1 hour, $60, 5 days of daytime eats

Thatโ€™s breakfast, lunch and a snack each day! PLUS, everything is gluten-free.

Make ahead snacks and lunch for the week

So last time I did a similar post to this one, I counted a lot of pantry essentials. I later realized that a few items may not commonly be on hand , and for that reason the title was skewed. Fail to meeeeee. I really wanted this to become more of a regular thing on the blog, especially because I love getting ideas like this from friends, but I was determined to do it right. So, I went to Trader Joeโ€™s and bought all the things. 

Trader Joe's haul

Hereโ€™s what I budgeted for the recipes I wanted to make: (many of these are things I usually have on hand, which would bring the cost way down)

Shopping List for a Week of Healthy Eating

oats (2 cups) -$3 (for gluten-free, be sure to buy certified gf oats)

nut butter (jar) -$6

protein powder (2 packs) -$6

frozen berries -$3

4 bananas $1

6 eggs $5

2 cucumbers $4

2 bell peppers $3

grape tomatoes $3

kalamata olives $3

goat cheese (log) $4

2 lemons $1

mint $1

fresh chopped broccoli $3

2 sweet potatoes $1

3 chicken breasts $10

almond milk $4

Pantry staples:

Butter

Olive oil

Cinnamon

Sea salt

Pepper

Oregano

Paprika

Garlic powder

Thyme

Maple syrup or honey

Mix-ins for breakfast cookies (optional. Examples: dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc) 

And here is the grand total!! Pretty amazing, right?! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank goodness for Joe the Trader and his awesome prices. I think you could certainly get everything for the same price at Sproutโ€™s, especially if you get the oats from the bulk bin, the fresh-ground nut butter (just 1/2 cup) and the olives from the salad bar. Also, many of the items were certified organic, so conventional options would shoot the prices down. Even though the total was $50, I did not find protein powder packs at TJs and had a few types here at the house. If you buy packs of protein powder, theyโ€™re usually about $4 a piece, which is why I erred on the conservative side and put $60 in the post title.

Trader Joe's receipt

Here are the recipes for the week! I really wanted to have enough daytime meals for each day, since theyโ€™re the most challenging for me to make with two littles around. When I set myself up for success, I eat so much healthier, and also, I like to have variety on hand. Last week, we never did a big shopping trip and I was scrambling to get full meals together. Every day when I finally had time to eat some lunch, Iโ€™d open the fridge and stare blankly inside. Itโ€™s hard to feel inspired when youโ€™re looking at random condiments.

Making snacks

Menu Plan for Daytime Eats

Breakfast cookies (3 breakfasts)

Egg and broccoli casserole (2 breakfasts, 1 lunch)- cooking time: 35-40 minutes

Amazeballs (3 snacks)

Protein smoothie (2 snacks)

Chopped Greek salad with chicken (3 lunches)- chicken cooking time: about 25 minutes

Stuffed sweet potatoes (2 lunches) with chicken, broccoli and goat cheese- cooking time for sweet potatoes: 1 hour

Prep it All in One Hour

1) Start the oven to bake chicken and sweet potatoes. Preheat the oven to 375 and spray a baking dish with olive oil or nonstick spray. Place the chicken in the dish and season well with oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Slice one lemon and place the slices on the chicken. Set to bake for about 25 minutes until cooked through and the juices run clear. Wash the sweet potatoes, poke with a fork, and place on a baking dish to bake for an hour.

2) Chop veggies for salads. While the chicken is cooking, chop the tomatoes, cucumber and bell pepper in a large container. Stir in 2/3 jar of pitted kalamata olives and 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley. (I wanted mint, too, but TJs was out.) 

