Category: Meal prepping

10 meals to prep this weekend

Uni starting, busy life, working heaps? Get prepping this weekend to ensure you eat healthy meals, regularly. These 10 meals are always on my go to list for prepping meals over the weekend, they stay fresh in the fridge, they are easy to reheat, and they retain all the flavour! Get prepping peeps!

1. Beetroot and Rosemary Beef burgers from Eat Drink Paleo

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2. Gluten free Banana Bread from The Healthy Chef

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3. Spicy Roast Pumpkin dip from Nutrilly Nutrition

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 4. Vegetarian spiced cauliflower salad with pomegranate from Move Nourish Believe

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5. Gluten free sweetcorn fritters from The Healthy Chef

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6. Dark chocolate chia truffles from Nutrilly Nutrition

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7. Coconut and tumeric chicken skewers from Optimal Health the Paleo way (Claire Yates)

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8. Sweet potato, kale and feta muffins from I Quit Sugar (Nicole Joy)

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9. Mango, coconut and macadamia pops from The Nutrition Guru and The Chef

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10. Rainbow quinoa tabouli from Nutrilly Nutrition

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Beef and mushroom Shepherd’s pie

This is one of my favourite winter recipes, which will one day be in my book (more on that in the future). Its packed full of veggies, and the beef is rich and tasty.

Beef and mushroom Shepherd’s pie

500g Beef mince
4 Large Mushrooms, chopped
1 Large carrot, diced
½ medium zucchini, diced
½ white onion, diced
2 Handfuls of baby spinach
2 Garlic cloves, peeled and diced
½ cup Red wine
1 cup Beef stock
2 Tbsp Tomato paste
½ Tsp Sea salt
Pinch Black pepper
1 Tsp mixed Italian herbs
1 star Anise
2 Dry Bay leaves
1 Tbsp Tamari soy sauce
2 Tbsp Tapioca Flour
2 Tsp Olive oil (for browning meat and onion)
2 Medium Sweet potatoes

  • Heat a frying pan on medium heat and sauté onion in ½ the olive oil for 8 minutes (or until brown). Prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • Add the beef mince to the pan, break into small chunks with a spatula. Stir frequently for 10-15 minutes, or until the beef is browned on all sides.
  • Add carrots, zucchini, garlic, red wine, sea salt, pepper, start anise, bay leaves and herbs, and bring to a simmer.
  • Add beef stock, tomato paste, mushrooms and tamari, stir and bring to a simmer.
  • Turn the heat down to low, then cover and simmer for 35 minutes, or until most of the liquid is gone. Stir occasionally.
  • Once the beef is simmering, you can prepare the sweet potato. Peel sweet potato and cut into large chunks. Place in a pot of boiling water and boil for 10-15 minutes, or until soft (you can check this with a knife).
  • Drain the sweet potatoes and leave to cool for a few minutes. Once cool, mash with a fork or potato masher. Add the sea salt and a little tapioca flour and mix well (I like to keep mine a little chunky for the texture). Leave aside.
  • After the beef has been simmering for 35 minutes, uncover and add spinach, stir well and let the spinach wilt. Once it has wilted add the tapioca flour. Stir to combine, the beef should thicken. Take off the heat and leave aside to cool.
  • Heat oven to 180C. In a medium casserole dish, spread the beef mince on the bottom, ensure you leave around ¼ of the space for the sweet potato.
  • Carefully spread the sweet potato over the mince evenly, until the mince is completely covered. You can use a fork to add a visual effect on the top. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Serve 2-3. Serve with a side of steamed veggies, garden salad or on its own.

Print version below:

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Live below the line: The review

Day 1:

So far, its been smooth sailing, although breakfast was a bit disappointing. Note to self-plain oats with pear and cinnamon sounds nice, but in reality, it still tastes like cardboard. 
For snacks I had a simple carrot and garlic soup, and raw carrot sticks. I also didn’t eat all the oats for breakfast, so I popped them in the oven for a baked pear and cinnamon crumble (again not so successful, it needs sugar-why did I not think of sugar!). 
Lunch was a nice big bowl of fried rice, with zucchini, garlic, onion and carrot. Luckily, lunch saved me and was really nice! 
Dinner was lentil dal with rice and one piece of flat bread. This was super yummy, and I’m so glad I have the garlic for flavoring everything! 
After my meal prep on Sunday, I have revised my meal plan:

$10 total
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Snacks
Day 1
Oats with grated pear and cinnamon
Fried rice with chicken, zucchini, carrot and fresh herbs
Chickpea and pumpkin curry with rice
Bone broth, carrot, carrot and garlic soup, Baked oat, pear and cinnamon crumble
Day 2
Toasted oats with stewed pear and cinnamon
Pumpkin, chicken and rice patties with roast potato wedges
Roast pumpkin with sautéed potato, zucchini and onion
Bone broth, baked potato, carrots, Pumpkin seeds
Day 3
Veggie hash with carrot, pumpkin, zucchini and tomato
Fried rice with chicken, zucchini, carrot and fresh herbs
Lentil dal with flatbread
Bone broth, carrots, carrot and garlic soup
Day 4
Oats with grated pear and cinnamon
Pumpkin, chicken and rice patties with roast potato wedges
Chickpea and pumpkin curry with rice
Bone broth, flatbread, carrots, Pumpkin seeds
Day 5
Oats with grated pear and cinnamon
Pumpkin, chicken and rice patties with roast potato wedges
Lentil dal with flatbread
Bone broth, carrots, baked potato

 

Might end up changing it again, depending on how it goes. 
The recipes I used as inspiration can be found here:
Pumpkin, chicken and rice patties
Chickpea and pumpkin curry
Lentil dal
Flatbread (Except no yoghurt-I will replace with water)
Bone broth
Pumpkin seeds
Of course, I didn’t make them exactly the same as I didn’t have all the ingredients, I only used what was on my shopping list. 

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Day 2:

Today was HARD. I was at uni all day, and I had such little energy, that I don’t think I spoke to anyone all day. I swapped around breakfast today, and I had toasted oats with stewed pear and cinnamon. It was slightly better than day 1, but still not great. Lunch was ok, I had to have it on the go, so it was cold, but not too bad. I was hungry by the time I got home, so I had some bone broth, and roasted my veggies. Dinner was great, but not very filling, I was hungry again by about 8.30. 

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Day 3: 
Due to all my hard work over the last few days, I treated myself to a big veggie hash this morning. It filled me up until about 11, which was great! Again fried rice was nice, but a little bland-it really could have done with some salt (must remember that for next year). The flat bread I made to go with the dal tonight was actually really yummy, and I’m glad I included it. 
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Day 4: 
I have caved and decided to sub out 2 potatoes, and sub in 2 Tbsp of sugar, I just couldn’t handle another day of plain oats. On the bright side, breakfast was actually nice today. The best way to do the oats is by grating the pear and adding the cinnamon and sugar, then stewing that with some water, and adding the oats when that’s cooked and letting it cook for a few minutes. 
Day 5: 
I’m so glad ts the last day today, however I accidentally burnt my roast veggies today (I had a few carrots leftover so I roasted them with the potato). I can’t wait for tomorrow and all the coffee I will drink, I also looking forward to some chocolate and maybe eggs. Its been an emotional roller coaster, I’ve been hungry, tired and grumpy, and I still have to carry on. 

 

Summary: 
Live below the line has taught me the value of food and nutrition, and how truly lucky we are to be able to afford nourishing food. It was such an incredible experience, I honestly think everyone should do it during their life. We have so many emotions tied to food, I was all over the place during the last week, but for me, it has an end date, for millions around the world poverty has no end. Today I eat with a grateful heart, and the will to improve the circumstances for those living in poverty. Thank you to everyone who supported me during this last week, and to everyone who donated.
 

 

Total amount raised: $261
Goal: $300
Next year: $500

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Super Salsa

I couldn’t find a good recipe for a fresh, nourishing salsa anywhere, so iv’e created my own. Its super simple, but full of great healthy ingredients.

