Summer Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep to Beat the Heat in Under an Hour

Today we’re doing anti-inflammatory meal prep for SUMMER that balances blood sugar, fights inflammation, and packs in nutrients from fresh seasonal produce.

I really love to eat seasonally, I think mother nature provides us with specific nutrients we need for each season, but also—it costs less to buy produce that’s in season.

summer anti inflammatory meal prep plan guide gluten free sugar free

Now I love to prep ingredients to be able to throw together, but I also know that weeks are CRAZY so it’s also important to have recipes that you’ve prepped for so you have as little as possible to think about during the week.

That being said—let me know in the comments if you like doing meal prep with actual recipes—or if you like prepping ingredients to assemble meals and snacks as you see fit throughout the week.

So this summer meal prep does both of those things – And I’ve created a PDF with instructions and links to the recipes so you can do this meal prep easily at home. 👇

Get the (free) Summer Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep Guide!

summer anti inflammatory meal plan

Beat the summer heat with this 1-week gluten-free, sugar-free meal plan and prep guide! Featuring delicious anti-inflammatory recipes from fresh summer produce!

So today we’re meal prepping :

  • Cherry Almond Smoothies
  • A batch of Low Carb Blueberry  Scones

And our summer anti-inflammatory dinners we’re prepping vegetables and sauces for this week are:

  • Grilled salmon with sauteed green beans
  • Paleo Chicken Fajita bowls
  • Low Carb chicken and eggplant Parmesan casserole
  • Pesto chicken and zucchini and squash medley
Grilled Salmon with Sauteed Green Beans

Grilled Salmon with Sauteed Green Beans

Low Carb Eggplant Parmesan Casserole

Low Carb Eggplant Parmesan Casserole

Paleo Chicken Fajita Bowls

Paleo Chicken Fajita Bowls

Pesto Chicken with Zucchini and Squash Medley

Pesto Chicken with Zucchini and Squash Medley

So let’s get started prepping!

Summer anti-inflammatory meal prep steps

woman unpackaging summer vegetables on a countertop

Pre-step 1: Get out your prep foods and supplies, and wash everything

So to get started I get all that produce out. I get out my cutting board, my good knives, and a pan to roast the veggies on.

Then I go ahead and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and wash all the veggies really well.

placing a sil-mat on a sheet pan with summer vegetables on a counter top

Some people like to use a Sil match to roast veggies on because stuff doesn’t stick, but I found it really hard to find one of these that fits my pan perfectly.

I do still use this for things that I bake that won’t leak into the oven, but for roasting veggies I found a secret kitchen tool that I accidentally stumbled onto.

It’s a barbecue grill mat and I’m telling you nothing sticks to this! They usually come in a pack rolled up all nice in a box (linked below).

placing a grill mat onto a sheet pan with summer vegetables on a countertop

And what I do is actually cut them to fit my pans that have lips so that they fit perfectly. And I’ve done this with baking sheets and I’ve also done this with CorningWare dishes.

(Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link, so if you decide to purchase this product, I made a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra charge to you.)

BBQ Grill Mats

BBQ Grill Mats

>>> Check out ALL my Best Kitchen Tools for Meal Prep HERE!

Now for this summer meal prep session, I’ve got zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, green beans, bell peppers, and onions.

summer vegetables on a cutting board and counter top

Step 1: Chop

Once I make sure that everything’s been washed, I get started chopping.

So the way you want to chop veggies when you’re roasting them for meal prep like this is to try and cut them all around the same size. This just ensures that all those vegetable chunks cook at about the same rate.

Squash and zucchini

For the squash and zucchini, I just slice them in half lengthwise and then just chop slices all the way down.

sliced eggplant on a cutting board

Eggplant

Eggplants are tricky for some because they are part of the food family called nightshades. Nightshades cause inflammation in some people, but this isn’t a guarantee. Research has shown that nightshades causing inflammation is highly personal to each individual and any conditions they have, and the best way to know if you personally react is to do an elimination diet.

I like eggplants because they’re pretty filling but they have a soft texture without being mushy with liquid. Eggplant slices are really great for eggplant parmigiana, so it may help to slice it if you’d like to use it that way.