Prepping Chopped salad

3) Prep casserole and place in the oven to bake, while the chicken and sweet potatoes are still cooking. (The chicken should be almost done by the time it goes into the oven.) In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs (6 eggs), 6 oz chopped fresh broccoli, 1/3 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup goat cheese, and season well with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon each of garlic powder, oregano, thyme and mix well. Pour into a medium, greased baking dish and sprinkle the smoked paprika on top (about 1/4 teaspoon). Bake for 35-40 minutes until set and cooked through. It should be finished exactly when the sweet potatoes are done!

Broccoli casserole

4) Make breakfast cookies. I made three breakfast cookies on plates, with plastic wrap on top to seal. Remove the chicken from the oven when itโ€™s finished cooking, and set on a cutting board to rest.

Cookies and ballz

5) Make amazeballs. Add in any mix-ins youโ€™d like and store in a container in the fridge.

6) Assemble salad. Add in the chopped chicken (save 1/2-1 breast for sweet potato topping if youโ€™d like), and 2 oz goat cheese. Cut the other lemon in half and squeeze on top of the salad. Drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Stir to combine and cover in the fridge. This is enough for 3 generous lunch salads.

Chopped salad

Chopped salad 2

You have ingredients to also make simple smoothies with protein powder, nut butter (optional), banana, frozen berries and almond milk for snacks. With the oats, you can also enjoy them hot with frozen berries mixed in. For the stuffed sweet potatoes, you can try them with extra chicken, broccoli and goat cheese. I also enjoy them plain with the salad. 

One-hour meal prep for 5 days of daytime eats

Did you meal prep this week? Whatโ€™s on the menu? The Pilot actually planned our meals for dinner, so Iโ€™m excited to try out some new recipes. ๐Ÿ™‚

xoxo

Gina

More meal prep posts:

An hour of clean eats

An hour of clean snacks

Reader’s request: meal planning

You might also like:

Comments

  1. Wow, I need to take a closer look at menu planning and do something like this. For just the hubby and me, last week we spent $140 on groceries for the week and this past week we spent $80! Not everything is organic (like meat – hard to get here) but a good portion of our other items are. I find it the hardest to find easy recipes for lunches that aren’t a bazillion calories but a little more investigation and pre-planning would help me too! I’m applauding how organized you are with two little gals keeping you busy. I have no excuses ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I think this $60 did not include dinners… I had the same reaction of, oh crap, hubby and spend way too much! But yeah we almost never ever eat out, so our $120 a week grocery bill seems on target. Loved the post though, Gina!

    • Fitnessista says:

      wow that is amazing! we usually spend 150 a week for the three of us
      xooxo

  2. Kelsey Halena says:

    This is great! My fiance and I have been trying to cut our monthly grocery budget down a bit so we’ve been trying to take a closer look at planning multiple meals/uses for the groceries we buy. This post is a win, I’d say!

    This week’s prep included bread, stir fry veggies for various meals, a slow cooker egg frittata, and some salads prepped. It always feels so great to go into the week knowing you have all of these options.

  3. Love this! Makes meal prep so approachable. Thank heavens for my beloved TJs!

  4. I did meal prep this week, but I’m still a bit behind on my game and need to step it up a notch! I’m working on getting more greens in my meals. One step at a time!

  5. I love this! I’ve been intending to start doing more weekly meal prep and this post inspires me to get going on it.

    I don’t post often–but want to tell you your girls are so adorable! And I love your polar bear graphic on your winter shapeup plan.

  6. How long does your salad keep in the fridge? I always worry about the texture of salads if I keep them for more than a day.

    • Fitnessista says:

      i only made 3 servings because i think it will be soggy by day 3. this is why i didn’t add any lettuce or leafy greens but they could always be added right before eating!

  7. Melissa S. says:

    Love this meal plan post, Gina. One of the most user-friendly, adaptable. Thanks!