Super Salsa 
1/2 Red Onion
1/2 Red capsicum
10cm Cucumber
2 Tomatoes
1 Bunch Coriander
1/2 Lemon
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 tsp Chopped red chili
Salt and pepper

  • Finely dice red onion, capsicum and cucumber, add to a large bowl.
  • De-seed tomatoes and dice, add to large bowl.
  • Chop coriander, add to rest of the ingredients.
  • In a smaller lidded container (I like to use an old small jar) add lemon juice, Olive oil, salt and pepper, and chopped red chili. Shake together to combine, and pour over salsa.
  • Mix all together to combine and serve.

This is great served with burritos, nachos, with salmon, or just on its own.

Print version below:

 

 

 

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Live below the line: $2 a day

Hi Lovelies!

I will be embarking on “Live below the line” next week, and I wanted to share with you a bit about it, and why i’m doing it. Basically live below the line is an initiative to increase awareness of poverty, and how it affects food choices for the poor. Its also a personal journey to discover what it is like to live on the poverty line. The challenge is to live on $2 a day for food for 5 days. Iv’e taken quite a bit of time to prepare for this, and it’s going to be tough!
I am personally doing it to experience what food choices are like for people with little money. We live in a culture where poverty is around, but we are unaware of it, and the reality of it. I hope to use my experience to help those in need, and to increase awareness. Having studied Nutrition for the last 3 years, I know that the food I will be eating for these 5 days is in now way reaching the recommendation for macro and micro nutrients, there is just no way to get it all in. 
Below is my plan for what I will be eating, I have tried my best to include as many fruit and veg as possible, but what I found was that it was too expensive to fit more in. Also, it was hard to afford protein, I really wanted eggs, but they were too pricey. 

$10 total
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Snacks
Day 1
Oats with grated apple and cinnamon
Chicken meat with rice and pumpkin patties
Chickpea and pumpkin curry with rice
Bone broth, flatbread, carrots
Day 2
Oats with grated apple and cinnamon
Fried rice with chicken, zucchini, carrot and fresh herbs
Mashed pumpkin with sautéed carrot, zucchini and onion
Bone broth, baked potato, carrots
Day 3
Oats with grated apple and cinnamon
Chicken meat with rice and pumpkin patties
Lentil dal with flatbread
Bone broth, carrots, baked potato
Day 4
Oats with grated apple and cinnamon
Carrot noodles with chickpea patties
Chickpea and pumpkin curry with rice
Bone broth, flatbread, carrots
Day 5
Oats with grated apple and cinnamon
Fried rice with chicken, zucchini, carrot and fresh herbs
Lentil dal with flatbread
Bone broth, carrots, baked potato
Shopping list:
Item
Amount
Cost
Item
Amount
Cost
Olive oil
100mL
$19.90/4L = $0.50
Carrot
1kg
$0.99/kg = $0.99
Canned toms
1 can
$0.79
Garlic
1 whole bulb
$0.99 for 6 = $0.165/1 bulb
Oats
200g
$1.28/750g = $0.34/200g
Potato
500g
$0.99/kg = $0.50
Apples
2 small
$2.38/kg = $0.60
Chickpeas
1 ½ cups cooked (1 cup dried) = 250g
$0.304/100g = $0.76
Cinnamon
2 tsp
=$0.10
Curry powder
2 Tbsp
=$0.15
Chicken drumsticks
2-3 small (300g)
$3.99/kg = $1.20
Onion
1 whole 180g
$1.99/kg = $0.35
Rice
6 serves = 3 cups cooked =200g
$0.30/100g =$0.60
Zucchini
1 whole
$0.50
Pumpkin
2kg
$0.69/kg = $1.38
Lentils
½ cup = 120g
$0.63/100g = $0.76
Flour
2 cups= 500g
$0.75/kg = $0.375

 

