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Friday
Sep082017

5 Easy Ways to Batch Prep Your Protein

You probably know that protein is super important for your health. When it comes to nutrients, it has one of the longer lists of benefits. The amount of lean body mass and bone density you carry, how healthy your immune system is, how well you recover from your workouts, how well your body formulates hemoglobin (oxygen for your exercising muscles), how well your blood sugars and hunger hormones are managed — all are reliant on your protein intake.

The downside to protein is that it does require some prep and cook time, but with a little planning and strategy you can easily hit your daily need. I like planning a day and time each week to do some meal preparation for all my snacks and meals for the upcoming week. Here are my five favorite go-to hacks to make prepping protein a little easier. 

1. Bake Your Eggs

Hard-boiled eggs are an easy go-to in my book. With each egg providing a good source of both protein and essential fat, they’re one of my most highly recommended snacks. I make a carton of hard-boiled eggs each and every week so they’re easy to grab and go for breakfast or pack for snacks.

To make things simple, I recommend making hard-boiled eggs by baking them in the oven. Place each egg inside its own muffin cup. Bake them for 30 minutes at 350 degrees and place eggs in a large bowl filled with ice water until cool. Store in the refrigerator.

2. Slow Cook Your Meat

A slow cooker should be a staple in every household. Slow-cooker meals take minimal prep and you only have one dish to clean up. They’re great for batch cooking so you end up with multiple meals (e.g., chili) and are especially convenient for cooking protein foods. If you’re really time-starved and have no time for cooking, go for a rotisserie chicken at your local supermarket. It’s a meal-plan dream as it takes nearly zero prep, and you can turn on your cooker and not touch it for hours.

I like to take about six fresh chicken breasts (seasoned generously with sea salt and garlic) and let them cook on high for about three hours. Once they’re done cooking, I can either pack them individually with vegetables for lunches for the work week, or I often pull them apart (with two forks) and add some lower-carb barbecue or buffalo sauce to have nice pulled chicken to top salads or serve with veggies. Try this Buffalo Chicken recipe. 

3. Make-Ahead Smoothies

Take your favorite recipe and multiply out the number of servings you want to make ahead. I store the smoothies in Mason jars inside the refrigerator. Then, I just shake the smoothie before drinking. Also, try freezing your smoothie or shake. You can use a muffin tin or ice cube tray. Once frozen, store individual servings in a large freezer bag and when you’re ready for a shake, grab a serving of frozen shake cubes and throw them in the blender with milk. If you have kids, freezing smoothies is also an easy way to make healthy popsicles. 

Try my go-to recipe: 16 ounces of unsweetened coconut milk, 2 cups of frozen kale, 3 cups of frozen blueberries and four servings of vanilla Vegan Protein Plus. Serves four.

4. Individual Freezer Meals

You don’t have to cook everything on the same day. When I purchase chicken in bulk, I like to prep it together by making different freezer meals for upcoming weeks. For every Ziploc bag (gallon-size) I throw in 1 to 2 pounds of chicken breast along with ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil, a little sea salt and whatever seasoning I want (lemon garlic, chili powder, etc.). You can save money by buying bulk and prepare your dinners for weeks to come by freezing now and pulling the chicken out to thaw the day before you want to cook and serve it.

5. Energy Bites

Batch prepping on-the-go energy bites is an easy way to get in protein during the day. They can also serve as a healthy alternative if you crave sweets. Plus, they're not only a great option for adults, but children love them, too. This is currently my favorite energy bite recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 serving of the chocolate Vegan Protein
  • 1 serving of the double chocolate Life Greens
  • 2 ounces of almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1/2 tsp. organic almond extract (vanilla can work too)
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut butter, room temperature

Method 

  1. Mix the Vegan Protein and Life Greens together in a mixing bowl.
  2. Mash in the almond milk, almond extract and coconut butter until it’s a dough-like consistency.
  3. Roll mixture into 10–12 even sized truffle balls.  
  4. Place in a glass container and store in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before eating. 

 

In health, Anika Christ – Director – Digital Programming & Events – Life Time Weight Loss 

 

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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