Smoothie contents

Flourish and Nourish Guide to Food Prepping

Welcome to this no frills, grab and go, easy meal prep guide to make weekday meals easy for the whole family.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, when I look at my calendar for the upcoming week and see busy, busy, busy written all over it can be a little overwhelming. For years I used to get myself into such a tizzy, wondering how I was going to get everything done, keep my sanity, get my workouts in, not to mention making sure I fed the family! Over the years, and without really thinking about it I started to create systems to help me glide into next week while making sure I enjoyed my Sunday, knowing Monday was on its way and busy was right around the corner.
Yes, I was an early food prep pioneer without knowing it!


Consider this a ‘how-to’ plan helping you learn how to establish the methodologies, rather than pages of recipes. I suggest you chose some simple family favorites to start with, choosing food you know works well if used next day. Food prepping doesn’t take the place of preparing delicious, homemade meals for the family to enjoy together, but rather a convenient, healthy approach to taking the stress out of weekday meal drama. It is perfect for when you want to make or grab something quick and easy for breakfast and lunch and put together some simple dinners like stir fry, tacos or wraps. I use this plan every week, adjusting the ingredients and quantity depending on who is home.


I now live at home with my husband and 17 year old daughter, we all lead busy lives and often struggle to sit down at the table for dinner together, and when we do we rarely want to eat the same thing, which is a Mom’s dinner nightmare! However, one thing we do have in common, is we are all capable of preparing food, especially if the basics are already premade in the fridge.


If you’ve never done meal-prepping before it can feel overwhelming, but it’s not, really. Just think about all the time you will have available to you because you have taken an hour or two over the weekend. Have you heard the old wives’ tale, a stitch in time saves nine? It’s the same principle. I honestly think it frees up around 6 or 7 hours a week for me Monday – Thursday, and that is a cautious estimate. I don’t worry about leaving the house for evening workouts, girls’ nights, late night meandering around the mall, because everyone is taken care of with minimum time and fuss. I have a friend with young children who goes out for a family meal on Sunday, grocery shops on the way home and once her children are in bed she and her husband have a kind of date-night meal prep in the kitchen, FUN!
What is meal prep and why should you try it?

Meal prep is exactly what it sounds like: prepping your meals (or meal components) ahead of time so your food is ready to eat whenever you are. The easiest way to do it is to pick a day when you’re free— for me it is usually Sunday—to prep enough food to get you through the upcoming week, or at least the next 2-4 days.

Planning your meals ahead of time can make it easier to eat healthier too. It’s easy to succumb to takeout or frozen pizza when you’re exhausted after a long day. But you’ll probably be motivated to make better choices—say, salmon and quinoa or chicken and pepper fajtas—when you map out your menu in advance and when it’s ready for you in the fridge or pantry.

One Step at a Time Girlfriend!

1. Get the Gear!
Despite what some meal-prep guides might say, you don’t need to shell out for tons of new products before beginning. That said, having the right tools can be helpful. Consider picking up these items, if you don’t already have them on hand.

• One or two large sheet pans. Use them to roast veggies, proteins, or full sheet-pan meals
• A big stock pot/saucepan/Instapot. It’s key for one-pot meals like soups, stews, curry, or chili.
• A medium sauce pot. Use it for cooking whole grains or making hard-boiled eggs.
• Glass storage containers with sturdy lids. They’re your best options for storing prepped food. (And, unlike cheap plastic, they won’t leach chemicals into your food.) Aim to have a variety of sizes for storing big and small batches of prepped items.
• Zip-top bags. Small ones are great for portioning out snacks like nuts or sliced veggies. Bigger ones are good for storing whole meals or individual components if you run out of storage containers (or run out of room for more containers in your fridge).
• Mason Jar glasses. I use the ones with handles for my smoothies, I also use large reusable smoothie straws.

2. Plan your menu.
Trying to figure out what to make for dinner every night can be as stressful as finding the time to make it. Before you begin you need to know which meals you will make and what to buy. Aim to have a protein, a vegetable, and a starch for each meal—the combo will help you stay satisfied. Aim to make half your meal or plate fruit and/or vegetables. Protein and carbohydrates the size of the palm of your hand and some good fats, either avocado, nuts, olive oil dressing or oil fish in place of lean protein.

As for what to cook, exactly? The sky’s the limit, but in general, try to think about scheduling meals which are complementary to each other, for instance, if you are chopping vegetables to make a stir fry, chop up some for the following night for a vegetarian chili or fajitas. Think about the fact you don’t want to cook off seven days’ worth of protein unless you plan to freeze some, perhaps make a note to buy some more midweek or defrost some previously made to take you through the next few days.
If tackling five or even seven days seems like way too much, start by prepping just two dinners. Double the ingredients so you can eat each dinner twice, and bam! You’ve got four nights covered.

Meals fall into one of these categories:
One-pot or one-pan meals: Think soups, curry, chili, oatmeal, or anything else that you can cook in a single pot, Instapot or Crock-Pot/slow cooker.

