Food Preparation Day

One of the best things I can do in a week to ensure healthy meals are available and ready to go is prepare a batch ahead of time, usually on Sunday evening.  Then, I like to portion them out into containers so that all I have to do is heat them up.  A basic trio of ingredients eaten constantly in our house is grilled chicken, brown rice, and green veggies like zucchini.  This time, I also added black beans. 
For me, one large chicken breast is sliced and divided into two portions- one is usually too much for me.  I boil one cup of dry brown rice- it yields about 3 cups or so cooked.  Then, I just cut up the zucchini- I didn’t even cook it.  I find that when I reheat the meal in the microwave for one minute, it’s perfectly cooked. 

The best containers for packaging are the 3-cup kind, so you can add about a cup of each ingredient.  The containers below are only 2 cup.  

I like to add about a teaspoon of low-sodium soy sauce or teriyaki to the whole thing, but you can season it however you like. 
This is SO convenient for me on those busy nights when I don’t have time to cook AND it saves the kitchen clean-up.  Double bonus!  Or I can just take a container with me to work.  
Do you do something similar?  What are you favorite meals to prepare a large batch of and eat throughout the week.  Chili also comes to mind for me.  

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p.s. Many of you asked what kind of containers I use.  My favorite are the Rubbermaid with Easy to Find Lids.  You can order them here.  I got mine at Costco.
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31 Comments

  1. Emily A. Clark
    October 10, 2012 / 2:57 am

    I definitely do better when I have things already prepared. Now, here's my question- Is ONE of those containers your whole lunch? Because I could eat four, or five…

    • October 10, 2012 / 3:41 am

      Those are a little small, but a lunch for me could easily be one cup each of chicken, rice, and veggies. Then maybe, if I was still hungry, a protein brownie or apple with peanut butter.

  2. October 10, 2012 / 3:28 am

    Hi Megan! I'm Hana from the Philippines. I just recently started reading your blog, Honey We're Home and liked it so much that I've been following Honey We're Healthy from day one. This is a great post! I hope to get more ideas from you on food which I can take to work. Would really appreciate some ideas for healthy lunches that do not require reheating since our office does not have a microwave.

    Thanks again and more power to you and your blog. 😀

  3. October 10, 2012 / 3:43 am

    off topic (kinda) question, but what does your husband eat? is he totally on board with eating clean? or the same thing?? How do you factor in keeping him satisfied and full too??

    • October 10, 2012 / 3:47 am

      Great question Aly. Right now, my husband is doing the same thing- except he isn't eating carbs! Those containers are my meals though. He would eat a much larger portion. It is much easier when the family eats the same way. I always prepare a small plate of my food for my son too, but he doesn't always eat it. I still have to make a different meal for him.

  4. Leanne
    October 10, 2012 / 11:35 am

    This looks so yummy and so easy!! Thanks for sharing! I definitely like to make big batches of things, especially if they freeze well. Something that we love {and is easy to make too} is a white bean chili – it is meatless and freezes really well. So when we need a quick meal I just pull it out of the freezer.

    • October 10, 2012 / 10:43 pm

      I need to do freezer meals. I'm always afraid the meal will taste stale, but I want to try. Such a time-saver!

  5. October 10, 2012 / 12:50 pm

    Thanks Megan. I am always struggling for healthy things to bring to work for lunches. How do you cook your chicken or do you use rotisserie chicken from the store? I never would have thought about the microwave cooking the zucchini. That's so smart.

    • October 10, 2012 / 11:50 pm

      I buy raw breasts or tenders and cook them on my stovetop in a grill pan.

  6. October 10, 2012 / 12:59 pm

    That looks so good and a excellent idea! What kind of containers are those? Do you reheat in those as well? I just buy the glad container and have always heard not to reheat in them. By the way love your new blog! I cooked your taco bake and my kids devoured it and I loved it too!

  7. October 10, 2012 / 1:01 pm

    What kind of containers are those. Do you reheat in them as well?

    • October 10, 2012 / 11:51 pm

      I updated the post to show the containers are Rubbermaid- and I don't reheat in them.

  8. imacrazymomof4
    October 10, 2012 / 1:29 pm

    i recently stumbled upon a Moroccan stew that was really interesting. i made a batch and froze half of it. it is made with sweet potatoes, potatoes, black and garbanzo beans, canned tomatoes, lentils, carrots and kale. it had a LOT of spices in it that were very tasty together. i was totally surprised with how good it tasted. it was vegetarian as well which is great for my 13 year old..she loved it! i found the recipe on allrecipes.com…make ahead vegetarian moroccan stew if you're interested in trying it. it was a very autumny tasting soup, but be prepared…it makes a lot!!!

