Sunday meal prep. It can be the difference between (a) arriving home at the end of a long workday feeling stressed and behind on dinner, or (b) walking in your front door with the peace of mind that dinner is almost ready.
As we embark on a week of healthy eating for the #CSCleanse, feeling prepped from the start will go a long way in helping me resist the temptation to order takeout if the week gets busy.
For me, Sunday afternoon is the perfect time to buy or order groceries, turn up the music in my kitchen, and get chopping, pack up work lunches for the week, and actually enjoy the process. Scroll on for the exact kitchen tasks I’m tackling to make the #CSCleanse menu a breeze during the week.
Roast veggies for grain bowls.
On the #CSCleanse, you’ll be making mix and match grain bowls every day for your lunch using leftovers and items you’ve prepped in advance. The point being that when it’s actually time to make lunch or pack it up for work in the morning, it should only take a couple minutes to throw together a delicious combo with what you’ve got on hand.
When I’ve got a big batch of roasted veggies in my fridge, I can rest easy knowing I’ve got the makings of a great meal. Here’s how I roast mine:
- Preheat oven to 425, and coat a foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray. Toss your cut veggies with extra-virgin olive oil and a little maple syrup maple syrup, a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Use your hands or a big spoon to toss it all together so that veggies are lightly coated.
- Roast for 15 minutes, then carefully remove veggies from oven and toss everything around to prevent it from sticking. Return to oven and roast for 15 more minutes. You’ll know the veggies are ready when they’re golden brown on the edges, tender and chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside.
And here’s a video where I show exactly how to do it.
Make your egg bites.
These egg bites couldn’t be easier, but they do require a bit of cook time, and really: who has time for anything extra when they’re trying to get out the door in the morning? Since they keep beautifully well in the fridge, Sunday is the perfect time to make the whole batch, then cover tightly with foil, pop in the fridge, and gently reheat in the oven or microwave (I set it to 50% power) when you’re ready to eat.
Roast sweet potatoes.
This step is a no-brainer since it takes zero effort, but moves the long cook time of sweet potatoes to your weekend instead of when you get home from work and are so hangry it suddenly doesn’t feel worth it to wait. Wrap your sweet potatoes tightly in foil, then place on a baking sheet or directly on the oven rack and roast at 425 degrees for at least an hour, until a knife inserts easily into the flesh. Remove from oven, let cool, then pop them in the fridge right in their foil wrapping. (Sometimes I also put mine into a ziploc baggie so the cooking liquid doesn’t seep out into the fridge.) Rewarm in the oven or microwave when it’s time to make your spicy stuffed sweet potatoes.
A few soft-boiled (or however you like ’em) eggs is clutch for a last-minute hit of protein and healthy fat with your lunchtime bowls. Or on top of your savory breakfast porridge. Or with some roasted veggies and salad greens for a pulled-together dinner. Basically, boiled eggs in the fridge = money in the bank. Here’s how I boil my perfect eggs:
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Use a spoon to carefully drop in eggs — turn the heat down a little so they don’t get jostled too much and crack.
- Set the timer to 8 minutes for a jammy center — 9 or 10 minutes if you like it totally set.
- Use a spoon to transfer eggs from boiling water to a bowl of ice water. Let them chill until totally cool.
- Peel and eat, or keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
The beauty of a breakfast porridge (besides the fact that it’s delicious and so nourishing) is that you can make a bit pot at the beginning of the week, stick it in the fridge, then reward individual servings each morning as you need them. Done and done. Our breakfast porridge relies on one master superfood-packed recipe; you can adjust the sweet and savory toppings each morning to mix things up.
Make any-herb pesto.
For me, a Sunday meal prep session isn’t complete until I have one solid sauce / vinaigrette / chutney / etc. that I can serve alongside protein, drizzle over a grain bowl, or thin out into a salad dressing. My favorite of them all is pesto, which is basically a mix of soft green herbs with olive oil, garlic, nuts, and a punch of acid. Blend up a batch on Sunday and I guarantee by the end of the week, this pesto has been one of the hardest working heroes in your kitchen and your meals were a lot more flavorful because of it.
Bonus if you’re feeling really ambitious:
Make lentil soup.
This adds some time to your Sunday meal prep, but there’s no better opportunity to let the soup do its thing on the stove while you’re chopping and prepping your other ingredients. I highly recommend getting ahead on this one just in case you have one night during the week when you know you’re going to be working late, or running kids around to after-school activities, or just want to come home having a heartwarming dinner waiting for you.
This soup can hang out in the fridge for 3 or 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Everything you need to crush the 2020 #CSCleanse is right over here!