Simple, Healthy, Delicious Food Prep Without Recipes

Speedy Paleo Food Prep Without Sacrificing Flavor!

In our modern world, we’re surrounded with cheap, tasty, inexpensive food.  Sadly, most of this food is low quality and largely devoid of nutrition. 

This puts us in a bit of a conundrum. 

Do we continue eating out or bringing home convenience foods and give up feeling how we want to feel (energy, body composition, etc.)? 


Do we have to become a personal chef and sacrifice all of our free moments on the altar of “healthy living”?

As far as I’m concerned, neither of these are viable options.  I don’t feel good when I eat out very often AND I’m not interested in making an elaborate meal every evening.

My middle ground, sanity-saving solution:

Twice-weekly food prep

This differs from what you typically think of as “meal prep” with all the little containers of pre-portioned meals. 

I refer to my style of food prep as “Chipotle-style food prep”. 

Just like going through the line at Chipotle, this method allows each family member (we have 4 kids between us ranging in age from 10 to 20) to create the kind of meal they enjoy. Some will have more carbs, some less. Some will have spicy condiments added, some won’t.

The great news: We don’t need complicated recipes or exotic ingredients to pull this off!

On the menu:

  • Taco meat with grass fed ground beef and organic taco seasoning

  • Grilled teriyaki chicken tenders

  • Baked spaghetti squash

  • Basmati rice *

  • Purple potato medallions

  • Salad

*We buy organic cauliflower rice in bulk from Costco so I will be using that instead of the basmati rice which I make for my husband and kids.

Taco Meat:

I cooked 3 pounds of grass fed burger in a large skillet, drained it, and added a packet of organic taco seasoning.Teriyaki Chicken Tenders:

I marinated these in gluten free teriyaki sauce for 2 hours in a glass container then grilled them.  We eat these on salad, in a burrito bowl, or simply dipped in japaleno mustard. 

Teriyaki Chicken Tenders:

I marinated these in gluten free teriyaki sauce for 2 hours in a glass container then grilled them.  We eat these on salad, in a burrito bowl, or simply dipped in japaleno mustard. 

Basmati Rice:

I use organic rice because of arsenic levels found in conventional rice, particularly brown rice. I add 2 tbsp of grass fed butter to the water before boiling. To learn more about arsenic in rice, check out this article.

Spaghetti Squash:

The mild flavor and noodle-like texture of this squash makes it a wonderful base for just about any meat or vegetable you pair it with.  I like it heated up with just a dab of coconut oil and sea salt. 

To prepare: Cut in half, scrape out seeds, turn upside down in a casserole dish, add 1.5 c filtered water, and bake for +/1 one hour at 350 degrees.  You’ll know it’s done when the top dents easily when you push on it with a spatula. Remove from oven, carefully turn over each half, let cool completely (it’s hot!), and then scrape out the “noodles” all the way to the shell.

Purple Potatoes:

I usually use some version of sweet potato but these were on sale at Natural Grocers (all organic produce, hurrah!) so I got them. 

To prepare: Peel, cut into ½ inch medallions, place in a mixing bowl, drizzle ¼ cup coconut oil, and mix.  Place medallions on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, flipping once halfway through baking. 


I use hearty greens such as spinach, kale, or arugula.  (Baby greens, romaine, and butter lettuce don’t seem to hold up as well in the fridge so I reserve those for immediate use.)

This week, I used: Organic Power Greens which I ran through with kitchen shears to reduce leaves to bite sized pieces (personal preference).  I added daikon radish (crisp and spicy), diced carrots, chopped fresh parsley, and diced strawberries.  I use all organic ingredients for the reasons I probably don’t need to go into here.

These are ingredients that will hold up well for a few days in the fridge.  I’ll add things like walnuts, chopped bacon, avocado, or dressing when eating or serving.

Food Prep Q&A

Q: How long did all of this take?

A: I like to wash dishes as I go so, start to finish, this cooking session took 2.5 hours.  It normally takes me 1.5 to 2 hours but, since I was photographing each step, it took a bit longer this time.  The mid week food prep session is typically smaller and less time-consuming.  We tend to rely more on frozen veggies (we thaw and roast them) for the remainder of the week so Wednesday is more about meat than anything else. 

Q: What about breakfast?

A: Adam and the kids like eggs and bacon or sausage for breakfast so we usually cook up a batch of breakfast meat once per week and one of us makes eggs in the morning.  I prefer a green protein smoothie most mornings which is simple, nutritious, and satisfying.

Q: How do you not go crazy doing this every week? 

A: This way of eating has allowed my husband and I to create and maintain the health and body composition that we want without using willpower and without a ton of exercise.  In a nutshell, it makes us feel good and we genuinely enjoy our meals.  Because we have this incentive, we’ve built a habit around cooking so that it doesn’t feel “extra” anymore.  It took time and tweaking to get here but it honestly doesn’t feel like a thing.  In addition, we do things to make it more enjoyable.  For this cooking session, I set up my laptop on the counter and binge watched The Great British Baking Show. The helped the time whiz by!

Q: Do I (Lisa) do all the cooking for the household?

A: I used“I” in this post which is deceiving since Adam and I share cooking and other household duties.  Some weeks he does a little more, some weeks I do. It works well for us. :)

Q: How do you make your meals “come together” and taste good?

A: We have lots of “extras” to help pull meals together. 

These include things like:

  • Fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, chives, etc.)

  • Primal Kitchen dressings (some are great on meat and veggies as well as salad)

  • Fresh salsa

  • Srirarcha

  • Jalapeno mustard

Q: Will this method work for anyone?

A: Some of my clients prefer to cook each evening, some prefer to get some of their meals from a Paleo meal service, and some do a mix of everything.  We each have to figure out what works best for us and our family; there is no single “best” method.  I think it can be helpful to know that the range of options for healthy eating are far more diverse than convenience foods vs. being reenacting The Little House on the Prairie! ;)

If you find this helpful, I’d be honored if you would share it.

Help me spread the word that eating healthy is possible, even for us mere mortals! ;)