  8. I’m back on the meal prep bandwagon and was very happy with the prices of Trader Joe’s produce when I went this past weekend. I had been sticking to Safeway and Sprouts, which are both much more expensive. Great plan, Gina. Thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Jacquelyn says:

    I LOVVVVVE this post!! I hope you make this a weekly thing ๐Ÿ™‚ I meal prep weekly but I am always looking for new ideas as I tend to stick to the same stuff weekly. I will definitely be using this is my inspiration for next week!! Thanks Gina!!!!

  10. I LOVE this post! I am having to meal prep more and more often with the new little one. I don’t love having snacks around because I am more likely to eat them just because if I find a spare moment. I’m learning however it’s much better to snack on something healthy just because AND have the options available when I’m starving and must eat NOW than dive into my husband’s junk draw because there’s nothing prepped and I have about a second to eat before both me and the little go into full melt down mode.

    • Fitnessista says:

      i hear ya. last week i ate chips and an entire thing of guacamole as “lunch” because we didn’t have any staple groceries

  11. I love this kind of post- I see that you have one other like this (plus a snacks one) and I would be VERY interested in these types of posts moving forward!!

  12. I love these posts! I like the step by step process of doing everything at once. This is helping me stick to my meal prepping goals haha.

  13. Elizabeth S says:

    I love this post! Thank you for sharing.

  14. This looks awesome! I want to see how it compares to Canadian prices. I’m trying to keep my grocery budget at $100/week for me and my three year old so I really appreciate these. Would be great to include dinners too. Or lunches and dinners since breakfast is easy enough for me (always oatmeal). Thank you for being awesome <3

    • Fitnessista says:

      thank you so much, friend! i can definitely do one with lunches and dinners. breakfasts are usually easy for me too (egg burrito!)
      xoxo

  15. Christine says:

    I love this post! I’ve been looking for daytime food inspiration. I’m a creature of habit, which means I eventually get into a rut with what I eat! Thank you!

  16. This is amazing! I’ve seen posts like this before but actually seeing the receipt makes all the difference.

    I spend a small fortune on groceries every week… Am starting to think I could save some serious $$ by really commiting to meal planning rather than going by what looks good that night ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. I love these posts and I love pre-prepping for the week. This week I made a big vegetable soup and 4 mason jar salads. I food-saver the jars with the special attachment, on a blog tip. But since I always heard ‘don’t refrigerate tomatoes’ I throw those on at the end, with avocado and some seeds.

    I think you have a typo… “Add the eggs” reads as “add the adds”.

    Nice post!

    • Fitnessista says:

      thank you- i’ll fix it now!
      i’ve tried to do that with tomatoes but find that they spoil so quickly on the countertop. i think they taste way better though

  18. Do you and the Pilot share these meals? $50 seems like quite a bit to spend on breakfast, lunch and snacks for just one person. We typically spend $120 a week at the store for breakfast, lunch and dinner for two adults and two toddlers, while not everything is organic I would say about 50% of the stuff I buy is. I think a lot of people have a skewed vision of Trader Joes because I find some of their items to cost a lot more than what similar items I can find at Sprouts or even Safeway.

    • Fitnessista says:

      no they’re just for me. i agree that $50 is a lot, but i wanted to buy everything for an accurate total. a lot of these items i have on hand at all times (kalamata olives, almond butter, almond milk, goat cheese, lemons, eggs), so if i were to make it with my staples and just bought the fresh produce and chicken, it would have easily been 35 or so. we spend 150 a week for tom, liv and myself, and eat mostly organic and a lot of our meals at home

      • That makes sense! I didn’t put two and two together when you made the remark about your previous post. I guess if someone was really making this all from “scratch” with no staples it would cost more.

        • Fitnessista says:

          exactly! but at some point i’m going to have to include some things as staples because i don’t need 18 jars of almond butter around the house haha

  19. Thank you for this post! It seems easy and is so much clearer than other meal plan & prep articles I’ve read in healthy magazines. I’m good at planning out our dinners, but always forget about lunch, so this has some really great options.

