I’m going to kick this article off with a full-on Sunday School confessional; whilst I’ve remained employed as a health editor for over 6 years, my bank statement continues to read like a transcript of someone stuck in an Uber Eats-induced glitch in the matrix. In fact, my culinary skills are so lacking, that you’d be mistaken for thinking my transactions were in fact the menu of my local Mexican restaurant.
The ‘treat yourself’ and ‘support local business’ attitude of multiple lockdowns has well and truly become habit six months later, with my bank balance and health the greatest casualties. They say that you can’t out-train a bad diet, and I can wholeheartedly attest that no amount of HIIT workouts can undo the damage caused by a daily burrito bowl delivered to my door by my local Uberologist, no matter how delicious.
Having finally come face-to-face with my health kryptonite, I recently decided to jump back on the meal-prep bandwagon I had adopted pre-COVID. In precedented times, I had meal prepped fastidiously every Sunday evening before a week of intense meetings, largely to save time deciding and procuring lunches. This time around, with the gift of WFH and time on my side, my decision largely revolves around my health.
And whilst healthy and convenient eating was at the heart of this experiment, it wasn’t until I was scanning my last pack of lean turkey mince at the Woolies self-checkout that I recalled perhaps the greatest benefit to meal prepping; the savings. By prepping 10 meals at once, I had lunch and dinner sorted Monday to Friday, and all for less than $40. Sure, there’s a severe sense of monotony in eating the same meal over and over each day, but monotony is very on brand for 2022. (Plus, there’s always the freezer.)
For my comeback round of meal prep, I opted for a protein base of turkey mince, white rice and assorted vegetables. Whilst chicken and beef will yield similar results, I chose turkey mince for no other reason than personal taste preference, especially when reheating.
To start, I stir fry the turkey mince, 1kg in total, until cooked through, whilst simultaneously roasting an assortment of seasonal vegetables, lightly drizzled in olive oil, in the oven on 200 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Although the vegetables may vary every time you meal prep, you’ll want to ensure there are enough to comfortably cover 2 large oven trays. The preparation of 750g of white rice rounds out the simple but nutritious ingredients that will form your meals.
Armed with your turkey, rice and vegetables, divide all of the cooked ingredients evenly into 10 separate reusable containers, refrigerating the meals you intend to eat within 48 hours, and freezing the remainder.
When it comes time to ‘feast’, reheat your meal for 2 minutes in the microwave. I always garnish with a pinch of salt and will add fresh avocado to the mix (only when the hass variety is in season, of course).
If you are keen on monitoring your macros, or just after some very useful information, 100 grams of lean turkey mince provides just over 21 grams of protein. Adding the 75 grams of white rice will give you a hit of 21 grams of carbohydrates. If you find that the portions aren’t quite satiating enough, adding vegetables or increasing your volume of rice will do the trick, and as you’ll see by the shopping list below, will keep you well within budget.
YOUR SHOPPING LIST