I’ve been told by an Italian chef before that they sometimes do that and leave the skin on to help the eggplant slice stay intact during cooking.

But I also like to peel mine and cut it into those kind of half-slices or half-moon slices to roast as well. One thing I’ve learned through the years about eggplant is that you may need to switch your peeling tool depending on the thickness of the skin.

For safety’s sake use a much smaller paring knife to get the eggplant skin off.

peppers and onions on a sheet pan

Bell peppers and onions

Then I moved on to my peppers and onions. For bell peppers, I usually will cut off the top and then I’ll work the knife around the insides to pull out that seed pod.

Then I’ll turn it upside down and give it a tap to get all those seeds out and then flip it upside down to cut it into slices. I did the same thing with my green, red, and orange bell peppers.

Then when those were done I peeled the skin of my onion. And then I cut the rest of it into larger slices to roast with the bell peppers.

These all get spread out onto a lined sheet pan as well.

Seasoning

Once I’ve got enough veggies to fill a pan I place all the chunks in sections.

The easiest way to prep roasted veggies–especially when you have recipes from different cuisines–is to do just the basic seasoning of:

  1. oil,
  2. salt,
  3. pepper,
  4. and garlic powder if you want

I used avocado oil because it has good monounsaturated fats, which is great for pulling down inflammation, and it also has a high smoke point. You can use the mister if you want a lighter coating of oil rather than it being drizzled.

Step 2A: Roast

Then everything’s ready and goes into the oven. We have a double oven so I actually take full advantage of that on days like this when I’ve got several pans to cook all at the same time.

I’ll just leave the light on in there so I can check in case something may need to come out a little earlier.

roasted summer vegetables on a baking sheet

The general time that I cook these summer vegetables is about 30 minutes.

While those are cooking, I’m gonna take advantage of that time in the oven and chop anything else, mix up my batter for the blueberry scones, and then assemble my marinades and sauces.

Other veggies that don’t get cooked

The last thing in this session that I did was chop green beans. I do like roasted green beans, but we’re having Grilled Salmon with Sauteed Green Beans for one of our meals this week.

I love sauteing green beans during the summer because the fresh ones taste really great when they still have a bit of crunch to them.

cutting green beans on a cutting board

So the green beans did not get roasted but they did get put into a storage container in the fridge.

Step 2B: Bake

And while everything is still roasting, we’re gonna mix our scone batter.

I want to go ahead and mix my batter for the Low-Carb Blueberry Scones, because as soon as the roasted veggies come out of the oven, the scones go in.

We start out mixing the dry ingredients, mix in all the wet ingredients, and then combine it really well. Then pour the batter onto a pan lined with parchment and shape it into a circle.

Chopping fruit

The summer fruits we’re using this week are blueberries, cherries, and limes.

The lime just needs to be sliced and juiced which takes no time, so I’m gonna leave that till the night I need it.

And I’m using frozen tart cherries, but if you’re using fresh, you’ll need to wash them, take the stems off, and pit the cherries to get the seed out. Then you’ll want to freeze them in a baggie until you need them for your smoothies because you want them to be nice and frozen.

So really the only prep for fruit is the cherries if you need to do that.

Chopping herbs

And then moved on to the herbs. This week I need cilantro and basil.

So I’m just gonna take the amount needed from the recipes and pull it from the stems.

herbs on a cutting board

Both of these recipes require the blender, so there’s really no need to go all out chopping these herbs unless your blender has a hard time pulling larger leaves like that down while it’s blending.

Veggies out | Scones in

By this time the veggies should be done in the oven, so we’ll pull the roasted veggies out of the oven to let them cool, and then the low carb blueberry scones go in at 350 F for 30 min.

Step 3: Assemble

Now that everything’s chopped and ready, and I’m still waiting on the scones to finish baking, I can start assembling prep packs and containers for stuff that will go in the fridge until the night or day I need it.

Smoothie packs

So let’s start with the Cherry Almond Smoothie packs. I’m making 2 of these for the week, and we just throw all the ingredients into a baggie that’s labeled.