  20. Love this post Gina. I’m a little jealous on how much cheaper it is to buy Organic groceries in the USA. My grocery bill averages $200.00 for the week with half Organic. I even emailed a copy of the Trader Joes receipt to my husband, and nearly about died. I love meal prepping on Sunday and always write my menu on the back of my grocery list in case I miss or forget something. The menu is then posted on the side of my fridge for the week!

  21. I think the right kind of meal planning can REALLY make a difference during the week – and pay off when it comes to your nutrition goals. I’m placing a huge emphasis on meal planning hacks and nutrition with my clients this week, and I love the idea of focusing on certain meals that tend to be busier during the week ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Way to go! It’s crazy how meal planning can save so much money!

  23. this is awesome. please do it more. I would also love a dinner one — especially if you have any ideas for a vegetarian/meat eater household. I love that the greek salad and stuffed sweet potatoes can just have added chicken.

  24. That salad looks so good, I’m going to stop by TJ’s tonight to grab the ingredients to make it for lunches the rest of the week! Keep this type of post coming!

  25. I don’t comment often, but wanted to chime in here and echo the love for this post. You have inspired me to try this! Your salads look so good and like a great lunch option for taking to work. I will be at TJ’s this weekend with this post in mind, so thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. This post is FANTASTIC! Thank you! I make egg muffins and roast sweet potatoes on the weekend to throw into salads, but I feel like I’m eating the same things over & over. And I’m always scrounging for healthy snacks, trying to avoid the cheddar Goldfish smiling at me from the pantry ๐Ÿ˜‰ Going to try this out this weekend, thanks again!

  27. Yummy looking breakfast casserole! On Friday I usually plan our dinners for the following week. I write out 6 or 7 meals (no assigned days), then make my grocery list on the bottom half of the same paper. I cut the paper in half, the meal plan goes on the fridge, and the list goes in my purse. (after checking the fridge to make sure I don’t duplicate something). Meal planning helps out so much, no more “What shall we have… oo we don’t have the stuff for that, waa” moments. ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Meal prepping is great! Even if I do not fully ‘prep’ I like to have all the veggies cut up and ready to throw in a salad. Lately, I’ve been making breakfast sandwiches/ wraps and freezing them. I just take them to work and warm them up. Makes the morning much smoother.

  29. I absolutely loved this post and am inspired to copy the whole thing next week!

    Bit of an off-topic question for you Gina (sorry, didn’t know where else to put it!), but what protein powder(s) do you recommend for someone who is pregnant? Did you have to switch types and if so why?

  30. Jacqueline says:

    I spent maybe $35 on lunches for me and the BF this week: spaghetti with tomato sauce and sauteed mushrooms, zucchini, grilled asparagus, and Brussels sprouts. not super exciting… and I forgot the protein… but considering we work in education and get all of 15 minutes for lunch (on a good day), it works! ๐Ÿ™‚ fajitas/burritos/taco salad/general Mexicanish food is also a go-to for us.

  31. Gosh Gina, you’ve done it again! Great post; I always love your meal prep posts and get inspired to mix up my prep routine (and make it more efficient). Please keep these coming. Personally your meal ideas/recipes have their own board on my Pinterest account! Thanks for everything you do for all of us.

  32. Love this post! Thanks for sharing!
    Hugs,
    Love from http://www.trangscorner.com {a lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and food blog}

  33. My problem is I like relatively the same thing for lunch everyday. I hardly ever waiver.

  34. Love this series! I’m definitely going to make that salad (with black olives though I can’t get on the kalamata train.)

  35. so love this post. I do so much better with my eating when I meal prep then i fall off the wagon, Seeing your post inspires me again and gives me great ideas!

  36. Love this post, Gina! Simple and healthy — sometimes I look at meal plans that just seem so complicated with a bunch of random ingredients that is overwhelming for one person, but this looks perfect!

  37. Love, love, love this post! I am a huge meal planner and prepper, so I love seeing how everyone else does it. We shop at Aldi, and I can buy mostly organic for our family of 5 for under $100. it’s insane how much cheaper it is.