Iv’e calculated it from mostly things I already have in the cupboard. And I usually buy stuff in bulk, for example I bought a 10kg bag of rice for around $15, and I found pumpkin on special for $0.69/kg (Score!). and olive oil I buy in bulk too, so I was able to put in a little bit more. My local grocery store always has great specials too, so ill keep an eye out for great fruit and veg special next week. 
I am counting fresh herbs from the garden as free, as well a anything else I have grown (I have a single tomato growing!). I should have some greens, to add to the fried rice and curries, and if I will have some fresh mint which I will use for making tea. 
I would love for you to spare a few dollars for the cause, my goal is to raise $300, and so far I have $72. You can donate here: https://www.livebelowtheline.com.au/me/brittany_smith

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Book review: Optimal Health the Paleo way-Claire Yates

This week I finally got around to purchasing a copy of Optimal Health the Paleo way by Claire Yates, and I much say this thing is INCREDIBLE! Its not just a cookbook….Its 143 pages full of scientific based nutritional information, and Claire has presented it in a really easy to understand way. She goes through additives, allergens, hormones, stress, gut health, inflammation, macronutrients, micronutrients, and the list just goes on. I was amazed at just how much love and time Claire has put into this gorgeous work of art. 
Simply, Claire has summised everything you need to know about nutrition and the role it plays in your health, then gives you the ultimate guide to how to change your habits! Its a book I can confidently recommend to others who want a simple health eating plan to get them into the realm of good health. And its a book I will personally use to guide my diet. 
I have been on Paleo for 2 weeks now as part of a dietary intervention study at uni. I have noticed quite a few changes to my health. Firstly I have noticed that I am less hungry, and I want to snack less. This is a great feat for me as  have an issue with always being hungry. Secondly, my skin is looking amazing! I haven’t had this kind of skins in quite a few years. And thirdly, I have more energy. Now in the afternoon, I don’t feel like I need another coffee, its just all uphill! 

This weekend I used Claire’s recipes to do my meal prep (as well as some recipes from Eat Drink Paleo). I made:

  • Carrot and sweet potato bites: These were a huge hit at the family Easter BBQ, even for those that are big meat eaters.
  • Sweet potato salad: Another hit at the family Easter BBQ, everyone was surprised at how tasty it was.
  • Roasted eggplant, cauliflower and warm chicken salad: This on is just gorgeous, and is going to be my lunch during the week. It was so easy to out together
  • Butter Chicken: Again, another super simple recipe that only really took 20 minutes from start to finish.
  • Herb and chili chicken: This was amazing, I just popped everything into a big baking dish and literally left it for a hour, and tada-Done!
Honestly, get your hands on a copy of this, Claire has put her heart and soul into this book, and you can really tell. This is the kind of book I would love to one day be the proud author of.
Find out more about Optimal health the Paleo way, Claire Yates, and how to re-set your health over at her website: http://optimumhealthpaleo.com/

 

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Gorgeous Granola

There is something deliciously rewarding about making your own tasty granola. I usually make a batch over the weekend to enjoy with my weekday smoothies, or with Greek yogurt and figs. I even have it on its own as a healthy snack during the day. Plus you can add your own preferences to make it even better!
 
The thing to remember with granola is a low heat, and slow cooking process, you don’t want to burn or overcook it, the nuts just need to be toasted. 
 
This granola is full of energy boosting nuts, slow release oats, and packed with protein from the seeds. And of course, just a hint of sweetness from the honey, vanilla and spice. Not that you need to be any more sweet lovely!
 
 

1 cup Rolled oats
1/2 cup Ground almonds
1 cup Mixed nuts (I like Brazil, Hazelnuts and walnuts)
1/2 cup Mixed seeds (Pepitas, Chia, Sunflower, Sesame)
1 cup Dried fruit (Cranberries, Apricots)
1/2 cup Desiccated coconut
1/4 cup Coconut flakes
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 cup Coconut oil
3 Tbsp. Honey
1 Tsp. Vanilla

  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats and ground almonds.
  • In a food processor, process the mixed nuts, until there is a variety of sizes (I like to keep it pretty chunky)
  • Add the processed nuts and seeds to the bowl.
  • Chop the dried fruit and add to the bowl.
  • Add coconut, and spices, mix thoroughly.
  • In a small jug mix together the coconut oil, honey and vanilla, then pour over the dry mix, and combine.
  • Line a large baking tray with baking paper, and spread granola mix over.
  • Bake at 160 degrees for 30-40 minutes, check every 15 minutes to prevent overcooking.
Serve with Greek yogurt, and figs.

