A 29-year-old mum who lost 21 kilograms through meal prepping has revealed how she prepared a week’s worth of food for her family of four for only $170.
Kaitie Purssell, from Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, has been dubbed the ‘queen of meal prepping’ thanks to her impressive efforts in the kitchen, and she used her skills to lose weight when she needed to after giving birth.
The budget grocery buys included food for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as healthy homemade snacks.
‘Meal prep is all about saving time and money,’ Kaitie told the Australian weight loss program, the Healthy Mummy.
By being organised and meal prepping once a week, she said there are ‘no excuses’ for skipping meals, reaching for unhealthy snacks or grabbing takeaway food.
Prior to buying groceries, Kaitie checked all the produce she had in her pantry, fridge and freezer to reduce the cost as much as possible.
While the meal prep took a whole day to complete, she made eight serves of stovetop lasagne, six serves of honey soy chicken for salad, 12 serves of sausage and veggie pasta bake as well as eight serves of cheesy chicken meatloaf and ‘healthy’ chicken nuggets.
But she didn’t stop there, as she also made lamb, sticky Asian-style chicken meatballs, chicken parmigiana and fried rice with spring onion and corn.
The snacks included 12 serves of chocolate rice crisps, 18 serves of ‘healthy’ chocolate coconut brownies 12 serves of strawberry cheesecake ice blocks and 18 serves of puff pizza bites.
For after school snacks, she also prepared chocolate chip banana bread, Spring onion dip and vegetable sticks.
All the food was placed into portion-sized meal prep containers and stored away.
How to make Kaitie’s Mexican lasagne
400g premium beef mince
410g can of salt reduced red kidney beans drained and rinsed well
Two medium carrots grated
Two medium onions finely diced
One red capsicum finely chopped
400g can salt reduced diced tomatoes
35g sachet salt reduced taco seasoning
Five wholegrain wraps/tortillas
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese grated
1. Preheat your oven to 180C.
2. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat.
3. Sauté onion for a couple of minutes, then add one tbsp water (this takes away the need for any added oil) and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, and water has evaporated.
4. Increase the heat to high and add the mince.
5. Cook, stirring, until there are no lumps and mince is brown.
6. Add grated carrot, chopped capsicum, red kidney beans, diced tomatoes and taco seasoning. Stir and then simmer for 10-15 minutes until mixture has thickened.
7. Lightly spray an oven safe dish with cooking spray.
8. Layer the dish with 2 x tortillas, then half of the meat mixture, 1 x tortilla, the remaining meat mixture, 2 more tortillas, then sour cream. Sprinkle the cheese over the top.
9. Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown.
Source: Healthy Mummy
The 29-year-old said the key to meal prepping is to prepare the food, keep the plan simple and dedicate one day of the week for it.
Gallery: 33 Amazing Gluten-Free Recipes to Serve the Whole Family (Better Homes and Gardens)
‘If Sunday doesn’t work for you find a time that does!’ she said.
‘I often spend less than an hour in the kitchen preparing a whole week of food for my family.
‘It doesn’t have to be hard or take all day!’
How to make Kaitie’s Mexican sweet potato
1 small sweet potato
1tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 spring onion, chopped
1/2 clove garlic, minced
60g dinner red kidney beans
1/4 cup corn kernels, fresh or tinned
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 medium avocado, diced
1. Drain and rinse the beans.
2. Pierce holes in the sweet potato with a fork or skewer. Place in a microwave steamer, with a small amount of water and microwave on high for 7-10 minutes (the time will depend on. microwave and size of sweet potato), or until the sweet potato is lightly tender.
3. Set the sweet potato aside to cool slightly. Once cool to touch, cut in half lengthways and scoop pit the flesh so there is only a thin layer of flesh remaining lining the edges. Set aside.
4. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender. Add beans, corn and chilli powder and cook until warmed through. Add sweet potato flesh and stir through.
5. Divide bean mixture into each sweet potato, approximately 160g, then use a larger one and serve only had per person, rather than a whole sweet potato per serve.
Source: Healthy Mummy
The busy working mum also said she always thinks it’s easier to cook in bulk and freeze at least one portion.
‘It’s so much cheaper to make most things from scratch, it doesn’t take much longer and you are cutting out a lot of sugar and other nasties by doing so,’ Kaitie said.
Kaitie has shed an impressive 21 kilograms with meal prepping and said shopping online is another one of her invaluable tips to stop you from over-shopping.
‘Always get the ingredients for and make double, triple or quadruple amounts of the dinner you’re making each night and freeze it,’ she said.
‘That’s how I started. If I was making one banana bread, I’d make two, cut one up and freeze it.’
How to make Kaitie’s beef nachos
4 wholemeal tortillas
1 can diced tomatoes 200g
1 cup red and green capsicum diced
1 cup sweet corn
1 cup salt reduced refried beans
1/2 cup grated reduced fat cheese
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp low fat Greek yoghurt
1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Cut tortillas into triangles, spread onto two baking trays and place in the oven.
3. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until golden then remove and set aside.
4. In a small saucepan, combine tomatoes, capsicum, corn, paprika and beans.
5. Stir over a medium heat until ingredients begin to meld together.
6. Separate tortilla chips into four bowls, top with bean mixture then sprinkle over cheese.
7. Place under a hot grill for 5 minutes or until cheese melts.
8. Top with avocado and Greek yoghurt to taste.
Source: Healthy Mummy
If you want to make sure your meal prep is cheap, Kaitie said one of the best things you can do is bulk up all your mince dishes with lentils and grated vegetables.
She also freezes leftover ingredients – from curry paste and tomato paste to pasta and liquid stock.
‘Pop them in ice cube trays and transfer into labeled ziplock bags for the freezer to reduce wastage,’ she said.
Finally, she said you should always check supermarket catalogues for weekly specials.
‘Meal plan according to the sales and then shop online so you can see your total before you check out,’ Kaitie said.
All recipes come from the Healthy Mummy app.