Back to School Meal Prep from Chelsea’s Messy Apron
Author and recipe developer, Chelsea Lord of Chelsea's Messy Apron dishes on how to make the most of your meal prep!
Although we’ve still got a good amount of summer left, a lot of you are gearing up for “back to school time.” Whether that means attending school yourself or getting your kiddos ready, it tends to be a busy time! The toddler is starting up his second year of preschool and it feels like there are no short of a hundred things I’ve got to do.
So the last thing we all need is meals that complicate things! And today I’m bringing you a deliciously tasty AND nutritious dinner that is super convenient and easy to make. I’ve also got tips for how you can prepare this salad ahead of time and even use it as a meal prep!
I’ve been doing quite a few salads as a sort of “meal prep” lately and we’ve been loving them for quick lunches.
So, here’s how I meal prep a salad:
- Grab a large plastic container of your favorite lettuce: spinach, mixed greens, arugula, etc.
- Prep the “protein” for the salad.
- For this salad that’s the chicken and I’ll cook 4-5 breasts at once. Slice them up and put them in their own tupperware container. For other proteins that work well in this salad: make a bunch of hardboiled eggs and store them (peeled for even quicker access) in the fridge, beans (drained, washed, in tupperware), ham/turkey — diced and store in the fridge.
- Prep the “toppings” for the salad.
- For this salad I’ve got dried Montmorency tart cherries (my FAVE salad topping), candied walnuts, apples and goat cheese. Tart cherries have the perfect texture and flavor to go along with all these other ingredients. This superfruit is known for its unique nutrient profile and sweet-tart flavor. Not a whole lot of prep for the cherries or goat cheese, so I will just set them in the fridge right with the protein and salad. The idea is easy access so you can pull it all out at once and quickly assemble the salad.
- The candied walnuts do take a minute of prep, but if you’re making enough salads for the entire week, it’s well worth the effort. I just store the candied walnuts in a plastic bag and add them to the salad as I’m assembling. For this same recipe you can switch out pecans if you’d prefer that!
- The last topping is sliced apples. I buy enough apples for the week and just slice them up the day I make the salad to keep them super fresh. If you make the salad ahead of time for the afternoon, squeeze on some lemon juice and it will still be good!
- Make extra dressing: The quantities for the dressing in the recipe make enough for just the salad ingredients listed. If you want to do a meal prep with the dressing, you simply multiply the recipe by how many times (and servings) you want the salad. I store the dressing in a mason jar in the fridge and it keeps for the week. Just shake it up and pour it on!
You’ll basically have to assemble the salad each day, but by doing the majority of the prep in one day, the salads each day come together super quickly. I’m talking less than 5 minutes! It’s a great way to keep on track and have a super healthy, but also hearty and filling lunch every day of the week!
I mentioned one of the toppings being tart cherries and they are seriously one of my all-time favorite salad toppings.
Whether you prep this salad for an entire week of meals or just enjoy it for a dinner (or even a side), I hope you love it!