 

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5 steps to less food waste

We are all culprits of wasting food. Veggies that have gone soggy in the fridge, to simply making too much food. Its an easy thing to do, but the problem is that we are pouring money down the drain, and wasting the earth’s finite resources. The estimate is that Australia throws away around $8 billion dollars worth of food every year. A large amount of this is thrown away at the consumer level-in our homes, and the other part is at the farm/supplier level. If food looks “bad” then often it will get thrown away before it gets the chance to be sold. This food is still good to use, big chain supermarkets have trained us into thinking that fruit and veg should only be bought if it looks perfect, and anything else should be thrown away. We need to change our perfect ideals of what fruit and veggies should look like, because the produce that looks “bad” still has the exact same nutrients as its “perfect” counterparts.

So here are my 5 steps to less food waste:

1. Plan, purchase, prep:

If we plan our weekly menus, and purchase only what we need that week, we are far less likely to have food that goes to waste, especially if we have prepared dinners and lunches already. Making things like stews, curries and soups are a great way to prevent food wastage, because even if you make too much, it can be put in the freezer for another meal.

2. Don’t buy everything:

My nana grew up during the war, which means she hoarded EVERYTHING. But we really don’t have to do that now, food is always available, and we don’t have to worry about not having any. Unless you are adamant that there will be a zombie apocalypse or something, I think we are good. So when something is on special, don’t buy more than what you need, unless is a non-perishable item.

3. Store food properly

A large amount of food waste occurs because we a negligent with storage. We leave leftovers out, fruit and veggies aren’t kept cool, or food isn’t kept in sealed containers. Not only is this wasting food, its unsafe. All sorts of nasty bacteria can grow on food that isn’t stored safely.

4. Compost:

A way to get waste out of the landfills and into our gardens is to compost. I have found since starting composting, that I take much more notice as to what i’m throwing away. I can see how much of my fruit and veggies just get dumped because for whatever reason they aren’t edible. So instead I have become more aware of how much i’m wasting, and his includes non-food waste too. I now recycle more, and my normal rubbish bin only goes out every few weeks, sometimes only once a month.

5. Grow your own

One of the best ways I have found to reduce food wastage is to start growing your own. Once you realize how much time, love and effort it takes to grow food, you stop wasting it. For example one head of lettuce takes around 2-3 months to grow, after growing one yourself, those ‘bad leaves’ won’t look so bad after all.

I found this great info graphic that perfectly explains the situation:

References:

http://www.foodwise.com.au/
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-08/food-waste-value-australia/4993930

Cheap, fast and easy

Yes, I’m definitely talking about your food! I often get asked how to eat healthy on a budget. Everyone always comments that healthy foods are expensive. The image above gives some incredible tips on how to start eating healthy on a budget, and i’m going to add to it and give you 5 MORE TIPS!

So here;s my 10 tips for eating healthy on a budget:

1. Meal plan and prep

You have probably noticed that I talk a lot about meal prepping and planning, and honestly it saved me so much time and money when I started doing it, and now I have healthy, nutritious, simple meals every night of the week. For example last week I made a huge batch of lentil curry, and I got two main meals out of it. The whole pot only cost me less than $10. I also waste much less food now, because I only buy what I need for that week.

2. Vegetarian food

I have been more or less vegetarian for the past month, and I have absolutely loved it (post on that another time). What I have noticed is that my food bill has decreased by about $30-$50. I still have eggs, fish and legumes, but meat is expensive, and as long as we are getting other forms of protein, then there really is no need to eat so much meat! My suggestion is to start slow with decreasing meat consumption, try doing meat-free-Mondays.

3. Buy in season

This one is a little obvious, but fruit and vegetables that are not in season will be more expensive. So I eat foods that are only in season locally. This was, not only you are saving money, but you are saving the earth! Food that isn’t in season has had to travel from a distant land, and has been stored and possibly preserved to keep it fresh. More travel=more expensive.

