Meal Prep Ideas for Teachers
Hey teacher friends! I know how busy you are! I know there are some weeks where you survive on massive amounts of coffee and cereal (just me?!) I also know that coffee and cereal is a gnarly cycle to get out of!! The truth is, when you eat well, you FEEL well!
Today, I want to give you some ideas for healthy meals you can make on Sunday to take with you to school! These "wake & take" breakfast and lunch ideas are some of my favorite, go-to recipes.
While I love coffee and cereal more than the next person, it just can't keep you filled with the kind of energy whole foods can! I notice such a difference in my energy and patience levels when I nourish my body with fresh, whole foods. I randomly post pictures of my chia bowls, smoothies, and snacks on my Instagram stories from time to time @mrshenryinfirst and I get so many questions about how to make them or where I find certain ingredients. SO here it is. I've FINALLY compiled some of my favorite go-to meals for breakfast and lunch in one post!
Best of all, most of these recipes can be made in one day (preferably Sunday) so you can wake & take during the school week :)
CHIA PUDDING - Chia seeds are packed with nutrients, fiber, protein, and antioxidants. They give me a huge boost of energy in the morning and keep me full until lunch! I make a large batch of chia pudding on Sunday and eat it all week long. My kids love to gobble it up too! A quick internet search will yield tons of recipes. For me, I keep it simple.
In a large mason jar I mix 3 cups almond milk with 3/4 cup chia seeds (basically 1/4 cup chia seeds per cup of milk). The key to making this is you need to babysit it for a few minutes. Shake it gently and let it settle. Shake it again and let it settle. After doing this 2-3 times the seeds will disperse and you can store your chia pudding in the fridge. If you don't do this, it clumps together and doesn't really turn into pudding. If you want to eat it on the go, just store the pudding in smaller jars or tupperware. I top mine with a heaping mound of fresh or frozen fruit, a drizzle of honey, and this grain free granola. I love to add extra protein by topping it with a big scoop of hemp hearts!!
I love alternating between warm oats and these cold, overnight oat jars. This is another wonderful option for making ahead on Sunday and grabbing each day as you head out the door. I store them in these pint jars and they stay fresh and tasty all week.
The basic overnight oats recipe can be made using the following ingredients:
- 1/4 rolled oats (I use this certified GF brand)
- 1/4 cup yogurt
- 1/3 milk of choice
- 2 tsp chia seeds.
If you find your oats are too thick come morning time, just add a splash of milk. You can top them with whatever you like! My faves are blueberry & maple syrup or mango & honey. I'm also a fan of peanut butter, banana, and cocoa nibs.
I was totally inspired by the protein packs at Starbucks however these are much more budget friendly! They are quick & easy to prep ahead of time. I usually add hard boiled eggs, this paleo jerky, these grain-free crackers, cheese, nuts, and fruit. I have grapes pictured here, but I typically pack an apple for the fiber! Tip -> Seal your crackers in a little ziplock bag so they stay fresh! Otherwise they get soggy and gross.
I love to have a salad with these protein packs or some leftover soup. Those little jars on the right are filled with hummus and fresh cut carrots/celery!
Salad in a Jar
By now I'm guessing you've noticed my love for mason jars. They really are KING when it comes to keeping your food fresh! I love to use these wide mouth jars for storing my salads. They keep the lettuce so incredibly crisp!
Making your Salad in a Jar-> Place your salad dressing and toppings on the bottom of the jar. This helps keep soggy items below the greens and is key for preventing wilted lettuce!
My go-to salad combos are fresh romaine topped with chicken, walnuts, cranberries, and poppyseed dressing or Greek style with loads of peperoncinis!! Be sure and bring a bowl or plate to empty your salad onto when it's time to eat!
Batch cooking is my favorite way to prep for the week! Batch cooking means you cook less often, saving you time, energy, and frustration! It also means you're less likely to grab cereal for dinner ;)
I love eating baked sweet potatoes but they take FOREVER to cook! Or at least they feel that way when you're hungry! That's why batch cooking these on Sunday is key. You can warm them up for breakfast (topped with banana, nut butter, and chia seeds) or eat them as part of a healthy lunch or dinner (stuffed with shredded bbq chicken).
To batch cook sweet potatoes, grab a large roasting pan or glass dish and toss the desired amount of sweet potatoes inside. You can lightly oil the pan or potatoes if you like. I typically cook mine at 400 degrees for 45-1 hour depending on the size of the potatoes. You'll know they're done when you can easily piece them all the way through with a knife. Cool and refrigerate. Warm them up during the week as desired!
When you batch cook on Sunday, you can come home and rearrange your items to make an easy, healthy dinner in just a few minutes! If you've never batch cooked before, start small with just one or two items so you don't feel overwhelmed. Batch cook items that take a long time to cook, that way you save the most time on weeknights when heating up your dinner!
Items I love to batch cook:
Jasmine Rice/Brown Rice/Quinoa
Roasted or Grilled Chicken
Roasted veggies (don't roast too long or they get soggy when you reheat them!)
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