Winter is here and it brings with it excitement for the holidays, nights by the fire, and weekends in the mountains! It also introduces a host of new temptations that would have you indulge in sugary treats or skip workouts. Indulge in the splendors of the season while sticking to your healthier habits with this hearty winter MEAL PREP menu filled with comfort foods. Instead of digging into cheat meals, you’ll have a fridge full of healthy lunches and dinners ready to heat up.
Breakfast M/W/F: Mushroom, Bacon, and Egg Muffins, Whole Grain Toast with Almond Butter and Orange Slices
Breakfast T/Th: Gingerbread Protein Pancakes with Pears and Almond Butter, Scrambled Eggs, and Turkey Bacon
Snack M/T/W/Th/F: Pumpkin Pie Shake
Lunch M/W/F: Turkey Chili served over Quinoa with Mixed Greens
Lunch T/Th: BBQ Chicken Baked Sweet Potatoes with Broccoli and Cauliflower Medley and Orange Slices
Snack M/T/W/Th/F: Apple Nachos
Dinner M/W/F: Baked Chicken with Roasted Green Beans and Cauliflower Pumpkin Casserole
Dinner T/Th: Spiced Apple Pork Chops with Quinoa, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, and Carrots
M/W/F: 3 Mushroom, Bacon, and Egg Muffins made with 3 eggs, 1 slice turkey bacon, ¼ cup mushrooms, and ¼ cup shallots, served with one orange and a slice of whole-grain toast with 2 teaspoons almond butter (½ green, 1 purple, 1½ red, 1 yellow, 2 tsp.)
T/Th: Gingerbread Protein Pancakes with Pears: 2 pancakes topped with ½ pear and 2 teaspoons almond butter, served with 3 Scrambled Eggs and 2 slices of turkey bacon (½ purple, 2½ reds, 1 yellow, 2 tsp).
MUSHROOM, BACON EGG MUFFINS
Nonstick cooking spray
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
12 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tin with spray. Set aside.
- Place eggs in a large bowl; whisk to blend.
- Evenly pour egg mixture into muffin cups.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cups comes out clean.
GINGERBREAD PROTEIN PANCAKES
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 scoop vanilla flavor whey protein powder
⅓ cup reduced fat (1%) plain Greek yogurt
4 large egg whites (½ cup)
¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 Tbsp. coconut flour
½ tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. molasses (Blackstrap if possible)
Nonstick cooking spray
¼ medium pear, cut into bite-sized chunks (optional)
1. To make spice mix, combine cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a small bowl; mix well. Set aside.
2. Combine protein powder, yogurt, egg whites, oats, coconut flour, 1 tsp. spice mix, baking powder, and molasses in a medium bowl; mix well.
3. Heat large nonstick skillet lightly coated with spray over medium heat.
4. Ladle about ¼ cup batter for each pancake; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bubbles form on top. Flip. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.
5. Repeat until all batter is used.
6. Serve two pancakes topped with pear, if desired; serve immediately.
M/T/W/Th/F: ½ cup grapes with a Pumpkin Pie Shake made with ¼ cup water, ¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology (OR clean protein powder), ½ cup canned pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or raw honey), 1 tablespoon pecans, ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, and 1 cup ice (1 purple, 1 red, ½ yellow, ½ blue)
M/W/F: Turkey Chili with 2 slices turkey bacon (not pictured), 2 cups mixed greens, ½ cup quinoa, and 1 cup pineapple (2½ greens, 1 purple, 1½ red, 2½ yellows)
T/Th: BBQ Chicken Baked Sweet Potatoes topped with 2 tablespoons cheddar cheese, medley of 1½ cups broccoli and 1½ cups cauliflower, and one medium orange (3 green, 1 purple, 1 red, 1½ yellow, ½ blue)
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium yellow (or orange) bell pepper, chopped
- 1 lb. raw 93% lean ground turkey
- 1 (28-oz.) can chopped tomatoes
- 2 cans (15-oz. each) kidney beans, rinsed, drained
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- Crushed red peppers (to taste; optional)
- 12 parsley sprigs, chopped
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add onion and bell peppers; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is soft.
- Add turkey; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until turkey is browned
- Add tomatoes, beans, chili powder, salt, and red peppers; cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Divide chili into 6 serving bowls and garnish with parsley if desired.
