Now that I’ve been living on my own for about a month, I’ve learned that there’s one element of adulting that I love more than any other: meal prepping.
I’ve always been such a planner and I love discovering new recipes to try, so it’s no surprise I look forward to meal prepping every week! Grocery shopping can be kind of a *fun* challenge for me, since I’m living off savings until I get a job and I need to find the best ways to stretch my grocery money. What I’ve learned is that non-perishable items are usually the way to go, so that’s why you’ll see I buy a lot of frozen fruit, canned fruit, nuts, granola, etc. I enjoy shopping at Target and BJ’s the most; Target carries a lot of the vegetarian products I like, and BJ’s enables me to buy in bulk for super cheap.
Here is everything on my grocery list this week:
Individual yogurt containers – $1.50 each
Granola – $4
Almond milk – $3
Frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries) – $5
Canned fruit (oranges, pineapple) – $20 for 32 cups
Romaine lettuce (this is safe again, right?) – $2
Sweet kale salad base mix – $2
Pecans – $8 (whyyy are nuts so expensive?)
Apples – $2
Poppyseed dressing – $5
Vegan ‘Chicken’ Scallopini – $5
Broccoli – $2
Meal 1: Overnight Oats
Overnight Oats are a super simple recipe that makes for a healthy, filling, and easy breakfast. What I like most about this recipe is that it is extremely customizable, so you are bound to find a flavor that works best for you. For the basics, you’ll simply need quick oats (I buy a giant container for a couple of bucks, and it lasts me for months,) and the milk of your choice. From there, you can flavor your overnight oats however you want! Today I’m going to prepare the flavors blueberry muffin, strawberries and creme, mint chocolate chip, and s’mores. I also really like banana bread flavored overnight oats, but I didn’t buy any bananas on this past grocery trip. For the ‘blueberry muffin’ oats, I tossed in about a quarter of a cup of oats, a handful of frozen blueberries, a dash of cinnamon, a quarter of a cup of blueberry granola, and then I filled about half of the jar with almond milk. The rest of the oats have the same ratio of oats and milk, but different toppings. For strawberries and creme, I added about 2-3 large frozen strawberries and a hearty dollop of strawberry Greek yogurt. For the mint chocolate chip and s’mores flavors, I used those individual yogurt cups that come with the dry toppings included, and just mixed those all in with the oats and the milk. After you lid your oats, give them a good shake, and you can keep them in your fridge for up to four days! As you can probably infer, they’re called ‘overnight oats’ because you’re ideally supposed to prepare them the night before to let them chill and mix together. Side note: you can also add chia seeds to your overnight oats for an extra health boost, but I didn’t have any on hand this time.
Meal 2: Autumn Salad
The salad I am going to prepare this week is an ‘autumn salad’ that I found on pinterest. This salad also calls for pears, but I couldn’t find any at the store because they’re not in season yet. For salad, I like to make about 3-4 servings in advance and then stack them in my fridge, in tupperware, for when I’m ready to use them. First I add a thin layer of romaine lettuce, then I mix that in with this delicious sweet kale salad base I found at Target. I honestly was never really a kale person until I tried this mix- it’s so crunchy and sweet, and the broccoli adds such a delicious touch. After I mix those two bases together, I’ll throw in my toppings: sliced apples, craisins, and pecans. When I’m ready to unpack it and eat it, I add my dressing, which is the Panera brand strawberry poppyseed dressing. I’m really picky about the dressings I like, but this poppyseed dressing goes great on everything and it doesn’t completely overpower the salad. I’ve been enjoying this salad for about two weeks now, and I still haven’t gotten tired of it. It’s also a great source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
Meal 3: Lemon ‘Chicken’ Scallopini with Broccoli
I’m honestly not really a cooking expert, so even though this recipe sounds fancy, it’s actually really easy to make! On my last shopping trip, I found Gardein vegan ‘chicken’ scallopini, and I decided to give it a try. I cooked it on my stove with about a cup of broccoli, some garlic salt, parsley, oregano, and a squeeze of lemon, and of my god, it tasted amazing. It’s also super easy to make, considering it basically only consists of two main ingredients, and then a few spices. I know vegan chicken isn’t for everybody, but I actually really like the way this tastes and I’m looking forward to making it again! The lemon really added a juicy, zesty kick to the fake chicken. I have a lot of microwavable Tupperware containers that I’ve saved from restaurants, so I think I’m going to make a large batch of this ahead of time and then stash it away in my freezer.
I hope you guys enjoyed this article and found some food inspiration, particularly for you fellow vegetarians! Let me know if you try any of these recipes, and what you think of them yourself.