(This article originally appeared in Stylblueprint Birmingham)
Meal prepping has long been a hallmark behavior of fitness gurus. Rows of perfectly assembled Tupperware filled with proteins, vegetables and healthy carbs are common images that most people conjure when they think of meal prepping. But, fitness coaches are here to say it doesn’t have to look that “perfect.” Working from home, caring for kids and keeping food on the table can be simple and seamless — and being “Instagram-worthy,” they say, isn’t a requirement.
Karen Broadwater, President of Birmingham-founded Iron Tribe Fitness, says eating healthy while under quarantine isn’t only possible, but it’s also a way to improve your overall health and wellness while the world “hits pause” for a little while.
“The key is to make it as simple and easy as possible,” Karen says. “Pick a lean protein, a healthy carbohydrate like brown rice or sweet potatoes, and tons of green, leafy vegetables.”
Good options for protein:
- Skinless chicken breast
- Lean turkey breast
- Lean ground beef
- Canned tuna
- Pork tenderloin
- Liquid egg whites
- Any white fish
Good options for healthy carbs:
- Sweet or red potatoes
- Cooked brown or white rice
- Rolled oats
Good options for veggies:
- Brussel Sprouts
- Yellow Squash
- Turnip Greens
Forrest Walden, founder and CEO of Iron Tribe, recommends “breaking up” the meal-prep process to save time. “Rinse, slice and season your favorite vegetables so they’re ready to be cooked later,” Forrest suggests. “Or, make big batches of soups, sauces and quality grains like brown rice and quinoa. Prep your protein ahead of time so all you have to do is throw it in a salad or inside a wrap for when you need it right away.”
Also, Karen recommends taking advantage of appliances like slow cookers, which allow you to let your food cook in bulk while you tend to other needs around the house.
If you’re at home with children, another way to make meal-prep more enjoyable is to make it a part of the daily routine. Get the kids involved and make it a family affair. Promote your little ones to simple tasks like putting Tupperware containers in rows or scooping out each day’s food portion into its designated container. Once you have a few “go-to” recipes, the meal-prep process will become a part of the routine.
If you’re still wondering what you can meal prep, then check out these below recipes, which use common ingredients that be found at most grocery stores (or, maybe, they’re already in your cabinet or refrigerator right now!).
Piccata (without Meat) in 10 minutes
- 1 zucchini halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into ¼-inch pieces
- 4 oz orzo pasta (or any “small-sized” pasta)
- ½ lb cocktail tomatoes (or cherry or diced Roma) (if cocktail, quarter them; if cherry, half them)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp capers
- 2 tbsp of Greek non-fat 0% yogurt
- 1 lemon, quartered
- Cook pasta for 7 to 9 minutes, drain and return to pot. Add Greek yogurt, salt and pepper to
- heated pan with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (or your preference). Add zucchini, chopped garlic and capers. Stir for 3 to 4 minutes. Combine and drizzle with the juice of one lemon wedge (or your desired amount).
- Feel free to add your desired protein! Chicken Piccata is a traditional Italian favorite. If you do choose a protein, it will add even more dynamics to this simple dish!
Crockpot Turkey Chili
- 1 lb extra lean ground turkey
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 green pepper
- 1 large can of crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1 chili seasoning packet (or you can make your own seasoning)
- 1 tsp garlic
- Add as many veggies as you want! I sometimes add carrots and celery.
- Add jalapenos for extra spice.
- Sautee veggies and garlic until soft and fragrant, then place in crockpot.
- Sautee extra lean ground turkey until cooked all the way through, add to the crockpot.
- Add can of crushed/diced tomatoes to crockpot.
- Turn on crockpot to high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-plus hours.
Sarah oversees social media and internal communication for Iron Tribe Fitness. Her goal is to share the mission of Iron Tribe so others can be transformed by the program, and ultimately become the healthiest version of themselves.