These little handy things I’m using are called Baggie Stands, and I’m telling you—this makes it SO much easier to use baggies for storage when you have anything liquid, because if it tips at all—you’ve got liquid all over the counter if you don’t use these things.

That does NOT happen with these baggie stands.

You can grab them here: 👇

Baggie Stand Holders

Baggie Stand Holders

>>> Check out ALL my Best Kitchen Tools for Meal Prep HERE!

This recipe also includes a few ice cubes, but we hold off on those until the day we make them.

You can write instructions for the ice on the baggie too if you want. And then once those are made, they go in the fridge.

Marinades, dips, dressings

Next we’ll mix the marinades, dips, and dressings.

Fresh Cilantro Lime Dressing

The Cilantro Lime Dressing is gonna go on our Paleo Fajita Chicken Bowls and can also be used for dressing on salads, so you can double or triple this recipe if you want.

cilantro lime dressing with an avocado and lime

The ingredients just go all in the blender, blend it on high, and pour it into a container to seal and store in the fridge.

Homemade Low-Carb Marinara

Nex is our Homemade Low Carb Marinara for the Low-Carb Eggplant Parmesan Casserole. Now if you can find no-sugar added marinara in the store, it may be easier for you to just buy it made already. If you can’t, then this recipe is great.

And as long as you can find crushed tomatoes, you don’t even need to blend it if you don’t want to.

low carb marinara in a jar

Simply pour the ingredients into a saucepan, let it cook about 10-15 minutes, then when it’s cooled, store it in a jar in the fridge.

Fresh Easy Pesto

And last is our Easy Pesto—this is for our Pesto Chicken with Zucchini and Squash Medley, and again—is super easy.

All the ingredients go into the blender.

Now if you can’t find pine nuts, a good alternative is macadamia or even cashews.

pesto in a container with crackers and basil leaves on a platter

You just throw it into the blender, pulse it several times and then pour it into a container to seal and store in the fridge.

Scones out

When the timer goes off, you’ll pull the scones out of the oven and let them cool before cutting into them.

sugar free gluten free blueberry scones

You can alternately wrap the whole thing and store it in the fridge and cut it as needed during the week.

Cooling + storing meal prepped vegetables

The last step is getting the cooled veggies into containers to store in the fridge.

In our house, we use glass Pyrex storage containers that are rectangular shaped. I’m not sure who thought using round containers inside of a square-shaped fridge was a good idea of it in our house it pushes other dishes around and nearly pops them out of the fridge regularly, so we use square or rectangular shaped.

And then when they’re cool enough put the lids on and you can stack them nice and neat in the fridge until you need them during the week.

anti inflammatory foods in meal prep containers

Then during the week, you have all your veggie components ready to go for the week for these recipes.

And if you happen to have leftovers from your meal prep at the end of the week, my favorite way to use it is to make a nourish bowl or macro bowl with all the leftovers.

Now, as I mentioned at the start, I’ve created a summer meal prep guide for you that should hopefully make meal prep a little easier because it has the full prep guide as well as links to all the recipes.

And—when you grab the free PDF for the summer meal prep, you also get a huge discount on the blood sugar balancing Summer Anti Inflammatory Meal Prep Kit that has 4 weeks of summer meal plans, full recipes, and prep guides that include breakfast and snacks, lunches, dinners, and even desserts and cocktails—all sugar-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free adaptable!

Get the (free) Summer Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep Guide!

summer anti inflammatory meal plan

Beat the summer heat with this 1-week gluten-free, sugar-free meal plan and prep guide! Featuring delicious anti-inflammatory recipes from fresh summer produce!

Let me know in the comments: What summer anti-inflammatory meals are your favorites?! 💖 🍍

📌PIN IT FOR LATER! 👇

The 15+ Amazing Best Kitchen Tools for Meal Prep that I Use Every Week

These are the best kitchen tools for meal prep that I use and LOVE in my household and recommend to others!

Meal prep isn’t just a trend, it’s really a revolution of efficiency. But truthfully, it gets even more efficient when you have the proper and best kitchen tools for meal prep.

