Meal Prep Bowls Pt. One

Dear Jules,

I am so sorry it has taken me so long to write these stupid posts. I think I promised them to you back when we first started (yeah, June) and it is now January. Anyway, I finally got around to them!

Anyway, back to the regularly scheduled post. Welcome to 2018, y'all! Since a lot of people are trying to do new healthy things this year, I figured it would be the perfect time to write this short series on meal prep bowls.

~What are meal prep bowls?~

Simply put, they are meals that you prepare in bulk and put into 'bowls'. It can be anything from one meal to everything you eat in a week. When I first started, I focused on lunches. It was hard for me to eat healthy at lunchtime because I'm busy and I never had time to make something from scratch. I would usually end up eating way less than I needed and then wondered why I had such a hard time throughout the day.

I recommend that each person start small and work up if they need to. Pick the meal that is hardest for you and start with that. Is it lunches? Make easy to pack bowls. Breakfast? Make some burritos or scrambles. Dinners? Make some freezer meals or more bowls. Snacks? Make some granola or prepped fruit. Whatever your needs are, you can customize your experience. 

~What you need~

1. Containers. I use these. Find ones that suit your needs. This is another reason I recommend you start small. You can experiment with different containers without spending a lot of money upfront. If you want to start doing more, you'll already know what works for you.

2. A menu/plan. Keep it simple. The key to meal prep: don't make it difficult. Simple is delicious. Simple keeps you sane. More on the menu down below.

3. Ingredients. Make sure you have whatever you need for the week. It doesn't help to run around town trying to find the thing you thought you had. Make sure you double check the ingredients you need and get them while you're out.

4. Cooking stuff (such a scientific term, I know). Make sure you have all of the implements required for the recipes. Usually, you only need the normal stuff: pots, pans, cookie sheets, etc.

~How to pick a menu, plus sample menus~

As I said above, make sure your menu is simple. Meal prep bowls are supposed to make your life easier. Having a complicated menu does not make that happen. Do not let this keep you from trying new things, however. A lot of new stuff can be super easy to throw together and is super tasty and fun! I love trying ethnic foods in my bowls. I can travel to new worlds without leaving my kitchen. That's awesome!

Get an idea of what you need nutritionally. How many calories are you aiming for? I'm not a fan of calorie counting, but after a few scares last year, I have to do a bit of it to support my activity level while gaining some weight back in a healthy way. Also, what nutritional breakdown do you need? More protein? More veggies? What dietary restrictions do you have? Makes sure you get an idea of what you need. It'll help you pick out what foods to include in your bowls.

For me, I need plenty of veggies and protein. I need close to 4-6 of veggies and 120-130 grams of protein. I probably should have some starch to improve my energy levels, but I don't react well to scratches except for quinoa, wild rice, and roasted potatoes. I'll probably limit these to a moderate serving. I avoid dairy and gluten on the weekdays. Sometimes I'll eat it on the weekends and when I'm on vacation, but I try to practice restraint.

Now I know I need a meat/protein, a veggie, and possibly another side. I can build my menu around this. Here are a few that I've enjoyed in the past. There's been some that I didn't like so I won't list those. 

1. Balsamic meatballs w/green beans and wild rice. My favorite bowl of all time. #iheartbalsalmic #Iheartwildrice 

2. Buffalo chicken w/Brussel sprouts and quinoa. This was really good all mixed up! 

3. Shredded Mexican chicken w/peppers, black beans, and quinoa. Again, really good mixed up. Kind of like a taco salad without, you know, the nasty salad part.  

4. Meatballs w/GF pasta and broccoli. This one is great! I love pasta! Add meatballs and I'm in a happy place.

5. Greek chicken w/lemon dill quinoa, broccoli, and tzatziki sauce. #soyummyicanteven This one is good both cold and hot, so it's very versatile. It took me a bit more time to make, but it was worth it!

6. Meatloaf w/broccoli and roasted potatoes cubes. Yum!

~A few final notes~

1. Figure out which meal/snack you want to focus on first. 
2. Find containers that work for you.
3. Figure out what nutritional breakdown you need and revolve your menu around that.

Next week I'll focus on the meal prep itself and how I do it. For now, I hope this has given you a good start on planning. 

What do you all think about MPBs? Are they something you're interested in? Have you tried them before? I'd love any tips you have!


  1. I love this! I am really into healthy eating and fitness, though the past couple weeks with the holidays... I haven't done so well. All these sound amazing! I have a hard time with lunches, too! Every recipe I find seems to have avocado and I'm mildly allergic to it, so I can't have that. Quinoa has never really set well with me, either, but these sound so good! Especially the taco salad one. I love Mexican food. Though living in Texas, there is usually a Mexican restaurant pretty much everywhere. XD

    I also have to make sure I have protein. I know some people like vegetarianism or veganism, but I couldn't do that. My body needs meat.

    I can't wait to see the next post. Keep up the awesome work! :)

    1. Oh girl, same. I about trashed my body with junk food over the holidays.

      You can definitely switch things out with stuff that work well with you. I don't react well to rice, so I replace it with quinoa. You could do the opposite if you'd like.

      Mexican food is basically life at my house.

      I couldn't be a vegan. I love meat (except for turkey and pork).

      I actually had a mini heart attack because I thought I hadn't finished writing this post and forgot it was scheduled to go out. Imagine my relief when I checked and found it finished. Whew!

    2. Yeah, I would probably have to switch stuff for rice, but that's totally cool!

      Yes, same!

      Me, too. I like turkey and some pork, but I can't have beef too much. I actually can only eat ground beef.

      Lol, that happens to me a lot! I think its a blogger thing. XD

  2. Ooh, I'll have to try this, thanks! :D

    1. You definitely should! They make eating healthy so much easier!

  3. YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I've been wanting to get into making these!!!!

    Seriously. Sarah's Greek chicken w/lemon dill quinoa, broccoli, and tzatziki sauce is to DIE FOR. It is amazing, even when served chilled (and I normally don't like foods served cold). It was my first meal prep bowl experience, too. We had just done 15 miles (mostly uphill) taking turns running and riding, and it was so awesome just to kick back at camp and pull these things out of the cooler!

    1. That one is really good. I'm having one similar to that this week. So good!

      I'll get into the nitty gritty next week.

  4. I need to save this for future reference....once I start working again, I'm going to be needing these :).


    1. They are so nice to grab and go. A nutritious meal without having to spend an hour every day prepping it. They're easy to pack and eat.

  5. YEAAAAAAAAASSSS!!!!! finally! This is so cool! All those meal ideas sound so good. I've been meaning to try a taco one to take to work...but that hasn't happened yet. XD

    1. You definitely should! The taco one travels really well. It got mixed up during the drive? Perfect! Just the way it should be.

  6. Great tips! I've been trying to eat healthier this year, and one bowl that I've enjoyed is an orzo bowl with balsamic dressing, olives, chicken, spinach, and feta cheese. Soooo good!


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