Sheet-pan meals and frittatas: Bake them in a lasagna dish and cut into slices or make individual servings in muffin tins. If you want simplicity to the max, this is the route to go.

Component-based meals: (My general approach)
Try prepping proteins, vegetables, and starches individually for mixing and matching. For instance, pre-chopped veggies can top a pizza on Monday, be mixed into pasta sauce on Tuesday, and folded into tacos on Wednesday. And since a plain bowl of quinoa, veggies, and chicken or tempeh can get kind of boring, plan to make a few sauces, dressings, or toppings to keep things interesting from a flavor perspective.
Do you have to map out each thing you’re going to eat for the entire week? No, but writing a list of family favorites will be helpful.


3. Shop and cook.
With your menu planned, it’s time to make a grocery list and go shopping. Think through all the items you’ll be cooking and write down the ingredients you’ll need. This is key! Having an actual list (versus trying to keep track of everything in your head) increases the odds you will actually come home with everything you need. Pushed for time? Perhaps order everything online for pickup or delivery.

When it’s time to cook, think about ways to maximize your efficiency as much as possible. As I said earlier, it shouldn’t take more than one to two hours if you multitask the right way. When you’re firing up the oven, roast vegetables and bake chicken or tofu at the same time. Then start a pot of quinoa or soup on the stovetop. While that simmers, pre-chop fruits or veggies or whip up a batch of hummus for snacking. More on that later.


4. Packing and storing.

There are two ways to approach the storage of meals you wish to grab and go, bulking and batching.
Bulking: (left) Large containers holding the individual ingredients
Batching: (right) Line up your containers adding each ingredient for the meal, easy to grab & go.
I like to batch prepare lunches, using the bulk ingredients for dinners

I store my food as soon as it is made or cooled in clear, stackable containers so I can see what is inside for quick, easy access throughout the week.

Utilize the right containers. Portion out single servings into small individual containers, which are easy to grab and go. Dinners you’ll serve in one big batch can go in bigger containers.

• Keep salads and dressings separate. Storing already-dressed salad is a recipe for a soggy, wilted mess. Keep everything fresh by packing chopped salad veggies in one container and dressing in another. Spinach and kale stay fresh longer than micro greens.

• Cool before refrigerating. It’s fine to transfer hot food straight to your glass storage vessels. But let the food come to room temperature before moving it to the fridge—especially when it comes to big batches. Popping a family-size serving of, say, piping hot chili into the fridge will warm up everything that’s already in there and could potentially set the stage for spoilage and food poisoning. A lot of newer refrigerators have the ability to lower the temp for a period of time. Lowering the internal temp of your refrigerator when you start your meal prep helps counteract all that heat. Next put the prepped food on the top shelf. Ideally you want to avoid food staying in the danger zone (40 to 140 degrees F) where bacteria can grow quickly. Once it’s cooked, try to bring it down to 40 degrees as soon as possible if you don’t have plans to serve it immediately.


5. Eat strategically
You’ve got all this delicious food at the ready—so what should you eat first? “Most things can be prepared in advance and stay safe to eat for five days; however, animal-based proteins tend to lose their luster the quickest so consider eating your fishy, meatier meals earlier in the week and saving plant based foods for later.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to use your judgment. If something looks or smells suspicious, don’t eat it—even if it’s only been sitting in the fridge for a day or two.


Prepping Like a Boss!

Here is an insight into my prepping routine, I have it down to around one and a half to two hours, depending on how much I’m making.

1. Get your apron on, if you’re anything like me you’ll need it! I also love using food safe gloves, they make prepping raw meats a little less messy.

2. Turn your oven on to 350/375

3. Take your meat out of the fridge to come to room temperature.

4. Rub the meat with oil, salt, pepper and any seasonings of your choice. I prefer dried herbs when BBQ’ing, they don’t burn. Put the meat to one side. Prep your veggies, put in roasting tins and roast for 10-15 minutes, turn over and roast for another 10

5. While veggies are in the oven prepare your starchy foods. Cook the quinoa, farro, pasta or lentils as per packet instructions. With the exception of the pasta I like to add half a veggie stock cube to my pans of hot water to give the grains some added flavor.

6. Light the BBQ and leave to come up to temperature and tidy up the kitchen while the starches are cooking so you can keep an eye on them.

7. Once the starches are cooked, rinse thoroughly in cold water and drain.

8. Put the protein on the BBQ. If you are ‘man BBQing’ then watch your meat/fish every second. If you are ‘woman BBQing’, 😉 leave the meat there for a few minutes, head back into the kitchen and put those starches into your Tupperware/containers.

9. Check the protein and turn it over.

10. Gather all ingredients for smoothies, overnight oats and protein balls. This sounds a tall order but stick with me, this is easier than it sounds. Many of these ingredients may already be in your pantry/fridge close together and are frequently used in many of these recipes

11. Smoothies – see recipes. Make the smoothies, one type at a time. Pour into mason jars and immediately refrigerate. I make smoothies for 2 days at a time, green ones tend to be more robust than berry. To help speed up future prepping I sometimes portion up ingredients for one smoothie at a time and freeze, adding the liquid when I blend.