- 2 small sweet potatoes, washed, pierced several times with a fork
- 1½ cups shredded cooked chicken breast, boneless, skinless, warm
- ¼ cup barbecue sauce, reduced-sugar, warm
- ¼ cup Quick Pickled Red Onions (or 2 Tbsp. chopped red onions) (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley (or cilantro) (for garnish; optional)
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet. Pierce each sweet potato 3 to 4 times with a fork. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until tender.
- While sweet potato is baking, combine chicken and barbecue sauce in a small bowl; mix well. Set aside.
- Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise.
- Top sweet potatoes evenly Quick Pickled Red Onions and chicken mixture. Sprinkle evenly with parsley; serve immediately.
- Look for barbecue sauce that has an ingredient list that does not contain artificial sweeteners, additives, or preservatives. There are many brands on the market that are sweetened with small amounts of honey, maple syrup, or molasses.
- Use Healthy Barbecue Sauce as a homemade alternative to store-bought barbecue sauce
M/T/W/Th/F: Apple Nachos made with 1 apple, 1 tablespoon shredded coconut, 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds, and 3 teaspoons almond butter (1 purple, 1 orange, 3 tsp.)
M/W/F: 8 oz. Baked Chicken Breast with Cauliflower Pumpkin Casserole and 2 cups green beans roasted in 1 teaspoon olive oil (3 greens, 2 red, ½ blue, 1 tsp.)
T/Th: Spiced Apple Pork Chops with Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts: 6 oz. pork chop, ½ apple, ½ cup quinoa, 1½ cups Brussels sprouts and 1½ cups carrots roasted in 1 teaspoon olive oil (3 green, ½ purple, 1½ red, 1 yellow, 1 tsp.)
CAULIFLOWER PUMPKIN CASSEROLE
- 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground white pepper
- (to taste; optional)
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- ⅓ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup pure pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- Place cauliflower on baking sheet that has been lightly coated with spray.
- Season with salt and pepper if desired.
- Bake for 24 to 28 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside.
- While cauliflower is cooking, bring almond milk to a boil in medium saucepan over medium high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Add cheese, pumpkin, and mustard; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until well blended.
- Add cauliflower; mix well.
- Pour cauliflower minute into 8 x 8-inch casserole dish that has been lightly coated with spray.
- Top with bread crumbs.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
How to Bake Chicken Breasts
1. Purchase small, evenly-sized chicken breasts.
Sometimes chicken from the butcher’s counter may still have the tenders attached (that’s the thin strip of meat that runs along the underside of the breast, making one side much thicker than the other). Remove these with a knife and save them for another meal.
2. Preheat your oven to 375° F and pat dry each chicken breast with a paper towel.
Despite what you may have learned as a child, don’t wash chicken in the sink, it can spread germs.
3. Place the chicken breast in an oven-proof baking dish.
Drizzle with about a teaspoon of olive oil per breast. You can also squeeze a lemon or lime over the meat to give the meat a little extra moisture as it cooks
4. Season with salt and pepper, and any herbs and spices.
Chicken breast meat has a reputation for being flavorless, but it tastes wonderful when properly seasoned. Try a pinch of dried rosemary or thyme, paprika, or a spice rub.
5. Put the baking dish in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Thicker pieces of chicken will require more cooking time. Check the meat after 15 minutes. Pierce the meat with a toothpick or the tip of a knife. If the juices that run out of it are clear, it is done. If they are pinkish or red, return the chicken to the oven for a few more minutes. Remove from oven.
6. Remove the chicken from the baking dish and let it rest on a cutting board.
By doing this for a few minutes before you serve, it allows the juices to settle back into the meat. During this time, press your finger into the meat and test its firmness. Remember this degree of firmness so the next time you cook chicken, you can use this as an additional method to test doneness.
If you plan to cook more than two chicken breasts, just use a larger baking dish, and leave plenty of space around each piece of meat. You do not need to increase the cooking time.
¾ cup mushrooms
¾ cup shallots (about 2 medium shallots)
1 large onion
1 small red onion
1 medium red bell pepper
1 medium yellow or orange bell pepper
1 bunch parsley
6 cups mixed greens
2 small sweet potatoes
3 cups broccoli florets (or 1 head broccoli)
6 cups cauliflower florets (or 2 heads cauliflower)
6 cups green beans
3 cups Brussels sprouts
3 cups chopped carrots (or 3 medium carrots)
5 medium oranges
2½ cups grapes
6 medium apples
3 cups cubed pineapple (or 1 whole pineapple)
19 eggs (or 15 eggs and ½ cup egg whites)
13 slices turkey bacon
1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey
2 lbs. raw chicken breasts
2 6-oz. boneless pork chops (or 12 oz. pork loin)
5 scoops Vanilla Shakeology (or other flavor)
1 scoop vanilla flavor whey protein powder
⅓ cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
36 oz. unsweetened almond milk
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup almond butter (or other nut butter)
¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 Tbsp. coconut flour (or other flour)
3 cups canned pureed pumpkin
5 Tbsp. pecans
3 slices whole grain bread
1 (28 oz.) can chopped tomatoes
2 (15 oz.) cans kidney beans
¼ cup barbeque sauce
1 cup dry quinoa (or 2½ cups cooked quinoa)
5 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
5 Tbsp. ground flaxseeds
¼ cup whole wheat panko (or bread crumbs)
ground black pepper
crushed red peppers
pumpkin pie spice (or spice mixture from the Gingerbread Protein Pancakes recipe)
pure maple syrup
nonstick cooking spray
Your step-by-step plan to assemble this Winter Meal Prep:
Fewer salads and raw foods in this meal plan, opting instead for warm, seasonal foods and roasted meats and vegetables. The menu does involve a bit more cooking, and several rounds of baking in the oven (unless you’ve got two ovens, and then you’re sitting pretty). recommend cutting all of your vegetables before you begin, then follow this step-by-step guide to cook everything in an organized, efficient way. It’s a little more work, but the deliciously satisfying meals are worth it! Plus, it’ll make a few extra servings that you can freeze for future weeks.
- Start by preheating the oven to 375°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Trim the raw chicken breast of any excess fat and cut them into 9 equal pieces to reduce baking time. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. On one of the baking sheets, arrange the chicken breasts, and on the other, arrange 13 slices of turkey bacon. Place both baking sheets in the oven. Remove the turkey bacon from the oven after 10 to 12 minutes, or when it is crispy and thoroughly cooked, and set aside to cool. Cook the chicken for an additional 10 minutes, or until juices run clear when pierced with a knife and no pinkness remains. Set aside to cool.
- While the chicken and bacon are baking, cook the quinoa. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Rinse 1 cup quinoa, then add it to the boiling water. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender. When done, remove lid and set aside to cool. Quinoa can also be prepared in a rice cooker.
- Next, make the Mushroom, Bacon, and Egg Muffins. Chop ¾ cup mushrooms and ¾ cup shallots. Place them in a nonstick skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat when the shallots are translucent and the mushrooms have softened (about 5 minutes). Roughly chop 3 slices of turkey bacon. Crack 9 eggs into a large bowl. Add the shallot mixture and turkey bacon to the eggs and whisk to combine. Coat the cups of a 12-cup muffin with nonstick spray. Ladle the egg mixture into nine of the muffin cups and place in preheated 375°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Allow to cool, then divide muffins among three containers (three muffins in each container) to refrigerate. Serve with a slice of whole grain toast topped with 2 teaspoons of almond butter and an orange. (If you would like to make 12 muffin cups and freeze three for a future week, add 3 eggs, ¼ cup mushrooms, ¼ cup shallots, and one slice of turkey bacon.)
- Increase the oven temperature to 425°F and begin to prep the Spiced Apple Pork Chops. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Rinse 3 carrots and 3 cups Brussels sprouts, and chop into 1-inch thick slices; arrange veggies on one of the baking sheets and drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Core and slice one apple. Arrange pork chops on the other baking sheet and season with salt and pepper; top with apple slices and sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. Place both baking sheets in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the pork has reached an internal temperature of 145°F. Remove the pork from the oven and set aside to cool. Stir the veggies, then continue to roast for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until tender to your liking. When the veggies are done, remove them from the oven, divide them between two large food storage containers, adding ½ cup cooked quinoa and one pork chop to each.
- While the Spiced Apple Pork Chops and Roasted Veggies are baking, prepare the broccoli and half of the cauliflower for steaming (these can also be roasted, if preferred). If you purchased whole heads, chop them into bite-sized florets. Place 3 cups broccoli in one microwave-safe bowl and 3 cups cauliflower in another microwave-safe bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of water to each bowl and cover with lids. Microwave each veggie separately on high for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. If you prefer, vegetables can be cooked in a pot with a steamer basket on the stovetop. Combine the cauliflower and broccoli and then divide into two large storage containers to be served with the BBQ Chicken Baked Sweet Potatoes.
- Make the Cauliflower Pumpkin Casserole. You can steam the cauliflower for this casserole as described above, or roast it. To roast, arrange remaining cauliflower florets (about 3 cups) on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake until golden brown and softened, about 25 minutes (baking the casserole will continue to cook the cauliflower, so to save time, you can remove the it from the oven sooner when tender crisp). Bring ¾ cup almond milk to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and add ⅓ cup shredded cheddar cheese, ½ cup pumpkin puree, and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Cook for additional 3 to 4 minutes or until well blended. Add cooked cauliflower and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Pour cauliflower mixture into 8-inch by 8-inch casserole dish that has been lightly coated with nonstick spray. Top with ¼ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs and bake at 425°F for 18 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool and divide into six portions. Reserve three portions for this week, and place the other three portions into freezer-safe containers for a future week.
- While the Cauliflower Pumpkin Casserole bakes, make the green beans. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Rinse 6 cups of green beans and trim the stems. Spread them on the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Place in preheated oven along with the Cauliflower Pumpkin Casserole and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly caramelized and crisp. Set aside to cool, then divide into three portions. In three large storage containers, place 8 ounces of cooked chicken breast, one portion of the Cauliflower Pumpkin Casserole, and ⅓ of the roasted green beans.
- Next, prep the Turkey Chili. Chop one large onion, one medium red bell pepper, and one medium yellow bell pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped veggies to saucepan and cook until onion is translucent and peppers are soft (about 5 minutes). Add 1 pound ground turkey and cook until browned. Drain and rinse two cans of kidney beans. Add kidney beans, 28 ounces canned tomatoes, 1 teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and crushed red pepper to taste to the ground turkey mixture. Cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Divide mixture evenly into six storage containers; placing three servings in the freezer for a future week. Sprinkle with chopped parsley just before serving. In three separate containers, add ½ cup cooked quinoa, 2 cups mixed greens, and 2 slices of turkey bacon (or add the turkey bacon to the chili). Serve with one serving of the turkey chili and 1 cup pineapple (if pineapple was purchased whole, remove the skin and cut into chunks).
- Make the Gingerbread Protein Pancakes. Start by combining cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a small bowl to make a spice mix. Mix well and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine 1 scoop protein powder, ⅓ cup Greek yogurt, 4 large (or ½ cup) egg whites, ¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 2 tablespoons coconut flour (or other flour), 1 teaspoon of the spice mix, ½ teaspoon baking powder, and 2 teaspoons molasses; mix until all ingredients are wet. Heat a large nonstick skillet lightly coated with spray over medium heat. Working in batches as needed, ladle batter onto skillet ¼ cup at a time to form six pancakes. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bubbles form on top. Flip and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Repeat until all batter is used. Set pancakes aside to cool.
- In a separate mixing bowl, crack six eggs and and whisk. Coat the same skillet that was used to cook the pancakes with additional nonstick cooking spray and place over medium-low heat. Add the scrambled eggs, season with salt and pepper, and stir frequently for about 3 to 5 minutes until eggs are just set (they will cook more when you reheat them). Remove from heat. Divide the scrambled eggs between two food storage containers. To each container add two pancakes and two slices of turkey bacon, then place in refrigerator. Serve each breakfast by topping pancakes with 2 teaspoons almond butter and ½ of a pear, diced. Place the remaining two pancakes in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for a future week.
- Next, prepare the BBQ Chicken Baked Sweet Potatoes. Rinse and scrub each potato, then pierce them multiple times with a fork. Microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender, turning the potatoes once (or place on a baking sheet in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until soft). While the potatoes are in the microwave, shred 12 ounces of the cooked chicken breasts and mix with ¼ cup barbecue sauce. When the potatoes are done, slice them in half and top each with ½ of the chicken mixture, 2 tablespoons of shredded cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon diced red onion, and chopped parsley. Add each potato to the large storage containers with the steamed cauliflower and broccoli and place in refrigerator when cool. Serve with an orange.
- If you choose to prep the Pumpkin Pie Shake ingredients, you can pre-portion ½ cup pumpkin puree ¼ cup water, ¾ cup almond milk, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, and ½ pumpkin pie spice (or reserved spice mixture from the pancakes), into each of five containers, and place in the refrigerator. To make the shake each morning, add this mixture to a blender with 1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology, 1 tablespoon chopped pecans, and 1 cup ice. Serve with ½ cup of washed grapes.
- Prep the Apple Nachos by washing the five apples. Apples can be cored and sliced in advance, but will need to be spritzed with lemon juice to prevent browning. Otherwise, core and slice one apple each day just before eating. Drizzle 3 teaspoons almond butter over apple slices and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon shredded coconut and 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds.
*FROM BB BLOG