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Mix & Match Meal Prep – 5 Recipes, 10 Healthy Meals

About the author

FitMenCook

My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is truly a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and enjoying adequate exercise. By experimenting in the kitchen and openly sharing my meals, I learned that healthy eating is hardly boring and that by making a few adjustments, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my personal fitness goals. Our bodies are built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym.

Over the past 7 years, I’ve started and stopped meal prepping more times than I can count.  Each time I was on a roll with meal prep, then suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, I’d just stop.   Work got too busy.  I got tired of the food.  I hated the clean up.  I suddenly didn’t have any time.  I had all the excuses – if you name one, I probably said it.

But really, when I stepped back to examine WHY I was failing in meal prep it was primarily due to one thing –  boredom or better stated, lack of variety.  I know this is pretty hard to believe because I preach “variety is key” to all my followers.  But here’s the thing – I actually DID have variety…it was just a lot more time consuming to manage it.

See – I’d make several different complete meals such as casseroles, one-skillet recipes, or a 3-part dish (protein, carb, fat). The thing with these types of meals is that once you spend time making that ONE dish, well, that’s all you have.  You have to make  several of these complete meals just to have variety during the week.  With a growing busy schedule and constantly experimenting in the kitchen, that type of prep just wasn’t as doable.  And after reading thousands of comments and messages from followers RE meal prep, I realized others were struggling with the same thing.

So I switched it up!

Instead of complete meals, I  focused on individual items  or “side items” that I could quickly prepare and then pair with other foods to create meals.  This is what I call “mix and match” meal prep.

Here’s the premise: prep several side (smaller) items + pair foods together to create a meal + (optional) add sauces or other simple ingredients to complete the meal.

One of the biggest benefits of this, besides the variety, is that you may likely end up cutting down on your overall time in the kitchen.

Here are the guidelines

  1. Choose 1 or 2 protein sources (animal or plant-based)
  2. Choose a complex carbohydrate OR a low-carb option such as cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles
  3. Load up on your favorite veggies

Mix and Match Meal Prep

Here are the 5 foods (recipes) I prepped in under  1 hour:

  1. Chicken breast
  2. Chickpeas
  3. Roasted Veggies (onion, zucchini, bell pepper, sweet potato, yellow squash)
  4. Quinoa
  5. Braised (or wilted) shredded kale

 

Couple of quick notes:

  • Remember to add common items from your pantry, fridge and freezer to easily give these meals a flavor makeover.
  • Need more calories? Consider adding avocado, raw or roasted nuts or even an isolate (or lean plant-based) protein shake to the meals.
  • Calorie-conscious sauces, salsas and dressings can add a LOT of flavor to meals so ENJOY!

 

MEAL COMBO 1

Mix and Match Meal Prep

  • Quinoa
  • Adds
    • Your portion of scrambled eggs or egg whites
    • chopped tomato
    • green onion
    • sea salt & pepper

 

MEAL COMBO 2

Mix and Match Meal Prep

  • Quinoa
  • Adds
    • fresh blueberries (or choice of berry)
    • dried cherries
    • almonds (raw or roasted)
    • almond milk

 

MEAL COMBO 3

Mix and Match Meal Prep

  • Quinoa
  • Roasted Veggies
  • Grilled chicken

 

MEAL COMBO 4

Mix and Match Meal Prep

  • Quinoa
  • Roasted Veggies
  • Spicy chickpeas
  • Adds
    • tahini

 

MEAL COMBO 5

Mix and Match Meal Prep

  • Braised kale
  • spicy chickpeas
  • Adds
    • avocado
    • lemon

 

MEAL COMBO 6

Mix and Match Meal Prep

  • Grilled chicken
  • roasted veggies

 

MEAL COMBO 7

Mix and Match Meal Prep

  • Kale
  • roasted veggies
  • chicken
  • homemade peanut sauce (1 1/2 tablespoon raw peanut butter, 1 tablespoon lite soy sauce, 1 tablespoon water, Sriracha to taste)

 

MEAL COMBO 8

Mix and Match Meal Prep

  • Quinoa
  • Braised kale
  • spicy chickpeas
  • Adds
    • low calorie Italian dressing (or your favorite vinaigrette)
    • lemon

 

MEAL COMBOS 9 & 10

Mix and Match Meal Prep

  • Chicken OR chickpeas
  • Braised kale
  • Adds
    • Avocado
    • Bell pepper
    • lemon

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Quick Herb Roasted Veggies

Ingredients

Mix and Match Meal Prep

Ingredients for 5 servings

  • 1 large sweet potato (cut into chunks)
  • 1 red onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into chunks
  • 1 (red) bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme (or your favorite herb)
  • pinch of sea salt & pepper
Steps
  1. Set oven to 400F.
  2. Place all the veggies in a large mixing bowl.  Add oil and seasonings.  Toss to coat.
  3. Place the veggies on a large baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  4. Roast in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes at 400F.

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Quick Grilled Chicken Breast

Ingredients

Mix and Match Meal Prep

Ingredients for 5 servings

  • 1 1/2 lb chicken breasts, raw
  • Seasonings
    • 2 teaspoons cumin
    • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
    • pinch of sea salt & pepper
Steps
  1. Set oven to 400F.
  2. Season chicken breasts.
  3. Set a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat.  Once hot, spray it with a little olive oil, then add the chicken breasts.  Sear on each side for 3 minutes, then bake in the oven for 7 – 10 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink and is cooked through.
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Quick Spicy Chickpeas

Ingredients

Mix and Match Meal Prep

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 cans (30oz) chickpeas, drained
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
Steps
  1. Set a nonstick skillet on medium heat.  Once hot, add oil and garlic.  Flavor the oil for about 1 to 2 minutes, then increase the heat to medium-high.
  2. Add the chickpeas.  While they sear in the skillet, add the smoked paprika.  Shake the skillet to coat the chickpeas, then add lemon and a pinch of sea salt & pepper. The chickpeas are finished when they have a light sear on the outside.
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Quick Braised Kale

Ingredients

Mix and Match Meal Prep

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 3 bundles kale leaves (or ~6 cups), shredded or thinly chopped
  • spray olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
Steps
  1. Set a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat.  Once hot, spray with olive oil then toss the shredded kale. Quickly stir so it doesn’t burn, then pour in the water to create steam and continue stirring.
  2. Once the kale has turned vibrant green, about 2 minutes, then remove the kale from the skillet and season to taste with a pinch of sea salt & pepper.
Calories
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Fat
Carbs
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Fiber
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About the author

FitMenCook

My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is truly a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and enjoying adequate exercise. By experimenting in the kitchen and openly sharing my meals, I learned that healthy eating is hardly boring and that by making a few adjustments, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my personal fitness goals. Our bodies are built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym.