If you’ve never tried meal prepping before, let me tell you, it can be a real game changer when it comes to eating healthy and stress-free throughout the week! That’s why I have created this Meal Prep and Meal Plan especially for you! This one is Mexican-inspired so you can count on lots of delicious and fresh flavors – and as much spice as you want 🌶 ! I’ve got a FREE PDF with a meal plan for a full 5 days of meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – a complete shopping list, and a meal prep plan so that you can make the bulk of your meals ahead of time, making putting meals together a snap!
Why meal prep?
If you’re anything like me, you have a very busy life and know how hard it can be to eat healthy while trying to juggle all of your other obligations.
Maybe you have a family that you’re trying to feed but you have trouble coming up with meals that are quick and easy to put together that will satisfy everyone. And if it wasn’t hard enough to figure out what to make for dinner, there’s breakfast and lunch too….
Does this sound like you? You wake up extra early to get breakfasts and lunches made for the kids (which probably consists of PB&J and a juice pack) and get them out the door for school. Meanwhile, you didn’t make anything for yourself so you stop by a fast food place on the way to work, or grab 2 or 3 donuts and some coffee from the office break room. At lunch time, you’re forced to buy something which might be a really sad looking salad or sandwich from a convenience store or something really over-priced from a nearby restaurant. $15 for a salad and an iced tea? OUCH!
This is not only good for your health or your waistline, but it’s not good for your wallet either!
By spending just a couple of hours on the weekend or a day off, you can completely change this scenario, improve your health and well-being, and save money too!
Does meal prepping really save time?
YES! Meal prepping can really save you time as well as money!
When you prepare staple such as beans, grains, chopped veggies, and a sauce or two, it will save you loads of time when it comes to preparing meals throughout the week. All the things that take a long time to cook are already ready to go and you can just put them together in a variety of ways. And if you have trouble coming up with meal ideas, my meal plan solves that problem for you!
It really does only take about 2 hours to do all of the initial prepwork if you do it in the order outlined in the Meal Plan PDF. Start by getting the beans and then the rice cooking because they take the longest. Then cut and roast your sweet potatoes. While those three staples are cooking, you can make the sauce, prep your veggies, and make a Chocolate Chia Pudding that can be eaten for breakfast, dessert, or a high-protein snack!
As an added bonus, with items already prepped in the fridge, your kids or your significant other might even be inclined to try putting together some of their own meals!
Does meal prepping save money?
Have you seen the price of restaurant meals lately??? I go into sticker shock just about every time we get takeout or eat in a restaurant! Seriously, when a veggie burger and a drink costs $12 + tax + gratuity, then multiply that by 2 or 3 or 4 or however many people you have in your family…..that adds up to a literal fortune for one meal and you might not even have any leftovers!
For a family of 4, that’s $60 or more for a single meal! That’s almost an entire week’s worth of groceries if you make a plan, a shopping list, and do some meal prepping! Lucky for you, I’ve done all of that for you! (minus the actual shopping) 😉
I’m not saying you should never eat out. There are always holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and times when you just want a special treat or reward for your hard work. But if you’re trying to save money or follow a budget, you’ll want to make eating out an occasion, and not a regular thing. You can achieve this by meal planning and meal prepping.
Is Meal Prepping Healthy?
When done right, meal prepping is a great way to make sure you are eating healthy all week long. My meal plans are based on mostly whole foods that are nutritious, delicious, and versatile. There are sometimes a couple of items such as vegan cheese or meat alternatives, but they are usually optional.
If you’re worried about ingredients going bad in the fridge, you can utilize your freezer by freezing beans and grains. Whenever I prep my beans, I make an extra large batch. I divide the beans into containers according to how much I think we will eat in the next couple of days. One container will go into the fridge for immediate use, and the rest will go straight into the freezer. I always label them with the date and what it is using a piece of tape and a permanent marker. That way, if they get shoved to the back of the freezer and found at a later date, you will know exactly how long they’ve been in there!
You can do the same with cooked grains or things like soups. Just make sure that if you’re going to need beans for that night’s meal, that you take them out of the freezer in the morning to thaw. If you forget, you can always quickly defrost them in a microwave.