As a nutrition specialist and health coach, some of the first things I discuss with clients are the roadblocks to making healthy eating happen, whether it’s general healthy foods or sticking to a dietary style for weight loss , food intolerance, reducing inflammation, or managing a condition like prediabetes. Lack of time is usually the biggest reason named, but it doesn’t have to be (which is what I work through with clients).

My philosophy is to always merge healthy + efficient to make an anti-inflammatory lifestyle doable daily.

Here are the best kitchen tools for meal prep that I feel are the most efficient in their own right to make meal prep happen with the least amount of frustration.

best kitchen tools for meal prep

Ninja all-in-one system

Ninja All-In-One System

Ninja All-In-One System

This Ninja system has everything you need to chop, dice, spiralize, blend, cream, and so much more! It comes with a bullet-sized smoothie cup, large blender, crazy-sharp blades that are absolutely amazing, a food processor bowl for chopping and ricing, and the smaller attachment for grating and spiralizing.

It also includes a dough blade! This system eliminates the need for 3 different appliances, and also has preset functions so you can push the button and walk away while it does its thing!

Instant pot 8-quart 9-in-1

Instant Pot 7-in-1

Instant Pot 7-in-1

This larger 8-quart Instant Pot has the size to cook larger or smaller amounts, and eliminates the need for a separate slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, saute pan, and more!

You can sear meat right in the pot before setting to slow cooker, you can use as a pressure cooker and even cook meats that came straight from the freezer (anyone forget to thaw something for dinner??), and it has settings for different types of meats, rice, eggs, yogurt, potatoes, and so much more.

It seriously eliminates the need for multiple different cooking devices! It even has a function for sterilizing! (Baby toys or bottles, anyone?) My feeling, especially if you have a lack of space, is that the best kitchen tools for meal prep can multi-task.

(I like the larger size because it can fit so much more or cook less.) And if you really wanna get high-tech crazy, there’s even a “Smart Wifi” model!

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

The KitchenAid stand mixer is another amazing all-in-one. It obviously mixes hands-free, but it comes with dough hook attachment AND whisk attachment.

But it also has a MILLION AND ONE add-ons! For example, meat grinder, spiralizer, pasta maker, juicer…. honestly the list goes on! The Aqua Sky color is the most popular, but check out the link below to explore all color options!

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Silmat set

Silicone Baking Mat

Silicone Baking Mat

Ok, this may sound crazy, but this Silmat is amazing and eliminates the use of oil sprays or coatings when baking! I love that I have the option of cooking oil-free and know that it won’t stick!

I also love that this set has multiple sizes since not all baking sheets are the same size.

These can be used in baking sheets (whether baking, cooking, or roasting) or on the countertop for rolling out doughs WITHOUT the use of extra flour! The best kitchen tools for meal prep will also help eliminate extra ‘stuff’ you have might otherwise have to buy, like parchment paper, oil, flour, etc.

BBQ Grill Mats (my secret tool!)

BBQ Grill Mats

BBQ Grill Mats

Even though I love silmats, they pose the problem of not ever fitting inside my rimmed baking sheets or even my corningware and glass dishes. These BBQ grill mats solve that problem because they can be CUT to FIT PERFECTLY inside any pan!

Not only that, NOTHING sticks to them, and they’re easy to clean! (Win-win!)

Baggie Stand holders

Baggie Stand Holders

Baggie Stand Holders

Baggie stands are something I never knew I needed until I used them. Like something in my head told me this would be incredibly helpful, but having them makes my life so much easier when I meal prep!!

(Ever have a biggie fall over while pouring liquid in? 😭Yeah…no bueno.) With these baggie stands– PROBLEM SOLVED!

Reusable Storage Bags

Qinline Reusable Food Storage Bags

Qinline Reusable Food Storage Bags

If you’re a serial MEAL PREPPER like I am, or even WANT TO BE— these reusable storage bags ARE FOR YOU! I use a TON of baggies in meal prep!!

