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4 Healthy Holiday Meal Prep Ideas for the Busy Festive Season

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The season of giving is just around the corner. It’s also the season of plenty – of calories! Yes, this is the period when you’re digging into pies, cakes, and a whole lot more. The net weight gain during the fall-winter season is nearly half a kilo, with the holiday season itself adding 370 grams. Worse, this bulge on your waistline is unlikely to be lost. 

It’s also when you’re busy traveling, visiting, and hosting. Being harried for time is the perfect excuse to order that greasy takeaway. In fact, one in two people opts for fast food because they’re just too busy to cook. 

The best way to beat the flab is to meal prep. It simply means making meals in big batches, which you then store in the fridge or freezer. Later in the week, you just warm them up and eat healthy, home-cooked food.

4 Healthy Meal Prep Recipes to Ease Into the Holiday Season

Here are 4 recipes that can easily be made in big batches, so you don’t have to cook every day. 

Slow Cooker Spicy Chicken and Tortilla Soup

This feel-good soup is best made in big batches and stored in the fridge to be eaten when in need of a quick dose of comfort food. It does call for a few hours’ simmering on low heat to bring all the flavors together. In case you have an Instant Pot, don’t worry – you can use this incredibly versatile dish to cook this soup too. Here’s how to use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker.

Once cooked, divide into boxes and refrigerate. In case you prefer meat, and are in the mood for a more elaborate and refined recipe, try this goulash soup recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 2 seeded, chopped jalapeños
  • 1 diced sweet onion
  • 2 finely chopped cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp pepper & kosher salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 3 cups red enchilada sauce
  • 3 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups cooked brown rice, or white 
  • 1 juiced lime
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro (keep some aside to garnish)

       To serve

  • Tortilla chips
  • Shredded cheese
  • Lime
  • Avocado/mango/cucumber slices
  • Yogurt (or cream if you want a richer texture)

Instructions

  1. Put the vegetables – garlic, jalapeños, and onions at the bottom of your crockpot or slow cooker.
  2. Then place the chicken, pepper, cumin, and salt. Finally pour in the sauce and broth, ensuring that everything is submerged. 
  3. Simmer covered for 6 – 7 hours. 
  4. When done, shred apart the chicken with a couple of forks. (Take it out to do so if needed.) 
  5. Add the lime juice, rice, and cilantro, as well as any additional salt.

Serve in wide bowls and add the serving ingredients of your choice.

Rainbow Veggie Chicken

The perfect dish to meal prep is one that contains a wholesome balanced meal. This recipe has veggies, as well as protein, and uses the healthier option of baking.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cubed, boneless & skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 cups baby carrots
  • 2 thinly sliced yellow bell peppers
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2 small red onions, chopped as wedges
  • 1 large broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 cup cooked brown rice

Marinade

  • 2 limes, juiced
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped fresh 

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400℉. Place the chicken and vegetables upon two big sheet pans.
  2. Whisk the ingredients for the marinade together, and pour upon the food. Toss, and mix until well coated.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes, or till everything is tender and cooked. 
  4. Put the rice at the bottom of the containers chosen – ideally 5. Then place the roasted chicken and veggies on top. Store 3 in the fridge, and freeze the last 2, for later.

Baked Oatmeal Muffins

Oatmeal muffins (sometimes called cups) are easy to make and stay in the fridge for up to 5 days. These muffins are good for a meal when you’re driving, for kids to crunch, and a healthy option over chips when binge-watching your favorite shows.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 5.3 oz plain Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1¼ cup coconut milk, unsweetened (dairy or almond milk can be substituted)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix the dry ingredients except for brown sugar in a big bowl
  3. Take another big bowl and wish eggs and brown sugar till the mixture is smooth. Add the milk, vanilla, and yogurt, and stir well.
  4. Pour the liquid into the dry bowl, and mix until well combined.
  5. Apply cooking spray over a muffin pan with 12-cups, and pour in the batter. 
  6. Press the oats down with a spoon, so the liquid reaches the surface.
  7. Put pieces of fruit as toppings on top.
  8. Place in the oven for half an hour.
  9. Once done take the muffins out, and cool for 3 minutes.
  10. Serve, or cool further and refrigerate/freeze.

Easy Tofu Scramble

Tofu scramble is good for health, vegan, easy to make, and delicious. This vegan substitute for the egg is good for everyone, and stores in the fridge for a week. It goes well with rice, tortillas, bread, and even a Canadian maple-flavored ale. 

Ingredients

  • 8 oz tofu, firm
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper, freshly ground

Instructions

  1. Chop/crumble the tofu roughly
  2. Put some oil (or water/stock) in a frying pan. When hot, add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  3. Cook on medium to high heat for 5 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve with fresh fruit or veggies.

Make meal prep your go-to solution in the holiday season, and you might just survive with your waistline intact. Got any meal prep ideas to share? Tell us in the comments below.

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