4. Buy in bulk

Generally food is cheaper per weight if you buy in bulk. Things that keep like rice, lentils, flours, canned goods, and nuts are good thing to buy in bulk. Of course, you need to ensure they are still in sealed containers, I know of some people that keep everything they buy in bulk in the freezer. If you have a big enough freezer you can even buy fruit and veg when its n season in bulk, then freeze it!

5. Stay away from packaged products

Packaged products (even the ones from the health food stores) have less nutrients than their fresh counterparts. Processed food has lost much of its nutritional value, so to get the most ‘bang for your buck’ nutritionally, buy fresh whole foods and prepare them yourself. Food companies will often use clever marketing ploys, fancy packaging and false claims to get you to think their product is healthy, and by doing so they hike up the prices and charge more.

6. Eat more fibre

Fibre is the stuff that keeps us regular, it bulks up our stools and helps it to pass through easily. It isn’t digested, which means its a healthy ‘filler’ for your diet. Fibre can be found in fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and whole grains. More fibre means we keep fuller, which means we spend less on food!

7. Eat before you go shopping

NEVER EVER go grocery shopping while hungry. Your good intentions will be overrun by your bodies hunger mechanisms and you will end up purchasing energy dense and nutrient poor food, which tend to be more expensive. It also means you may spend more on food in general ‘oh, I will just buy this chocolate bar to eat on the way home’, or ‘this will make great lunch’.

8. Pack your lunch

I always try to take my own lunch, it usually consists of brown rice bites, veggie lasagna, salad, wraps, sushi or leftovers. And I also take a piece of fruit, maybe some raw crackers with some homemade dip, cucumbers, carrots or nuts. I also pack my partners lunch for him. We calculated that both our lunches cost less than $5 each, and we always get more money’s worth when we bring out own.

9. Visit your local farmers market

Farmers markets generally have lower prices on fresh produce, they also often sell organic fruit and veg, which is generally cheaper than its supermarket organic counterpart. I love finding good prices on fruit and veg, then buying it in bulk and freezing it or dehydrating it.

10. Water bottle

Carry one EVERYWHERE with you. It will save you money on buying drinks while out, and means you can find somewhere to refill it for free.

Sunday meal prepping

Every Sunday I meal prep. Basically I spend a few hours organizing and preparing my meals for the week, and I know if I do it, my meals are always healthier, yummier, and easier to prepare. It means that I can relax about my meals, because if I get home late, I know that there is a convenient, healthy, home cooked meal waiting for me. This can be a fantastic thing to do if you have kids, you can even get them to help decide what to make, and to help make it.

It also saves me money. By pre-planning what you are going to eat for the week, you only buy what you need, rather than just getting whatever, and being left with food at the end of the week, or wasting it.
Here is my weekly meal plan:
Here’s what I made:
  • Paleo Granola from:

http://eatdrinkpaleo.com.au/our-favourite-paleo-muesli-granola-recipe/

  • Sweet potato falafels from:
http://www.veggienumnum.com/2013/12/sweet-potato-falafel/
  • Lentil curry from:
http://www.thehealthychef.com/2011/10/my-vegetable-curry/
  • Raw walnut and zucchini crakers from:
http://www.therawtarian.com/raw-cracker-recipe-buttery-walnut-zucchini-crackers
  • Brown rice patties from:
http://chefinyou.com/2008/05/brown-rice-patties/
  • Banana Bread from:
http://www.thehealthychef.com/2013/01/gluten-free-banana-bread/
  • Cous cous tabouli from:
http://www.eatliverun.com/couscous-tabbouleh-salad/
  • Raw coconut bounty bites
My own recipe-to be uploaded to the blog soon!
If you need help with your meal prep-I’m totally happy to help! Just email me at [email protected] I’m also hoping to start offering meal prepping courses/classes. Would anyone be interested? Or possibly more intimate one on one sessions so you can grasp the concept of meal prepping!
Britt xx