And just like that we are more than one full week into September. Our stunning river valley has begun to fade from deep green to yellow and orange, and as much as I hate to admit it… Fall is pretty darn beautiful. That being said I’d still be just fine with three more months of summer!
But whether I am ready or not the new season is here and everyone is getting back into the swing of things. While I don’t have a child going “back-to-school”, we are starting part-time daycare with Hemsley and my work naturally picks up this time of year, so as a family we are essentially getting back into more of a structured routine. I know many of you are too because when I did a recent poll on my Instagram Stories about what your challenges are with the fall season, the most common responses had to do with meal prepping, planning, and adjusting to new September schedules.
Lucky, lucky my post today is here to give you a helping hand in the meal prep department!
Not only are most of us getting back into routines, we are also looking for heartier, warm, filling recipes as the weather is cooling off and we are craving all things cozy. These five healthy, and super easy fall-friendly meal prep recipes are perfect for the season and can be whipped up within a few hours on a weekend afternoon or evening. One recipe needs a little more time in the slow cooker, but it’s a set-it-and-forget-it type that you can make while preparing the rest of the recipes (see exactly what order I prepped these recipes in Meal Prep Tip 3).
For this post I made all five recipes in around 2.5 hours! I did get a little help from my hubby but we also had a toddler running around our feet so I think it evens out!
Meal Prep Tip 1: If you feel like you don’t have the time to meal prep, you’d be surprised how little time it actually takes! Choose recipes that can be made in a slow cooker and essentially cook themselves and others that contain 10-or-less ingredients and take only 30-minutes-or-less to prepare. Order your groceries online if possible through services like “click and collect” which many grocery stores offer, and then carve out a 2-3 hr time slot on a weekend to get it done. See if you can enlist help from a spouse, friend, or family member to save even more time! In the long run you’ll save way more time by not having to prep each meal individually and go back and forth to the store to pick up groceries throughout the week.
What makes these five meal prep recipes ideal is that they hit all the marks for any good meal-prep recipe:
- Can be made in batches
- Last in the fridge for 4-5 days
- Holds flavour and texture (won’t wilt, go mushy, or stink after a couple days…ie. lettuce, fish)
- Not just lunch or dinner (meal prep recipes can also be for breakfast or snacks which is especially helpful for those who skip breakfast or end up eating crappy snacks mid-day!)
Meal Prep Tip 2: If you are looking to meal prep and are compiling recipes, always look for recipes that meet the points above, otherwise you could be disappointed as after a couple days your recipe might not hold up and will be tossed rather than enjoyed.
Here are my five meal prep favourites from the NITK blog archives that made the cut! (side note: when you go to these links please excuse some of my very old cringe-worthy photography…at least I’ve improved over the years?!)
No-Bean Sweet Potato, Kale & Turkey Chili // This chili is warm, comforting, loaded with fibre, protein, minerals, and vitamins, and perfect for any day of the week during the fall or winter months. It’s a warm-you-to-the-bone recipe, and as a twist the chili contains no beans which is a nice change from the ordinary. Double the recipe to get multiple servings and even some extra for the freezer!
Apple Pie Oatmeal // All you need is 6 ingredients for this flavourful, filling, delicious oatmeal that’s packed with fibre and tastes amazing topped with almond butter, maple syrup and sliced banana. The recipe makes up to five servings but you can double it if you are feeding several hungry mouths!
Sweet & Salty Crockpot Cashew Chicken // While this is a crockpot meal it actually only takes 1-2 hours to make, so while this one is cooking you can easily whip up a few more recipes for the week. The sauce is perfectly sweet and salty, coats the tender chicken and crunchy cashews and pairs perfectly with a side of rice and veggies of choice!
Cinnamon Spiced Paleo Pancakes // For this recipe I omitted the toppings and just made a batch of the spiced pancakes which are filling, tasty, and packed with fall flavours. The pancakes freeze great, last up to 4 days in the fridge and can be paired with a side of fruit, hard boiled eggs, or nuts for a filling breakfast! Double or triple the recipe to make extra servings.
Vegan Pumpkin Pie Protein Bars // Ok, so you may be thinking…but those are “balls” not “bars” in the photo?! I’m being a bit of a sneak and actually photographed Pumpkin Pie Energy Balls that are coming to the blog NEXT WEEK! These are so good and I can’t wait to share the recipe but for now, as part of this post, I’m sending you over to the recipe for my vegan pumpkin pie protein bars which are also a perfect meal prep option for healthy snacking. Make these or wait until next week and add the energy balls to your meal prep list, either way you’ll be a happy camper, I promise.
Meal Prep 3: When meal prepping have all of the ingredients you’ll need ready to go and your recipes printed out, if necessary. Then begin with one or two set-it-and-forget-it recipes and start preparing those first. Once they are in the process of cooking, prepare another one to two easy, quick recipes. For the meal prep I did for this post, I made the crockpot chicken first(1), then while it was cooking I prepped the chili(2), pancakes(3), and energy balls(4), and once the crockpot chicken was finished, I cleaned the slow cooker, and added in the apple pie oatmeal(5) ingredients then left it to cook!
Whether you are a meal prep pro or a total beginner, these recipes are definitely worth adding to your routine this fall. Let me know which ones you try and be sure to tag me on social media with your pictures, I love seeing your NITK creations and don’t forget to pin the photo below to share this post with others and save it for later!
Have a wonderful Sunday and happy prepping!
Christal // NITK