4 Days of Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free Lunches
Since I’ve been at home this last year and a half being pregnant with our little guy Wrennyn and now working solely from home I noticed I’ve started to drift away from the routines I was so used to in the past.
Getting up at the same time every day, packing my prepped meals I would spend a decent part of the day on Sunday putting together, and working out roughly the same time every day were pretty dependable, and they worked! Now I tend to let myself sleep where I need to because our little guy likes to party at night still, and my schedule isn’t as regimented as it used to be, it’s very different day to day.
Some people work perfectly fine without a schedule, or are very accustomed to a lifestyle of working out everyday and healthy eating and can just afford the flexibility of taking it day by day. I truly find that having routines and being prepared with healthy easy to grab meals helps set us up for success with our health and fitness goals, especially if they are somewhat new to this way of living or it is an area of challenge. There is something about starting a week fresh with your fridge fully stocked with good intentions for the week ahead but there is so much more.
BENEFITS OF MEAL PLANNING
- Helps keep you keep on track with your fitness goals – We need to fuel our bodies with good healthy food sources to get us through our workouts and helps us recover afterwards. Our fitness goals are reached just as much in the kitchen as they are in the gym and they go hand in hand. You’ve probably heard it before but it’s the truth, You Can’t Out Exercise a Shitty Diet.
- Spend a little time to save a lot of time – I know it seems time consuming to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen on one of your only days off but meal prep can be as easy or complicated as you want and it will save you time for the rest of the meal when your food is ready to go and you don’t have to think about what to make, make grocery tips or rush to make lunch or dinner in that moment. This meal prep took me about 1.5 hours and most of it was just watching the oven to make sure everything was cooking properly!
- Save money on quick and easy foods – How often have you been out and about running errands, or running back to work after a lunch time work out starving and unprepared and you stop to grab the closest easiest thing. It probably wasn’t healthy either right? Planning ahead can also save you money where if you already have your meals prepped for the week you can usually avoid those multiple trips to the grocery store to grab more ingredients.
- Helps you plan ahead for well balanced whole food meals – When you plan ahead you can make the best choices for yourself and make sure your meals are fully packed with a large variety of nutrient dense foods suited to your needs and liking.
- Less likely to eat ‘bad for you’ foods – Like I mentioned above, when we are busy and hungry we sometimes tend to grab whatever is easiest in that moment and whatever is easiest rarely is the healthiest choice. By having our meals ready for us whenever we are ready to pop the lid or warm up quickly we avoid fast food choices.
- Save money & waste less – Knowing what you have prepared for the week is also a huge money saver. I know if I’m not prepared I will make multiple trips to the store to help fill in the gaps for whatever meal I’ve just thought up for that moment. We also tend to waste food that we had intended to make but decided to pick something else up or maybe order a pizza in the moment? It happens. This 4 day prep is ideal because I find depending on what you’ve prepped and the variety you have for the week, sometimes meals tend to get old or boring and maybe not as fresh anymore which is not appealing at all! Having a 4 days of meals, gives you options should you have other plans as well, maybe a lunch meeting, date with a friend, or a treat after a week of eating your healthy prepared meals?
Meal prep can be as simple or as complicated as you like. You can make it as easy as prepping one meal you repeat for a meal for the week, much like this post. Or you can make multiple dishes for lunches and dinner for the week for more variety. I think it’s always best to be realistic with what you need, you don’t need to go over board to reap the benefits of planning ahead. I suggest if you’re new to meal prepping to start small and work your way up from there. Maybe one meal of the day like just lunch or just dinner depending on your schedule needs.
For me, I am more than capable of making breakfast and dinner but lunch always seems to be that grey area where I’m usually busy, either with clients, Wrennyn and his programs, my own workouts, etc. and I am usually starving by the time I remember it is or was lunch. And when I get hangry it’s no good for anyone within a close distance. I’m also more likely to make quick, less than healthy choices or foods I know will bother me later because easy foods are rarely ever gluten free and dairy free. I’ve always found that having some prepped lunches on hand keeps me from those urges even if it’s just for a couple days of the week for days I know I’ll be busier.