    • October 10, 2012 / 11:51 pm

      Thanks girlie! I'm always looking for new recipes!

  9. October 10, 2012 / 2:29 pm

    This is great! I am going to make this on Sunday – as well as the meatloaf muffins. Looking forward to a simplier week next week not wondering around my kitchen every morning trying to find something quick and healthy to take for lunch at the office.

  10. Anonymous
    October 10, 2012 / 2:50 pm

    This is a great idea but I always have a problem with microwaved chicken. It seems like it has a funny taste. Do you notice that as well or is it just me?

    Mendi

    • October 10, 2012 / 11:53 pm

      One of my girlfriends doesn't like reheated chicken either. I have no problems with it. You could also keep it cold and add it to a salad.

    • October 16, 2012 / 7:31 pm

      I don't like "reheated" chicken either. But I've discovered that it's the microwave that makes it taste "funny" to me. If I reheat in the toaster oven I think it tastes great.

  11. October 10, 2012 / 6:48 pm

    I wish you could help me talk my husband into eating veggies!!! We've recently been forced into a pretty strict diet because of my 15 month old's allergies. The problem is my husband won't eat most of it because he likes what he calls "hearty man meals." I definitely love to prep my meals in advance. Evenings are hectic in my house so one less thing to worry about is helpful.

    • October 10, 2012 / 11:53 pm

      I know, a lot of guys are that way!

  12. October 10, 2012 / 8:34 pm

    Love this idea. We used to cook "extras" on certain nights and use them for Katie's lunch at school, but have gotten away from cooking for more than the two of us for any given meal (quite a feat in the beginning). I found grilled chicken breasts were so easy to turn into a quick lunch with a veggie…she loved chicken caesar salads (sometimes with buffalo sauce for a kick), or we would make it into a wrap of some kind-chicken caesar or chinese with peanut sauce, or lettuce wraps or mixed with fresh greens. She didn't have to worry about the calories in the dressings, but you could go light and fat free. She found that she liked it better cold and not reheated. I find it tends to get a bit rubbery in the microwave.

    • October 10, 2012 / 11:54 pm

      I love caesar salads and the peanut dressing too. And so funny, because I just responded to another comment saying if you don't like chicken reheated in the microwave, to eat it cold on a salad! 🙂

  13. October 11, 2012 / 1:00 am

    Ellie Krieger has a great confetti chili that is delicious, high fiber and very filling. I also like her lemon chicken orzo soup. I have been able to find whole wheat orzo but lately I have also used brown rice. She has really great clean recipes. I have to say though, sometimes just keeping it simple like your meals makes it so easy and takes the stress out of always being a "chef!"

  14. All Things Cherish
    October 11, 2012 / 1:58 pm

    You make it look so easy & effortless! If only I could get in the habit of doing this. Do you use any seasonings when cooking the chicken or just soy sauce or teriyaki after?

  15. Anonymous
    October 12, 2012 / 12:44 am

    Great idea! I like to season the chicken with homemade taco seasoning and add pico de gallo. I like mine straight out of the fridge.

  16. Eileen
    October 12, 2012 / 11:18 am

    Good morning, Megan! So glad I found your blog..and your other blog! You look amazing and I really look forward to your daily posts. I have a 2 year old, and I feel like the final 10 pounds never seem to want to come off!! It definately drives me crazy. Plus, my body seems to getting more "flimsy". (yuck!) I have not done pilates consistanly since being pregnant. I do it once a week, and I know I need to bump that back up. (I use to so it 5 times a week ~ talk about lean!!!) Anyway, thanks for ALL you and your friend's inspiration! I was hoping you & Maggie could please post your supplements you take daily? Thank you again!! You truely inspire this girl from NJ!! 🙂 Eileen

  17. October 15, 2012 / 12:00 pm

    I just started the LiveFit plan today. Yeah!! Thanks for posting this here. I've been working on incorporating the meal plan over the last week or so and was wondering if you have any substitutions for the morning egg-stravagansa? I'm not sure I can do eggs every morning for 12 weeks.

    Thanks again and so glad you created this blog. I've been following you on Honey We're Home for about 6 months now and love both the sites 🙂

    Have a super week!

  18. October 16, 2012 / 5:45 pm

    Hi Megan,
    Do you ever use frozen cooked chicken or frozen (steamble) vegtables? Or do you buy everything raw?

    • November 26, 2012 / 3:58 am

      I do use frozen veggies sometimes- particularly peas, corn, and edamame.

  19. August 13, 2014 / 10:52 pm

    HI MEGAN
    FOUND YOUR BLOG HONEY WERE HEALTHY AND NOW I FOLLOW YOU WILL EVERYTHING THE MEALS ARE GREAT KEEP UP THE GOOD JOB THANK YOU

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