12. Overnight Oats – see recipes. Overnight oats can go soggy if left for more than three days so I put all my dry ingredients into mason jars and add milk/juice/water to them the night before I plan to eat them, I sometimes leave it until the morning, especially if adding fruit.

13. Protein Balls – see recipes. Make these bad boys at the end or you will be eating them the whole time you are prepping! Add some of them to snack bags or tubs for a quick grab and put the remainder in a tub in the fridge. Sometimes I make the basic recipe of nut butter and oats, divide the mixture in two and make two different recipes.

Smoothie Recipes

Next Level Green Smoothie
1 handful of spinach
4 small round slices of cucumber
1/2 green apple
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 cup water or coconut water
1 banana
1 tsp. raw honey

Morning Greens Smoothie
1 cup (or handful) of spinach leaves
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp. raw honey (optional)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Creamy Green Smoothie
1/4 avocado
1 banana
1 tsp. raw honey
1 handful of spinach
1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Citrus Smoothie
1 banana
1 cup (or handful) of spinach leaves
1/2 lemon
juiced 1 tsp. raw honey
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Tropical Green Breakfast
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 small banana
1 handful of spinach
1 spoonful of greens powder (optional if you have some!)
Juice of ½ lime
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Chocolate PB Smoothie
1 banana
1-2 tsp. unsweetened cacao, cocoa powder or chocolate protein powder
1 tbsp. peanut butter
1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Strawberry Basil Smoothie
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
3-4 leaves of basil
1/2 lime squeezed
1 tsp. raw honey
1 tbsp. chia seeds 1
cup water or coconut water

Pineapple Bliss Smoothie
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 small frozen banana
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. raw chia seeds
1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 small banana
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp. raw honey
1 tbsp. chia seeds

Vanilla Berry Ice-Cream Smoothie
1/2 cup mixed berries
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. raw honey
1 cup unsweetened almond milk

My Favorite Family Smoothie Recipes: Serves 3
Mango Tango
2 cups of diced frozen mango
2 cups of spinach or kale
1 cup of coconut water
I cup of coconut or unsweetened almond milk
Optional scoop of vanilla protein powder

Merry Berry
2 cups of frozen berries of your choice
1 frozen banana
½ – ¾ cup of plain Greek yoghurt (I use 2 or 5%) depending on your taste
2 cups of almond/coconut milk or coconut water.
Optional scoop of vanilla protein powder

2 bananas
1-2 tsp. unsweetened cacao, cocoa powder OR 1 scoop of chocolate or vanilla protein powder
2 tbsp. peanut butter
2 cup unsweetened almond milk


Easy No Bake Protein Balls Recipes  

The Base

Old-fashioned rolled oats– I always use old fashioned rolled oats for protein balls because they hold their shape making for a great texture.

Nut butter – My one tip for nut butter is to make sure it’s drippy. It can be hard to mix when you have a more “solid” or “dry” nut butter, so I recommend finding a runny one, or use the top half of a new jar. You can use any nut butter you want for the base . . . even a seed butter like sunflower butter or tahini if you’re allergic to nuts.

Honey – I sometimes add a hint of sweetener to my base.

Protein powder – For these protein balls, I use a plant-based, organic protein powder. This increases the protein content, which I’m a huge fan of, but it also brings in some fun flavors like vanilla or chocolate and a little sweetness to the mix.

Getting the mixture to combine takes a little arm muscle and it may seem too thick at first, but it will come together as you keep mixing. I used my hands to knead the dough near the end and that seems to help.
Once combined, use a small cookie scoop to scoop and form the dough into balls.
Store in a covered container in the fridge or freezer.

Too Dry or Crumbly?
Some protein powders will soak up more liquid than others and some nut butters are drier than others. This is totally normal, and it might cause your protein ball mixture to seem a little dry or crumbly. If this happens, just add a little water or almond milk to the protein ball mixture, 1 teaspoon at a time until the mixture is moist enough to form into balls. Just be careful not to add too much liquid.

Chocolate Peanut Butter
1 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
2 scoops (about 50–60 grams) chocolate protein powder
2 Tablespoons chocolate chips
Place oats, peanut butter, honey, protein powder and chocolate chips in a large bowl and stir to combine.

Chocolate Almond
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup natural almond butter
1/4 cup honey
2 scoops (about 50–60 grams) chocolate protein powder
1–2 Tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
Place oats, almond butter, honey, protein powder and shredded coconut in a large bowl and stir to combine.

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup cashew butter
1/4 cup honey
2 scoops (about 50–60 grams) vanilla protein powder
2 Tablespoons raisins
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Place oats, cashew butter, honey, protein powder, raisins and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir to combine.

Tahini Chocolate Chip
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup tahini
1/4 cup honey
2 scoops (about 50–60 grams) vanilla protein powder
2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips
Place oats, tahini, honey, protein powder and chocolate chips in a large bowl and stir to combine.


Download the plan here

Flourish and Nourish Food Prep Plan