Struggling with Meal Prep & Planning?
Picture this — you come home from a long day at work and you don’t have much energy left. You know that the kids need to be fed and you only have 30 minutes before they need to be out the door off to sport practice or music lessons and you are stressing again about what to cook. You look for something in your fridge that is quick but probably something that could be a lot healthier. You know that you just need to quickly get something in their stomachs before rushing them off to practice.
Did I just describe your nightly routine?
My night often resembles this description, and I don’t even have kids to worry about yet! I understand it can be stressful finding anytime to spend in the kitchen when we are rushing from commitment to commitment.
If we enter the kitchen already hungry and short on time, there is a higher chance that we will choose whatever dish we can make in the shortest amount of time! It makes perfect sense and this is super common. Our brain is telling us we are hungry and often at this point nutrition goes right out the window!
So how do we listen to the signals from our brain but also remember to grab the healthier options? Drum roll please…. Meal Prep! You may have rolled your eyes on that one and whispered “I thought you understood I have no time at night” but don’t worry, you don’t have to think about or even cook every night of the week! However, meal prepping does make a big difference! One of the most important steps in making the healthy choices the easy choice is making sure you have healthy dishes easily accessible at home. Then, when your brain is telling you to grab whatever is the quickest the healthier option will be the quick choice too!
So how do I make meal prep the least amount of work?
First, pick one day of the week that you can carve out some time to cook. It doesn’t even need to be a night, but perhaps a Sunday morning. Use that time to make a dish but double or triple the recipe! This will leave you with planned leftovers that will serve you well on those busy days.
Dietitian Pro tip: double or triple a recipe to have planned leftovers. Bonus if it’s freezer friendly and you can pack in individual servings!
Next, pre-portion the leftovers into multiple smaller containers that resemble the portion you typically would want at a meal. That way you don’t have to worry about thawing half a container. Just simply take out one smaller container and pop it into the microwave or oven.
So what recipe works well for freezing, you ask. Well, these spiced burritos are a great place to start! They freeze well, but most importantly they reheat exceptionally well! I made a batch of 6 just for myself and by wrapping them individually I had many quick dinners ready to go. If you have the time to reheat one in the oven, just simply place the wrapped burrito in the oven. The best part is that the tortilla will become nice and crispy. If you don’t have as much time, unwrap the burrito from the tin foil and warm up in the microwave. They still taste great and the microwave helps cut down time significantly. Both reheating from frozen or from the fridge works great!
Most of us are living really busy lives and often healthy food choices are what get compromised. By taking a little extra time on one day to meal prep for the week we can assure that when our brain is telling us we are over hungry, the healthier option is the quick and easy choice too!
- 2 cups of pre-made rice (or other grain of choice)
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- One small butternut squash, chopped (no more than ¼ cup in each burrito for Low FODMAP)
- 1 orange and 1 red pepper, chopped
- 3 leafs of kale, chopped fine
- 500 grams lean ground beef
- 1 tbsp chilli powder
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 green onion, chopped. (Include only the green parts for Low FODMAP)
- 2 cups of grated cheese
- If do not have leftover rice, follow instructions on packaging to make 2 cups of cooked rice.
- Line baking sheet with tin foil and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Peel butternut squash. Dice butternut squash, red and orange pepper and place on lined baking sheet trying to keep the squash separate.
- Add 2 tbsp. of canola oil and mix so that all food is lightly coated.
- Roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Finely chop kale and add to the veggie pan and roast for an additional 5 minutes watching carefully not to burn kale. Remove pan from oven and set aside.
- While veggies are roasting, warm a frying pan on medium heat and cook ground beef until no longer pink.
- Chop green onions (use only the green parts for Low FODMAP) and add to the ground beef.
- Assemble taco spices by sprinkling chilli powder, paprika, cumin, and black pepper on the ground beef.
- Once ground beef is cooked through turn off frying pan, add soy sauce and stir.
- Grate cheese in a small bowl.
- Assemble the burritos by placing a small amount of squash, pepper, kale, beef, and cheese in the center of each burrito. Roll up burrito by tightly folding over two sides of the wrap, grabbing the front part of the wrap closest to you and pulling it all the way over to the other side to close off the wrap. Before completely closing, line the final flap with a layer of cheese and squeeze closed. Once the cheese melts in the oven, this will serve as “glue” to hold the burrito together.
- To serve, assemble burritos in a covered oven safe pan, or wrap individually in tin foil. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese melts and tortilla is warmed. (*If you are not eating right away, simply wrap each burrito individually in tin foil and store in fridge or freezer for later)
Low FODMAP Tip: To keep this recipe Low FODMAP, assure that the maximum portion of butternut squash per burrito is ¼ cup, and that only the green parts of the green onion are used.
Recipe Tips and Tricks:
- To reheat from frozen place burrito into oven and cook for 1 hour at 400 degrees F, or remove burrito from tin foil, place a paper towel around it and reheat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.
- To reheat from the fridge: place burrito into oven and cook for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F, or remove burrito from tin foil, place a paper towel around it and reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
- Need more meal prep ideas? Many of Ignite recipes will reheat well from frozen. Try Low FODMAP Lemon Teriyaki Tofu Stir Fry, or Low FODMAP Beef Fennel Stew.