I’m also a big fan of prepping foods for the week that I know take a little bit more time. They don’t necessarily have to fit all together as a meal but can be added to other ingredients that are ready to go as a time saver you can add them to a salad, chickpea pasta, or make a meal from them for an example.I find the best way to go about planning what to make is to make sure you have the following, a protein, carbs (you could do starchy and leafy or both depending on your ‘style of eating’) and healthy fats.
PREP AHEAD FOOD EXAMPLES
-Baked chicken breast, thighs, fish, ground beef or turkey, pulled pork or chicken, tofu, boiled eggs, pre portioned protein smoothies you can just throw in the blender
-Roasted veggies such as carrots, brussel sprouts, asparagus etc, sliced raw veggies, dips or spreads, sweet potato, baby potatoes, chickpea pasta, rice or quinoa
-Avocado, dressings, nuts and seeds
You’ll also need to make sure you have containers. You can pre portion them out for each day that you need or take from each container as you need, if maybe you like to assemble your meals the night before.
I tend to use glass containers as they are non toxic and easy to microwave and clean.
NOW LET’S MAKE LUNCH!
This week I prepped lunch for 4 days. It’s the same meal give or take and I showed only the items I made ahead of time as an example of where you can save time. I didn’t feel it necessary to show you how to add greens and avocado to this meal but that’s where you can get creative and add what you like. If you scroll to the bottom you’ll see I’ve made a sort of buddha bowl with lots of different items from this prep as an example.
I roasted veggies, cooked my proteins, and cut up raw veggies and made a vegan dip (that was inspired by my friend Jerri, she made it recently for a girl’s night and I’ve been obsessed ever since!) as a part of my lunch or a small snack. I’ve also seeded a pomegranate, you could add to your salad or dairy free yogurt, or eat alone as a small snack.
HALIBUT BURGERS WITH MISO GLAZED ROASTED EGGPLANT, ROASTED POTATOES & TRI COLOUR CARROTS AND VEGAN DILL DIP WITH PURPLE RADISHES
4 Red Potatoes
4 Large Tri Colour Carrots
1 Purple Radish
4 Sustainably Caught Halibut Burgers
Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
Salt & Pepper
1 Tsp Rosemary
Spicy or Regular Sesame Seed Oil
1 Tsp Shiro Miso
1 Tsp Honey
1 Tbsp of Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 Tsp of Sesame Seeds
1/3 Cup of Vegan Sour Cream
1/2 Cup of Vegan Mayonaise
1 Tbsp of Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp of Chopped Dill
Start by pre heating your oven to 180c / 350F
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
Wash your potatoes, carrots and eggplant and radishes
Cut your potatoes into bite size pieces and cut carrots length wise
Place on baking sheet and drizzle oil of choice. Season with salt and pepper and rosemary and place in oven.
Allow to bake for an 1-1.5 Hours until fully cooked and tender. Moving around on the pan occasionally.
MISO GLAZED EGGPLANT
Line another baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut you eggplant in half and score flesh.
Place on the baking sheet and brush with spicy sesame seed oil and season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, add miso, honey, rice wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste
Allow eggplant to cook for about 30 mins and remove from oven and brush with miso glaze and place back in oven for roughly 15-20 until fully cooked and tender
Remove and garnish with sesame seeds
Once cooled cut halves so you have 4 quarters
In a medium size pan with a Tbsp of avocado oil, heat pan and cook halibut burgers until slightly golden brown, being careful not to over cook as they become very dry.
VEGAN DILL DIP WITH PURPLE RADISHES
Slice purple radishes into medallions
In a medium size bowl or right in your glass container add the vegan sour cream, vegan mayo, lemon juice, chopped dill, and season to taste with S& P. Mix well to fully blend ingredients (I find vegan sour cream is a little tough to stir and you may want to use a whisk to whip it up good!) season to taste.
Cut and remove seeds
Once your veggies have cooled you can arrange your meals in your containers as you desire or leave them together and assemble a plate as you need it. Add salad greens and avocado, gluten free cracks, fruit. Don’t be afraid to add variety!
I hope you found quick and easy food prep helpful! I’ll be adding more tips and tricks and full guides to meal prepping for success as we go!