been the healthiest and most cost-effective way to get dinner on the table. Before prepping meals, I averaged about 2 hours with clean up each night or ended up ordering out because I was too tired to cook. There was also a whole lot of snacking before dinner as we waited impatiently with hungry bellies. Once I decided to get on the meal prepping band wagon, I fell off a couple weeks until I figured out how to be more efficient with the process and stayed committed to time-block the lovely chore. The average time in the kitchen on prep day is about 3-4 hours with clean up. Sounds like a long time, but hey, I like to play around and make it an enjoyable event. Cooking and cleaning are no longer a hassle at the end of a long day. There's also the bonus of keeping meal portions under control with the help of Beachbody on Demand's 21 Day Fix's portion control containers and keeping emotional eating in check.
You may be asking how the rest of the family gets fed. Meal prepping doesn't mean that I don't cook anything during the week. I believe in bio-individuality nutrition consumption and keeping dinner time pleasant with the focus on quality conversation and enjoying what is on our plates, which means that all four people in our household eat a little differently. As a vegetarian who consumes minimal animal products, I make 95% of the grocery purchases and do 99% of the cooking; however, I don't expect everyone else to eat like me. I listen to what my body needs, and I honor the needs of my children and husband. To streamline preparing meals for everyone, I only meal prep for me and my hubby and cook conventionally for the kids. Sunday fun day in the kitchen typically entails pots and pans of lentils, beans, quinoa, couscous, and/or gluten-free lentil pasta boiling on the stove top with the oven or grill roasting, grilling, baking or sautéing a hodgepodge of veggies. Various seasonings and sauces are added to create a week's worth of meals. Since I don't purchase, prepare or cook any type of meat, Alejandro precooks the week's animal protein and sets it aside so I can add it to his meals.
The kiddos get to choose each night what they want to eat. Yes, I prepare two different meals if they want two different meals. Roan eats a flexitarian diet full of green veggies, dairy and either chicken or beef. Giovanni is full on carnivore and eats carne or chicken with fruit and a piece of vegetable that he has to try. This is only possible sans stress fest, because we pre-make the food groups that can be thrown together in a moment's notice.
Check out below last night's concoctions...
Happy Meal Making,
Gluten-Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Lensi Red Lentil Pasta, extra virgin olive Oil (EVOO), Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), Manitou Tandori Spice, spring mix, peppers, red onions, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, green & black olives, matchstick carrots, feta cheese -
Add anything else that suits your fancy....The red lentil pasta is like an al dente wheat pasta with a slight peppery taste. They take about the same amount of time to cook. Loaded with protein and gluten-sensitive friendly.
The red onions, tomatoes and cucumbers were marinated in ACV and EVOO until onions were sweet.
Pasta and veggies tossed together and topped with a bit of feta cheese.
Easy Peasy and light for summer time.
Roasted Veggies over Quinoa, sprinkled with Walnuts and Fresh Squeezed Lemon
Quinoa, Organic unrefined coconut oil, Manitou Berbere Spice, baked summer squash, matchstick carrots, sautéed mushrooms, roasted brussel sprouts, black olives, spinach, baked sweet potatoes, sliced peppers, walnuts pieces and fresh lemon juice.
Confession about this meal. It's my go-to because it packs a mean nutritionally dense punch. It's gluten-free and simply delicious with a mixture of crunchy and crispy veggies.
TMI - The fiber in this meal keeps you feeling full for a while and ensures your wonderful digestive system functions properly, which s the best way to feel your best and have a flat stomach. Seriously.
Cauliflower Steaks with Summer Squash, Mushroom and Greens over Couscous
Couscous, organic unrefined coconut oil, Manitou Berbere Spice, baked summer squash, sautéed mushrooms, roasted brussel sprouts , black olives, spinach, baked sweet potatoes, sliced peppers
This meal was spontaneously created with leftover ingredients from Roasted Veggies over Quinoa. Though couscous isn't gluten-free it's the only grain I prepare consistently, because it takes about 4 minutes to prepare, which is about all the time I have if I am on the run. It's rich in protein and minerals and is minimally processed.
In lieu of other oils, the veggies were drizzled with coconut and baked in the oven. Coconut has a high flash point making it ideal when cooking at high temperatures.
The spinach was photographed raw, because it will wilt once heated. No one enjoys soggy spinach and I didn't want to compromise the meal for a photo.