Keep your veggies fresh!
As for veggies, I like to keep my prepped greens and other veggies in airtight containers. People have asked me about keeping salad fresh in the fridge. If you avoid adding certain ingredients that go bad quickly after cutting, like tomatoes, avocados, and sometimes cucumbers, your salad can stay fresh for about 3 days if your container is really airtight. I love these bowls for keeping my salad fresh. Plus, they come in a variety of sizes with lids and are good for all kinds of things! I also wrap my prepped kale in a clean dish towel before putting it into the container because it absorbs any excess moisture and keeps it fresh for up to a week!
Besides, if you follow the plan, you’ll probably eat up that salad in a couple of days anyway. That said, you may have to make another salad mid-week or just switch to a different vegetable like kale or roasted veggies. The reality of meal prepping is that not everything will stay fresh for a long time, so there are a few things that you might need to replenish after a few days. But, overall, you will still be saving a lot of time in the kitchen and eating healthier too!
How to use the Meal Prep Plan
In the FREE Mexican-Inspired Meal Prep Plan PDF, you will find the meal plan, the shopping list, and a guide to show you the “order of operations” for preparing the bulk of your meal ingredients ahead of time. Because it would be a TON of work to prepare everything in one day, there are a few things that you will make in the evenings while you prepare the main meal. Don’t worry, they are items that are quick to make, and sometimes, you can have it for dinner and then lunch the next day too.
You don’t have to follow the plan exactly. There is always room for your own recipe ideas, or you can switch meals around according to what you feel like having. But, I have created this plan with meals that I and my family love, so there’s a pretty good chance that you will love them too, even if some of the recipes are new to you. All of the recipes are delicious, nutritious, and satisfying!
I’ve also tried to create a variety of meals so that you don’t get bored. That said, not all of the meals are Mexican-inspired, but they are still healthy, tasty, and easy to prepare without a lot of additional ingredients or work.
Can I replace any of the ingredients?
Like I said, you don’t have to follow the entire plan to the T. There may be things that you don’t particularly like or you may want to replace certain ingredients with things you do like, or happen to have on hand. That is all fine. Just the fact that you are doing some prepping and even loosely following a plan will help you tremendously!
So here are some replacement suggestions:
Pinto Beans or Lentils instead of Black Beans – I love pintos and they work just as well in all the recipes. Lentils will work too.
Red Kidney Beans or Chickpeas instead of Vegan Sausage – there is one recipe that calls for vegan sausage, but if you’re trying to keep it all whole foods, either of these beans will work just as well. You could even use lentils.
Quinoa, Barley, or another grain instead of Rice – Rice has been a long-time staple in Mexico, as well as here in the U.S., but if rice is not your thing, quinoa or barley are good replacements. There is quinoa in the meal plan already, so just make more of it!
Canned beans instead of dried – I highly suggest that you cook your own beans. It is super easy to do either with an Instant Pot or on the stovetop, and it will save you a lot of money. But if you really don’t want to do it yourself, you can always use canned beans instead. You’ll need to buy about 4 cans to replace one pot of beans and they won’t be as flavorful. Be sure to store any unused beans in an airtight container, not in the can.
Some Kitchen Essentials for Successful Meal Prepping
There are some essential tools you will need to be successful at meal prepping, and here I have listed some of my favorites. You certainly don’t need them all but they really are helpful and will last you for years to come! If you want to know more about these products and why I think they are essential, check out this post:
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- Air Fryer
- Instant Pot
- Cuisinart Food Processor
- Bamboo Cutting Boards
- Cuisinart Blender Set
- Mixing Bowls with Lids
- Garlic Press
- Knife Set
- Baking sheet / Silicone Mat / Cooling Rack Set
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Wooden Spoons
- Lemon/Lime Squeezer
- Reusable oil sprayer
- Nutritional Yeast
- Better Than Bouillon
Ready to meal prep?
Now that you have your meal plan PDF with your shopping list, you can get all your groceries and get started. If you need more help, watch the video here.
If you enjoyed this meal prep plan, please leave me a comment below and share it with a friend. I would love to hear from you!
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