My Sunday meal prep time is a sacred thing, and it’ll be the topic of an ongoing series here on the blog. It’s what allows me to get so much done during the week, keeps me eating healthy, and prevents my grocery bill from going through the roof due to one unscheduled trip to Costco. This post is going to tackle the aspect that took me the longest to nail down: planning.
There’s some unavoidable legwork that’s going to need to go into having a successful meal prep day. Right now the scope of this is just for one person, since that’s what I do for the most part (though I’m getting my boyfriend on board slowly by surely!).
1. Know Thyself
You need to know how much variety you’ll crave in your diet to make this thing work. If you make bad assumptions about having the same lunch every day, there is going to be some serious tupperware hate going on by the time Friday rolls around. I prefer to have the same breakfast, roughly the same lunch and snacks, and different dinners during the week.
2. Don’t Kale Your Vibe
Related to the first point is that you need to know what kind of meals you actually enjoy eating. This may sound silly, but it took me a long time to figure that out! For me, this also means a balance between delicious but decadent foods and their healthy counterparts. Because let’s be real here, I absolutely would eat Brussels waffles with a cup of syrup three times a day if I could.
3. Be Realistic
Keep in mind the logistics of taking your food with you daily. I’m lucky enough to have a fridge near my desk at work with plenty of space, and no one looks at me funny when I bring a whole bag full of it with me on public transit (yet). If this isn’t for you, I’d suggest having a more calorically dense option for lunch so you can have a one and done situation.
4. Shop Full, Meal Plan Full
Meal plan when you’re bored but full. I like to shoehorn it into a lunch break or a bus ride on Thursdays to give myself plenty of time to write up a shopping list for the weekend. Beware looking up recipes when you’re hungry or you may find yourself in over your head with your meals the next week. More than once I’ve accidentally planned double the food a human could conceivably consume when I made that mistake.
5. Simple Will Always Win
Simpler is better in the end if you’re just cooking for yourself I’ve found. Plus it makes leftovers even easier to reuse in a new way.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, on to the recipe for what I eat every morning right now! After trying at least a dozen variations, I’ve settled on this as my favorite.
Blueberry Overnight Oats
1/3 c old fashioned oats
1 scoop protein powder (optional, if you omit just add more nut butter)
1 T flax meal
A few blueberries (fresh or frozen)
A dollop of your favorite nut butter
Drizzle of maple syrup or honey (optional)
1/2-2/3 c unsweetened almond milk (or your favorite milk)
1/2 t coconut flakes if you’re feeling fancy
Shredded wheat cereal (for topping)
- Add ingredients to a 12 oz canning jar (I love the Ball jars without a neck) in order except for the cereal. Use 1/2c liquid if you’d like them denser and 2/3c if you’d like them thinner.
- Mix carefully but thoroughly with a butter knife, being sure to distribute the nut butter evenly.
- Cover with a lid (I prefer the plastic ones you can buy separately, they’re so much easier to wash and reuse).
- Place in fridge at least overnight and for up to 4-5 days. I personally haven’t had any issues with storing mine for the full five days using almond milk and I’ve seen others do the same, but use your own judgment.
- In the morning grab one, top with a few pieces of cereal, and dig in!
I love making these for houseguests or hiking partners too since they’re vegan (with syrup instead of honey), healthy, super filling, customizable, and easily made gluten free if you spend a bit more on the certified GF oats. Plus they just taste so darn good!
Here are a few more overnight oats recipes I’ve made in case you’re interested: