How To Meal Prep- Low Carb, Easy to Prepare, and Affordable

 Meal Prepping On A Budget

If you’re anything like me I found myself spending $10-$12 dollars a day on just my lunch not to mention anywhere from $4-$6 on breakfast, this adds up quickly approximately $350-$400 a month and the food I was eating really wasn’t all that healthy! I thought there has to be a cheaper and more nutritious alternative? So where do you start? What types of food will you cook? How do you store your meals? How much will this cost? I will answer all these questions and breakdown exactly what I do for a typical “meal prep” week, including Breakfast, Lunch, and Snacks.

Getting Started With Meal Prepping

First thing I like to do is come up with my lunch meal (I usually use the same meal every day just to cut on the cost and time to prep but feel free to switch it up and give yourself more options). For my lunch I like to choose something that won’t take hours to make on Sunday but that is also fulfilling. I make sure to incorporate at least one vegetable, a protein (usually chicken), and a starch/carb. Below are a few options you can choose from.

  • Vegetable- Green beans, Asparagus, Carrots, Squash, Broccoli
  • Protein- Chicken, Turkey, Salmon, Tilapia, or Cod
  • Starch/Carb- Sweet Potatoes, Whole Wheat Rice/Noodles

Now let’s move onto breakfast ideas, I normally don’t eat a huge breakfast in the morning but because of my diabetes I always make sure to eat something so I can maintain my blood sugars. I like to incorporate one carb, a protein, and if possible a fruit but I do try to stay away from bananas or oranges with high carbs so my sugars don’t spike mid-morning. Again below are a few options.

  • Protein- Eggs (hard boiled or scrambled), Sausage, or Bacon
  • Carb/Starch- Toast, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes
  • Fruit- Strawberries, Blue Berries, Cantaloupe, or Watermelon

The final piece to your meal prep will be your snacks, these are my favorite thing to meal prep because you have so many options and I honestly just love snacks haha! I like to have a variety throughout the day – anything from Veggie chips, nuts, fruits or even vegetables. Below are a few options.

Vegetable Straws
Trail Mix
Snap Peas
Cheese its
Protein Bites
Grapes
Watermelon
Carrots
Snap peas

I would now like to share with you this week’s meal prep, from my grocery list, the cost, prepping time, to the final master piece. This week is the week after Thanksgiving so I’m really looking to cut down on my carb intake (thanks to all the delicious pumpkin pies and sweet rolls I had over the holiday!). This week’s meal prep will include 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 16 snacks with everything purchased from Target minus the asparagus from my local grocery store.

Grocery List and Cost (I didn’t include tax): Total Costs $33.04

Breakfast Foods Included-
1 package of 12 turkey sausage links- $3.89
1 dozen eggs- $1.99
1 12oz. package of butternut squash- $3.50
Total Cost- $9.38

Lunch Foods Included-
1 6oz. package pre-cooked shredded chicken w/seasoning- $6.99
2 bunches of fresh asparagus- $4.25
1 8oz. package of ready rice (chicken flavored)- $1.89
Total Cost- $13.13

Snacks Included-
1 bag of grapes- $4.50
1 can of salted almonds- $2.56
2 Fiji apples- $1.49
4 cheese sticks- already had those at home so I didn’t need to buy
1 bag of baby carrots- $1.98
Total Cost- $10.53

Prepping Food:

First thing I like to do once I’m home with all my groceries is lay them all out on the table and separate the items into each group for that meal example: all the breakfast foods together and all the lunch foods together and so on…). Now that all your food has been divided into groups I will start with the food that takes the longest to cook and in this week’s meal prep it happens to be the asparagus and butternut squash. Below I have included the recipe on how I prepared and cooked my veggies.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Wash, cut the ends of the asparagus off, and place on cookie sheet.
Open and place the butternut squash on the other half of the cookie sheet.
Sprinkle olive oil, garlic, salt, and onion powder over the veggies.
Cook for approx. 20 minutes (until tender).

Now while your veggies are baking I move onto cooking the eggs (I prefer scrambled and in my experience notice they seem to last the longest, usually 4 days). While the eggs are cooking I arrange all my meal prep containers out on the table so that as I’m done with cooking each food item I can divide amongst the containers. Now I can get my sausage links and divide them up (3 links per container) plus since I bought pre-cooked links no cook time just simply place into containers. Do the same for the package of chicken divide amongst the other 4 containers and again it’s pre-cooked so easy peasy!

At this point my eggs are cooked and scrambled, remove pan from the heat and allow to cool for about 7-8 minutes. You can go ahead and pop that bag of rice into the microwave and heat for the 2 minutes required. While the rice is heating I cut up my apples and divide into another set of 4 containers, cut up my cheese sticks into cubes and again divide into those same 4 containers; now this is optional I added 3-4 grapes with those apples/cheese portions but you don’t have to do this step, totally optional.

Your 20 minute timer has now gone off, so go ahead and pull those yummy cooked veggies out of the oven and allow for them to cool about 10 minutes. During this time I get my grapes and carrots and divide into 4 plastic bags, now you can do the same for your almonds but I had these cute little containers that just sit in my cabinets so I thought what a perfect use for them! If you need good high quality BPA free food containers that are low cost then I recommend you purchase them through Amazon. Good quality food containers are an essential piece to serious meal prepping. Spend a little extra and get the ones with strong, secure lids. The last thing you want is the lid to pop off or break and have all of your food spill out and see your hard work at meal prepping be wasted because of a cheap food container. Trust me, those cheap dollar store containers simply do not hold up, I learnt this the hard way!

Aright almost done and guess what it’s only been about 30 minutes, that’s less time than a full-episode of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” HA! HA! I go ahead and divide my rice into the 4 containers with chicken and the same for the asparagus. Finally I divide my eggs and squash into the other 4 containers with the sausage links.

There you have it! A week worth of breakfast, lunch and snacks for around $33.04 and took you approximately 35 minutes to prepare. I would love to hear your thoughts on meal prep or any recipes along with any tips you have discovered.

Happy Meal Prepping!

About The Author

Jacque

Hi my name is Jacque, I’m 31 years old and live in the beautiful state of California. I enjoy a variety of different hobbies and activities, but truly love spending my time with family and friends. I have a passion for cosmetology, fitness, and healthy living. I’m always searching to try new adventures and hope you will join me in this exciting journey of life. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or thoughts you may have.

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