A Week’s Worth of Meal Prep in an Hour

Photos by Sarah Caplan

This week I managed to keep my grocery bill at $30 thanks to Marché Eden’s fantastic selection of discounted groceries. Full disclosure, I had a few key items in my pantry already so if you need to stock up, your haul may be a little pricier. Anywho, I thought I would share my meal prep to get you through your last week before walking through the doors of bliss: reading week. On the menu this week for breakfast is a variety of chia pudding or oatmeal (up to you), Italian tuna salad, and a lentil soup that is simply soul warming.

What you gotta pick up:

  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes  (small is better)
  • Baby carrots
  • 3 Apples
  • 2 Bananas
  • Lemons
  • Red lentils
  • Red onion
  • Yellow Onion
  • Broccoli
  • Green Beans
  • Hummus
  • Corn (can or frozen)

What I had but you might need:

  • Canned Tuna
  • Chia Seeds
  • Almond Milk
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric (powder)
  • Paprika
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Bread / Rice Cakes (optional)
  • Frozen Berries (optional)

Honestly, grocery shopping this week was great: I did not return sweaty or broken boned, and my groceries elegantly fit in my large reusable grocery tote. I would highly recommend  investing in one or two large reusable grocery bags that have a handle you can swing on your shoulder as it really makes the commute back from the store more manageable. Plus, good for the environment.

Once I got back from my grocery hall I *drum roll please* meal prepped! I like to make my lunch and dinner for the week in one go, and then will usually make breakfast the night before or in the morning. So let’s start with dinner, Middle Eastern – inspired – lentil soup. Yum! This recipe is both filling, because it has a good amount of protein, and also good for the midterm suffering soul. Another bonus: it only takes about 10 minutes of active cooking.

First: chop your onion, 3 cloves of garlic, one cup of carrots and place them in your pot with some olive oil. You are going to want to cook these until the carrots have softened a little bit.

Then add: cumin, turmeric, and paprika to taste (I used around 2 tbsp of cumin, 1 tsp of turmeric, and 2 shakes of paprika) and let them heat up for just a minute.

Once you can smell your spices add 7 cups of water, 1 ½ cups of red lentils and the juice of 1 lemon. Mix it all together and let it cook, on a medium heat, for about 10 minutes, stir a few times.

Then add: 2 cups of chopped spinach and let it cook for another 15 minutes.

Fin. Delicious! I ate this with a rice cake and hummus, but you could do toast, veggies and dip or just on its own if you aren’t too hungry.

While the soup was cooking I prepped my lunch. Am I the only one who LOVES canned tuna? If so, you can stop reading here, but if not please feel free to continue. But please note: if you are vegan just replace tuna with white beans, chickpeas, or kidney beans. This recipe is super easy.

I chopped half of a red onion and 1 ½ cups of green beans. Then I emptied my carton of cherry tomatoes and can of corn (drained) into the same large container.

I drained my tuna and placed it in a smaller container.

Everyday, all you need to do is take out the veggies and place them on top of a bed of arugula add in some tuna and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. I would recommend Italian tuna for this salad but really anything works.

You can also add potatoes, olives, peppers and anchovies to this recipe if you want to bulk it up, call it a Niçoise if you’re feeling particularly good that day, but I just eat it as described above. Also note, that I used both my leftover spinach and a box of arugula as the bed of my salad.

Finally, breakfast. Also included in my gluten reduced, vegan (except fish) diet is no oats. In conclusion, breakfast is hard. So for breakfast I usually go for chia pudding, but feel free to replace these same recipes but with oatmeal, granola, yogurt, or cereal.

My chia pudding is foolproof: just 2 tbsp of chia seeds to ½ cup of milk (I use different nut milks, sorry, mylks). You can vary this breakfast everyday with different combos: apple cinnamon, banana and peanut butter, blueberry vanilla, mixed berry. I also have cocoa powder that I occasionally add in to get my chocolate fix. And voila, breakfast!

For snacks, baby carrots and broccoli with hummus, bananas, and apples are what were on the list above, but really just add in your own snacks and munch on the things that you love most. I try and do some kind of protein filled snack just because it keeps me more full.

And that is it. You got three meals a day to get you over the last hurdle before reading week. Enjoy!

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