  38. Would you mind posting the full recipe for the casserole? I would love to make it but don’t know how many eggs you used and would appreciate that level of detail. Thanks!

    • I echo this question! That casserole looks amazing but, unless I’m missing something (which wouldn’t be unusual for me;)) I don’t know how many eggs to use? Also, would it be ok to use frozen broccoli instead of fresh? Would it change the cooking time or anything? Thanks for putting this post together; I can’t tell you how helpful they are. I also wanted tell you how much I love your blog and how amazing your family is. I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, but your blog has been one of the few I’ve kept reading for years (since the Valdosta days). Thanks for all the work you put in to it!

      • Fitnessista says:

        thank you so much for reading for so long! <3 i updated the description and hope that helps a little! i think the frozen broccoli would increase the cooking time, but not by much. maybe give it an extra 5 minutes and see how it's doing?
        xoxox

    • Fitnessista says:

      yes, sorry i forgot to include that! (i put 6 eggs in the ingredients but spaced it in the actual recipe)
      xoxo!

  39. I’ve been trying hard to prep my daytime eats. Last weekend I made a huge slow cooker sweet potato/quinoa chili recipe, and it’s been keeping me going for lunches this week! It’s also delicious, which helps. I also cut up grapefruits and put them in individual containers in the fridge for morning snacks, and each night cut up an apple for apple and PB at work the next day. When I don’t plan, I end up not knowing what to make! For suppers, I usually pick out a few recipes on Pinterest on the weekend and then go and get the ingredients, and then play it by ear that week because sometimes I just don’t feel like eating what I “planned” for a certain day, but this way I always know I have the stuff to make things when I get home for work. In some ways, meal prepping takes time, yes, but it also SAVES a ton of time during the week because I’m not staring into cupboards/the fridge wondering what to do!

    • Fitnessista says:

      exactly! i’d rather take a little time over the weekends to figure out my life than try to wing it. when that happens, liv has “football heads” (gnocchi with alfredo sauce) and i have an omelet haha

  40. Awesome post!! My husband and I were just talking about how our grocery bills have been way too high lately, but we’re also not using everything we buy before it goes bad, either. I definitely have some good inspiration from this post ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. I make a version of this salad nearly every week. 3 cucumbers + 2 red bell peppers + a bag of spinach (chopped up). To prepare my daily lunch, I usually add a tablespoon of a Bolthouse dressing (ranch or avocado), shredded chicken and pine nuts. Enough for several lunches!

  42. I love that you showcased TJ’s! I shop there every week, it’s my favorite grocery store!

  43. I LOVE posts like this! It’s very helpful for fellow moms. Totally doing this next week.

  44. Hi! Thanks so much for creating this! It’s so helpful and I’m actually using it for this week. I did notice that you forgot to add tomatoes to the ingredients list, unless I’m totally missing it. It may be helpful to add since I missed that and didn’t purchase those at the grocery store. Thanks again!

  45. Where on EARTH do you buy almond butter for $6 a jar?! At my local TJ’s it’s literally twice that.

    I enjoy posts like this. I feel like my fiance and I spent way too much on food sometimes, but I also prioritize organic, cage-free meats and organic veggies, and I’m not willing to compromise. Lately I’ve gotten over my fear of eating egg yolks, so I’ve been buying eggs instead of cartons of egg whites, and that has saved me a ton, embarasssingly.

  46. I am trying to do better about prepping for the week on the weekends. Love this post!

  47. So awesome! Thank you so much!

  48. I gotta comment on this salad. It’s amazing! I bought all the stuff yesterday, and made it last night so I’d have a new go-to-salad for lunches and dinners for a couple days. It’s soooo good and filling too. Thanks Gina!

  49. Hi Gina! For the egg casserole, what’s the approx. size of the baking dish you use?

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