It’s very nearly the end of summer and most people seem determined to make the most of it while they can up here in the Pacific Northwest. For some that means weekend trips to the coast, for others it’s spending time in the National Parks, and a few even head out of their home state entirely for a full vacation. Whether it’s family reunions, weddings, or just a get-up-and-go jaunt, you might find yourself in a bit of a bind when you get home and realize that the work week is about to start without any of your normal preparations.
I’ve written before on how to prepare for a healthy trip and how important it is to have a plan of attack for when you get home. Picking back up a regular fitness routine is important, but even harder to make time for is menu planning, grocery shopping, and meal prepping for your first days back to the daily grind.
I really try to avoid convenience food as often as I can after travel, it’s just so much more expensive and rarely as healthy as my normal meals. Plus, if I’ve been eating out for the days before, it’s likely that my stomach is about ready to rebel if I try to eat pizza for dinner (I know, I tried to convince it that if I put a vegetable on it that it’s a well-balanced food too — no dice). This weekend I spent my usual meal prep day in Seattle at a Mariners game with a dear friend, which required a little advanced planning.
At this point you’ve probably heard me sing the praises of the simplest of dinner ideas a hundred times, but it really is the best lifesaver: The Bowl. Okay, that’s probably the most vague recipe you’ve ever seen. The title doesn’t even have a food item in it. What goes IN THE BOWL??
Well friends, that’s the beauty of The Bowl. What DOESN’T go in?
On Monday, it’s a Mexican Bowl (similar to this one). On Tuesday it’ll be a Greek Bowl (BOOM) with this chicken. Thursday I’ll mix up the Bowl ‘sitch with some Italian beef and zoodles. Friday will be some tasty leftovers combination that will probably combine a little bit of everything.
What do these bowls have in common?
- A make-ahead grain base (brown rice or quinoa)
- Some easy, no-prep veggies (zoodles, chopped tomatoes, bell peppers)
- Healthy & filling fats (hummus, avocado, Greek yogurt, olives)
- A quick-cook and leftover-friendly protein (Instant Pot chicken or beef, beans)
- A tasty theme for your spices, sauces, and flavorings
Oh, and the best part? These ingredients overlap really well so that you’re not spending a ton of time or money at the grocery store.
My very last lazy trick to get ahead for the week? I’m making the chicken & quinoa for my Mexican Bowl before I leave, so all I had to do was heat it up for an extra easy Monday dinner.
The only non-Bowl meal will be for my weekly dinner party, where I’ll be cooking up this vegan sweet potato chowder that I saw over on The Kitchn. Although it too will be served in a bowl, of course.
For breakfast, I decided to try out this crock pot granola also from The Kitchn, honestly mostly to make my apartment smell like Fall. Oh, and to go on top of yogurt come morning, of course.
As usual, you can find these recipes on my weekly meal planning Pinterest Board. See you all on Sunday with a recap!