Earlier this week I talked about how to meal prep with my friend Taylor. She helped explain to me the importance of preparing meals for your week and how it can save you time and keep you from making unhealthy choices when it comes to meals. Personally, I’m the worst at last minute eating whatever is fastest and usually end up skipping out on some important food groups.
Once Taylor was able to explain to me how to prep for my meals, I wanted her to give me an idea of an ACTUAL game plan with some actual recipes. So we thought through the “how to meal prep” in general steps and applied it.
We sat down and talked about what ingredients we wanted to incorporate, vegetables I enjoy eating, and planned out a grocery list for all of the veggie bowls. The grocery list was really important because it allowed us to incorporate overlapping ingredients so food wouldn’t go to waste throughout the week.
5 REASONS WHY VEGGIE BOWLS ARE A GREAT IDEA for Meal Planning
Other than the fact that they taste good, here’s why we chose to share these with y’all:
- Easy to Mix & Match Ingredients – All 3 of the bowls call for similar ingredients so you can easily can “mix & match” between the recipes throughout the week.
- Easy to Prepare – All of the veggies can be prepared over the weekend and stored in the refrigerator ready to be used to assemble daily lunches before rushing out the door in the morning.
- Healthy Ingredients – Lots of veggies & protein and a little whole grain – the combination of fiber in the vegetables and whole grains and the protein help fill you up and keep you full for hours.
- Filling – The bowls are filling but not super heavy like a big bowl of pasta or big greasy hamburger, which often leave you feeling drowsy.
- Easy to Pack For On-The-Go – Your whole meal can literally be in one bowl. It’s up to you if you want to pack the extras like fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt (regular or Greek), whole grain pita and hummus, but for the most part these veggie bowls are great for when you’re on the go (aka for work!)
The next step was deciding what items I could prepare ahead of time in order to make cooking during the week a little faster. Taylor pointed out that vegetables were some of the most time consuming foods to prepare everyday before a meal. In the case of these recipes a lot of the veggies needed to be roasted, so we decided to prepare those along side quinoa and eggs as ingredients to prepare for the week. All of these items can easily be mixed, matched, and reheated into different bowl combinations.
MEAL PREP STEPS for 3 Different Veggie Bowls
If you want to apply the steps we talked you through in the “how to meal plan” guide and emulate the veggie bowls we made, we listed out exactly how to do it below. Also, you can find an easy-to-follow printout with the grocery list and instructions for each veggie bowl. But NOTE: you’ll want to follow THESE instructions BELOW too when you’re prepping all the bowls because this will help you streamline your process. Also, the instructions in the printout don’t have all the details that these do below. For instance, in the printout it might just say “add roasted tomatoes”, but the instructions below will tell you how to season and walk you through roasting them.
- Start by preheating your oven(s) to 375 degrees F.
- Cover 3 large baking sheets with aluminum foil
- Have a small to medium saucepan and a medium sized skillet ready to use
Cook the Quinoa
- In a medium saucepan add 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa to 1 cup water and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling reduce heat to simmer and cover, allowing quinoa to cook covered for about 15 minutes or until water has been absorbed.
- Remove cooked quinoa from the heat and fluff with a fork.
- Cover and keep warm if serving immediately. Or allow to cool completely and store in airtight container to use with meals throughout the week.
- Can also follow package directions.
Prepare The Sweet Potatoes
- Dice sweet potatoes into about 1/2 -inch to 3/4 – inch thick squares.
- In a medium – sized mixing bowl, toss with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil until well coated.
- On one of the foil – lined baking sheets spread out your diced sweet potatoes.
- Place in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, stirring the potatoes at about 15 minutes to evenly cook on both sides.
- Once browned on both sides and fork tender (a fork can be easily inserted into middle of potatoes), remove from the oven to serve or store for later that week.
Roast Onions, Bell Peppers & Broccoli
- Dice bell peppers into about 1/2 -inch thick squares.
- Chop broccoli into small florets (whatever size you prefer for eating).
- Slice onion into 1/4 – inch thick half moons.
- Place all vegetables into a medium or large mixing bowl and toss with about 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of olive oil until well coated.
- On one of the foil – lined baking sheets spread out your vegetable medley.
- Place in the preheated oven, along with the sweet potatoes but on a different rack, for about 30 minutes, stirring at about 15 minutes to evenly cook through.
- Note: Vegetable medley will most likely be cooked before the sweet potatoes. These may only need about 5 – 10 more minutes after the initial 15 minutes..
- Once browed and tender (but still with a little bite), remove from the oven to serve or store for later.
- While other vegetables are roasting in the oven, heat a medium skillet to medium heat and coat with about 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.
- Once skillet is hot, add the sliced mushrooms and, stirring occasionally, cook until they start to sweat (lose their water content) become tender and have browned, about 8 – 10 minutes.
- Once cooked, remove from the heat and serve or store for later.
- Once other vegetables have roasted, turn the broiler on high.
- Toss grape tomatoes in about 2 – 3 teaspoons of olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Spread tomatoes out on a small or medium – sized roasting pan.
- Place under the broiler and cook until skins start to blacken and tomatoes begin to burst, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
Cook The Eggs
- Add 2 eggs (or more if you want additional hardboiled eggs for snacks) to a medium pot and fill with water until just covering the eggs.
- Add about 1 – 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the water with the eggs.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Once boiling, cover and remove from the heat, allowing the eggs to sit covered for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Once eggs are cooked, store for later use or peel and slice into 1/8 – 1/4 – inch thick slices.
Now that you have prepped all of your veggies the rest is fun and easy! Just assemble whichever bowl you prefer using a different combination of vegetables, protein and toppings!
We wanted to also share the 3 veggie bowls that we ended up making, prepping, and enjoying last week. These 3 veggie bowl recipes are SUPER easy to prepare and great for women on the go if you need some suggestions.
Bonus Tip: By having a variety of “extras” in your pantry or refrigerator (such as dried fruit, capers, crumbled cheeses, toasted nuts and seeds, water chestnuts, etc.) you can change almost an identical dish into something a little different each day so that you don’t get completely bored.