Culinary Inspiration

The fall is here, which means slower mornings and relaxed evenings have come to an end. Save yourself some sanity by meal prepping. Planning meals in advance can save money, time, and energy, and it doesn’t have to be overly complicated or take hours to complete! Settling back into a weekday routine can be stressful. But with meal prepping, you won’t have to throw together a lunch in the morning or scramble for a dinner plan after a jam-packed day.

Breakfast

We love a recipe where the steps are simply to add ingredients together and mix. That’s why this Chunky Monkey Overnight Oats recipe is one of our favorite breakfast solutions for simplifying your morning! The decadent combination of oats, California walnuts, chocolate chips, vanilla and milk meld together overnight. Top with fresh fruit in the morning for a flavorful breakfast on-the-go!

Snacks

A staple for any meal prepping pro, bento boxes are a great way to organize a balanced meal or snack ahead of time. For a whimsical, kid-friendly snack, try Cinnamon Apples with Yogurt and Walnut Graham Dipper. Dunk the apples in the yogurt and then into a crunchy walnut graham topping for a treat that’s equal parts fun and tasty! Since the bento box keeps all of the ingredients separate, you can prep it the night before to grab-and-go in the morning, or for an after school snack. For an ultra versatile make-ahead snack, whip up a big batch of Toasted Walnut Hummus to keep in the fridge. Add it to a bento box lunch for dipping veggies, apples, or pita chips, or have it ready for the kids to dive into when they come home from school! It can be part of many lunch and dinner dishes for a time-saver all week long.

Lunch

Like our simple overnight oats, this easy-to-assemble Asian Walnut Noodle Jar features a grab-and-go prep vessel. That means fewer dishes, which is always a plus! A savory combination of California walnuts, bok choy, ginger, and sliced green onions gives you a hot and fresh soup at your desk. Just add water and your lunch is served.
Another way to maximize your meal-prepping time and efforts is to create a base that can be used in multiple ways, like tuna salad. You can make a larger serving at the beginning of the week and make it into a Tuna Salad Sandwich with Apples and Walnuts for the kids’ lunch; or top it on a bed of lettuce in a to-go container for a quick salad to take to work; or scoop it onto crackers for an afternoon snack!

One Pot, Lots of Servings

Slow cookers are the key to many busy people’s dinnertime success. And it’s easy to see why! You can’t go wrong with a one-pot cooking method that generates big portions to feed the whole family or allow you to enjoy throughout the week. One slow cooker recipe we love is this Asian Pulled Chicken. Create a crunchy slaw from California walnuts and cabbage to go with it, or pile both on buns for sliders at dinner, or place a scoop on lettuce for a lower carb salad option. As the weather starts to cool, consider making a batch of chili as part of your weekly meal prep rotation. This California Walnut Firehouse Chili is full of plant-based proteins and just the right amount of spice, and is simple and easy to prepare. You can pack any leftovers for lunch the next day, making it a two-for-one meal!

Meal prep means grab-and-go, freeing up your time to concentrate on other things. You don’t need to devote an entire Sunday to your week’s worth of meals. Instead, look at our easy-to-follow simple recipes and discover just how quick meal prepping for the week can be. When you remove the stress of daily food choices, you have more time to focus on the other important things in life.

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