My Favorite Make-Ahead Menu Items

My Favorite Make-Ahead Menu Items

I recently wrote about Sunday food prep, and I thought if you were going to take the plunge you might want a few more ideas for what, exactly, to make.

Here are some of my favorite ideas:

  • Bean burritos. The variations here are endless, and they freeze incredibly well, so you can make as many as you want and be sure they’ll keep for whenever you need them. I like to use whole wheat tortillas, fat free refried beans, chopped onions, and various mix-ins like shredded cheddar, hot sauce or enchilada sauce, and even other veggies like spinach or a protein like chicken.
  • Soups and stews! I get excited talking about this, which is why I’ve used an exclamation point. Now that the cold weather is upon us (well, the unfortunate among us), soups and stews are probably already on your mind. I like to make anything that has a ton of veggies and beans in it, but you make whatever suits you best. Definitely double the recipe and freeze a batch for an easy meal down the road!
  • Pot pies. This is another meal that’s great for the colder weather, can be filled with healthy, wholesome ingredients, can be made ahead of time, and can also be frozen. What’s not to like about that? I’m usually far too lazy to actually make a pie crust, so I either buy a frozen whole grain one or, my newest thing is to use a casserole dish, double the filling recipe, and plop whole wheat drop biscuit dough on top before sticking the entire thing in the oven.
  • Bean burgers, spinach burgers, meat burgers. Really any burger. It’s so easy to make a big batch of whatever suits you and then freeze half and save the other half to eat for the week. This is a great and sneaky way to add veggies into your day if you task yourself with topping the burger with lettuce, tomato, and onion, and eat roasted veggies on the side.
  • Speaking of that: Roasted veggies. Did you know that every single vegetable tastes 1 million percent better when it’s roasted? Fact. When I learned this, it was like I could hear the angels singing at dinner time. Now my husband actually requests vegetables. Yup, it could happen to you, too. There are tons of recipes out there, but I just toss whatever I’m roasting (carrots, sweet potatoes, regular old potatoes, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts) with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper, and cook in an oven heated to 400-425 until the veggies are done, usually in 20-25 minutes, depending on how small the pieces are.
  • Baked potatoes. I remember that when I was a kid my very favorite spot in the mall was the baked potato place in the food court. (Yes, there were available toppings, they didn’t serve only baked potatoes.) Now as a grown up I still love a good baked potato, and you can create a whole meal out of a baked sweet or regular potato if you know how to top it, and it’s so, so easy to cook a big batch of them ahead of time. When meal time comes around, try topping them with roasted broccoli and Greek yogurt and some shredded cheese or with black beans, salsa, and avocado.

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