Meal Prep to Make Resolutions a Reality

New year, new you! It’s the phrase that echoes every year after January 1st and is often met with aggressive diets and ambitious gym memberships, or doubtful eye-rolls and a recommitment to sweatpants. Rather than focusing on the daunting task of going 0-60 on workouts and diets, streamline your daily routine and incorporate healthy meal prep to make a sustainable change to your everyday habits.

We’re sharing some tips and healthy recipes that can be prepared ahead so you’re ready to go about your day without being tempted by the quick, but unhealthy fast food options that are all around.

The biggest things to keep in mind are: planning (set your budget, decide on meals that cross-utilize ingredients, and write up a grocery list), preparing (grocery shop before the work week begins), and portioning (ensure you are getting the right amounts of nutritious ingredients balanced with items to keep your taste buds satisfied and cravings at bay).

Breakfast
Cereal makes for a quick and satisfying breakfast, but most store-bought options are loaded with sugar and other additives that don’t make for a great way to start the day. Instead of purchasing off-the-shelf, satisfy your sweet/crunch cravings and take the extra time to make a quick batch of your own, naturally-sweetened granola that you’ll be able to grab and go each morning. A great option is the following recipe for Strawberry Coconut Granola from the Minimalist Baker. Whatever recipe you choose, keep your morning cereal crisp in our Cereal On The Go 2.0 container, which comes with an attachable freezer cup to keep milk fresh and cold and a foldable spoon fitted under the lid. EASY-Coconut-Strawberry-Granola-Naturally-sweetened-8-ingredients-SO-tasty-vegan-glutenfree-strawberry-granola-recipe-healthy-768x1152

Strawberry Coconut Granola Ingredients
1½ cups gluten-free rolled oats
1¾ cups raw nuts
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 pinch sea salt
3½ Tbsp coconut oil, melted
¼ cup maple syrup
½ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
1.2 ounces unsweetened freeze-dried strawberries

Instructions
Preheat oven to 340 degrees F (171 C). Add oats, nuts, coconut sugar, and salt to a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. To a small saucepan, add coconut oil and maple syrup. Warm over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, whisking frequently until the two are totally combined and there is no visible separation. Immediately pour over the dry ingredients and stir to combine until all oats and nuts are thoroughly coated. Arrange on a bare large baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes.

Then remove from oven, add coconut, and stir/toss the granola. Turn the pan around so the other end goes into the oven first (so it bakes evenly) and bake 5-8 minutes more. Watch carefully as to not burn, especially the coconut. You’ll know it’s done when the granola is deep golden brown and very fragrant. Let cool completely before adding the strawberries. Toss to combine. Enjoy as a plain snack, or top with bananas and dairy-free milk! Store leftovers in a sealed bag or container at room temperature for 2-3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 1 month or longer.

Lunch
When cooking for the whole family, dinner often has to satisfy many different tastes and priorities, which can make it difficult to lead with healthy raw veggies. One of the easiest ways to amp up your nutritional intake, is to opt for salad at lunch and prepare it ahead so you don’t end up purchasing one loaded with cheese and smothered in unhealthy dressing. For one that’s quick and super-nutritious, check out the Seriously Delicious Detox Salad from Gimme Some Oven. BONUS TIP: avoid soggy lettuce by utilizing a to-go container tailored to salads, like our Expandable Salad Kit with specially designed trays and a leak-proof dressing container.

Detox-Salad-Recipe-with-Carrot-Ginger-Dressing-1Salad Ingredients
3 cups finely-chopped kale leaves
2 cups finely-chopped broccoli florets
2 cups finely-chopped red cabbage
1 cup matchstick (shredded) carrots
1 cup roughly-chopped fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup toasted slivered almonds
⅓ cup thinly-sliced green onions
1 avocado, peeled pitted and diced
1 batch Carrot Ginger Dressing (see below)

Instructions
Add all ingredients together in a large bowl, and toss to combine. Serve immediately. (Or if you are not going to serve the entire salad in one setting, the salad can be mixed without the dressing and refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 2 days with the dressing refrigerated separately in another sealed container.)

Dressing Ingredients
1 large carrot, peeled and roughly-chopped
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil (or any mild-flavored cooking oil)
1 tablespoon finely-chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon honey (or your desired sweetener)
1 tablespoon white (shiro) miso
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions
Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor, and pulse until completely smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and/or add extra honey if you’d like a sweeter dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 1 week.

Snacks
Often seen as your diet’s mortal enemy, snacking can be essential for a quick boost to get you through to your next meal. Choosing healthy, effective snack combinations can support your overall diet goals and ultimately help you to stay away from mindless munching. Some classic combinations that do the trick are listed below as well as a quick and filling Creamy Avocado Dip recipe from Cookie + Kate. Snack combinations stay fresh and compact in our Snack N Dip container.

mexican-avocado-dip-recipe-4-550x824Classic Snack Combinations
Apple slices + nut butter
Bell pepper strips + hummus
Vegetable chips + avocado dip

Creamy Avocado Dip Ingredients
2 large avocados, halved and pitted
½ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro (some stems are okay)
⅓ cup lime juice (from about 2 ½ limes)
1 small jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons water, more as needed to thin
½ teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions
Using a spoon, scoop the flesh of the avocados into a food processor or blender. Add the cilantro, lime juice, jalapeño, water, and salt. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary, until the sauce is smooth and creamy. (If the mixture refuses to blend, add additional water in 1-tablespoon increments, as necessary.) If you would like a thinner, more drizzly sauce, add water in 1-tablespoon increments until it reaches your desired consistency. Taste, and add more salt if it’s not quite flavorful enough. Transfer the avocado sauce to a small serving bowl. This sauce keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for about 4 days.

Most importantly, while you’re focused on healthy eating, don’t forget about the importance of drinking water to achieve your health and fitness goals. Remember to bring a reusable bottle everywhere you go to ensure you’re hitting your hydration targets and become your healthiest self in 2019!

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