Minimalist Meal Planning

Unless you’re new around here (in which case, HI!! Thanks for stopping by!), you know that I’ve been super busy lately. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons, I have rehearsal for anywhere from 3 to 4 hours. And the timing is such that I don’t have enough time to go home between work and rehearsal during the week. I usually end up going to the gym instead.

This means that most of my meals are eaten away from home, which is generally a recipe for unhealthy eating and/or paying out the wazoo for convenience foods. And being so busy leaves me very little time for traditional meal planning and prep–I don’t have 5 hours on Sunday afternoon to peel, chop, cook etc. I have pared down my weekly meal prep to the bare minimum, and so far it’s working for me. In case you’re curious or looking to develop a system of your own, here’s what I do.

Shopping List:

  • Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 2 lbs green beans
  • 1 lb carrots
  • Bananas
  • 4 or 5 medium sweet potatoes
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tender fillets
  • Quick oats
  • All natural nut butter (my favorite is sunflower seed butter)
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Granola or some variation of Kashi cereal
  • Nuts (usually cashews or almonds)
  • Sometimes I buy Lara bars or Kind bars for portable snacks, but only if they’re on sale

On Sunday evening when I get home from rehearsal, I dump the chicken in my crockpot with some salsa and a bit of water. No, I don’t measure anything. I cook the chicken on high for about 4 hours, or until it’s done.

While the chicken is doing its thing, I’ll peel and chop the sweet potatoes, season them with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika, and roast them at 350 for about an hour, or until they’re cooked through. I’ll also peel and chop carrots and put them in a container filled with water to keep them fresh. This way I can just grab a handful and put them in a baggie or container for easy, healthy snacking.

Next, I sautee the green beans in olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper. I like my beans crispy, so I don’t cook them very long. Once the chicken, sweet taters, and beans are all done, I divide them up into 5 equal portions for lunches during the week. Friday’s portion usually ends up being dinner because I have a standing lunch date with a friend. For dinners on Monday or Wednesday nights, I’ll try to snag leftovers from dinners at home, or hit up the Shaw’s salad bar.

Every night, I’ll prep a batch of overnight oats in a mason jar to bring to work for breakfast in the morning. 1/2 cup quick oats + 3/4 cup almond milk + a ripe banana + 2 tbsp of nut butter = creamy, sweet breakfast with no added sugar. Just microwave for 60 seconds before serving. Yum!

Snacks at work are usually Greek yogurt with granola or cereal in the morning, and nuts in the afternoon. I’ll occasionally have a Lara bar or Kind bar before an evening workout, just for a bit of extra energy and to keep Hangry Rae at bay.

So there you have it. My bare bones weekly meal prep. Once I have more time again, I’d like to be more thorough and try to cover all of my meals during the week, but for now, it’s good enough.

Do you do a weekly meal plan/prep session?

Sweet potatoes, love ’em or hate ’em? I obviously love them.

21 thoughts on “Minimalist Meal Planning

  1. dgobs says:

    Sweet potatoes are my jam! I’m awful at meal planning (but trying to improve!) and am in awe of your organization and yummy/healthy food. Do you ever get tired of eating the same thing for lunch every day? I get sick of things after 2 or 3 days of the same food, which makes lunch planning for the week a little trickier than I’d like.

  2. piratebobcat says:

    This is awesome! I need to do more crock pot cooking. It’d be good to get in the habit of turning it on on Sundays and throw a bunch of stuff in and then have meals ready for the week!

    • DarlinRae says:

      I just HAVE to be organized about it because I have such a short period of time available. Otherwise, it doesn’t happen and I eat Chipotle everyday, which, while delicious, is not a good life choice!

  3. greenmountainlife says:

    Smart meal plan busy lady! I love sweet potatoes, every time that I make them I’m always like “oh we should do this more often” and then a month goes by and I repeat the cycle. I wish I could get into overnight oats though, I’m trying desperately.

  4. charissarunning says:

    This is a great list! I’m not one to prepare my food much ahead of time, but I typically have pretty easy meals throughout the day: oatmeal, sandwich, yogurt, and fruit/nut bar (I like Kind bars!). It’s usually a pretty quick grab’n’go kinda deal. Sometimes I’ll make a sweet potato the night before though if I’m feeling extra organized! Obviously, that means I love sweet potatoes 🙂

  5. Fallon @ Slacker Runner says:

    The closet I get to meal planning is buying all the supplies for the weeks lunches and then taking it all to work and sticking it in the refrigerator. But nothing’s separated or in cute containers. Now if I could just figure out dinners though.

  6. runsaltrun says:

    Bare bones is better than the whole bunch of nothing I do! I need to learn how to meal plan, but I think I might be the worst meal planner on the planet. We have a crock pot, but I never use it and my life would be so much easier if I did.

    • DarlinRae says:

      Crock pots are magical. One year when I was in a show, I took a whole day on a weekend and put together like 9 crock pot meals and put them in the freezer and it made my life SO MUCH EASIER.

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