Monday, May 23, 2016

Meal Prep On the Go

Greetings from London!! Packing up my earthly possessions (what was left of them after the selling and donating and storing of remaining former possessions) was daunting. The baking pans less often used were the first thing to go but believe me, several cookbooks and kitchenwares made the jump across the pond! Mixing bowls? Check. Measuring cups/spoons? Check. Beloved cookbooks? Check.

The intermediate step in my semi-permanent move to London is living in a furnished corporate apartment until I find a more permanent abode. It's basically a super nice hotel suite with a fully operational kitchen. I was worried that I would be eating out all the time with lots of new food places nearby and meeting up with new people.

But since I have a fridge, stove/oven, microwave and basic kitchen utensils, meal prep can totally happen. I looked up the closest grocery store (my local Sainsbury, as it turns out, although there's also a Tesco nearby) and picked up some easy to use necessities. Granted, meal prep is on a much simpler scale but here's a look at what I've been able to accomplish for my first week of meal prep, requiring just the items you see below (plus a blender bottle and my measuring cup...):

  • Rice Bowls: I picked up pre-cooked chicken so I wouldn't have to buy spices or oils but some meats come pre-marinaded. Broccoli and rice were cooked as usual and then everything was combined in one pot. The rice was measured with my own measuring cup since it took little space in my suitcase. Since rice is a 1:2 ratio of rice and water though, you could use a glass to measure in a pinch. I'm lacking tupperware so stored the goods in a pot with a lid, portioning out and reheating as needed. Rice bowls are extremely versatile and could be meat-free, adding legumes instead for protein.
  • Spinach Salad: Probably the easiest thing to make with limited resources, a bed of spinach leaves can be dressed up with dried fruit, nuts, cheese or in my case, hard boiled eggs and canned salmon (I looked for tuna but salmon is what they had so I went for it). Rather than buying a bottle of dressing, I bought a lemon and seasoned generously with that.
  • Shakes: I bought a blender bottle a few weeks ago and can easily make protein shakes for breakfast. Before going on vacation, I would also blend oatmeal in a food processor and carry it in ziploc bags to make the shakes more filling. The bottle label boasts that it can tackle peanut butter to make it a thicker shake as well but I haven't personally tried it yet. I also picked up some eggs, bananas and granola to mix up my breakfast game. 
If you aren't in a place with a stocked kitchen, ready-made meals like granola, oatmeal, cereal, or yogurt for breakfast is great! Salads and wraps are also doable with just a fridge and a couple utensils. And for snacks, you can't beat fruit or nuts, no prep needed. Alternatively, for a short trip, you can make your own snacks to bring with you! (Update: or you can MacGyver your hotel room heating implements).

How do you meal prep on the go? I'm thinking next week some burrito bowls and zoodles (yes, the spiralizer also packed well).

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