We also send berries, chips, granola, etc in baggies for the kids to school because we either make our own stuff, or buy the large bag and divide for cheaper snacks.

These reusable bags eliminate the overwhelming amount of plastic being thrown away, but also the overwhelming amount of baggies I’m buying every month!

Glass Food Storage Containers

Glass Food Storage Containers

Glass Food Storage Containers

Whether you do weekly meal prep or not, getting rid of plastic food storage containers is a MAJOR upgrade for your health!

I love these glass storage containers because they’re dishwasher safe, microwave safe, oven safe, and even freezer safe! They’re extremely versatile! Perfect for meal prep. Perfect for leftovers. Without the icky BPA.

Also, they don’t melt in the dishwasher. All the plastic meal prep containers you can buy will eventually lose their shapes (sometimes sooner, depending on the water temperature in your dishwasher). The glass meal prep containers are good to go forever.

And one last point– I’ve switched to rectangular and square-shaped storage containers because I’m not sure who thought it was a good idea to try and fit a round storage container in a square-shaped fridge, but I’m done having dishes ‘pop’ out of the fridge when trying to find something or make room for something else. 😉

Misto Oil Sprayer

Misto Oil Sprayer

Misto Oil Sprayer

For some dietary styles, reducing total oil is a must. And honestly, sometimes a ‘drizzle’ is a bit too heavy when it comes to oil.

Which is why I love the Misto oil sprayer. It’s free of butane (like is in cooking spray you buy at the grocery store) and you can use the type and quality of oil YOU prefer.

Silicone Muffin Pans

Silicone Muffin Pans

Silicone Muffin Pans

Silicone muffin pans are a dream for bakers and meal preppers alike! No more rusty pans. No more muffin papers.

No more sticking or using non-stick sprays. Oh yeah, and no more washing silicone muffin wrappers individually!!​ HUGE time saver for me!! (Remember: healthy + efficient!)

Saute Pans + Skillet

All Clad Sautee Pan + Skillet

All Clad Sautee Pan + Skillet

In case you’re been under a rock the last decade, you already know the reason Teflon isn’t normally used on skillets any more. And although that non-stick surface was hella useful, it’s crazy toxic.

Next best non-stick thing? Ceramic-coating! (If you have an induction cooktop, make sure to confirm the cookware works on it before purchasing!)

Fry Cutter

Fry and Vegetable Cutter

Fry and Vegetable Cutter

Although it’s not hard cutting a potato, cutting them into perfectly sized fries can be super tedious. That’s why I love our fry cutter.

One disclaimer on this one: I have several videos where I use a different brand. The one I use has never given us trouble, but on Amazon, it has a pretty low rating.

So I linked to an alternative with much better reviews and one that’s pretty darn durable. If your family likes home fries, this thing saves a TON of time and headache!

Enamel Coated Cookware

Enamel Coated Cookware

Enamel Coated Cookware

If you love the versatility of being able to go from cooktop to oven, or even fridge to cooktop or oven, then enamel coated cookware is the way to go!

The only ‘con’ I have to these is that they are very heavy because they’re cast-iron on the inside, and that means my kiddos can’t feasibly handle them, and also it means it’s nearly impossible to hold the skillets at an angle to pour contents out.

Otherwise, these pieces should last for years (and many high-end brands like Le Creuset should last a lifetime). Plus you can get them in a ton of really preeeetty colors! 🌈

Good Knives

Samurai Carbon Knife Set

Samurai Carbon Knife Set

The best kitchen tools for meal prep will always include a quality set of sharp knives. A good sharp set of knives can mean the difference between beautifully and quickly sliced foods and an urgent trip to the ER.

Invest in some really good knives!! Better knives cost more, but they last longer and are more durable. Plus if they get dull, you can sharpen them!

Mixing Bowls

KitchenAid Nesting Mixing Bowls

KitchenAid Nesting Mixing Bowls

This may sound like silly advice, but coming from someone who VALUES minimalism these days, a really GOOD, DURABLE, POURABLE, and STACKABLE set of mixing bowls that only takes up a SINGLE shelf in my kitchen is a mega win!! 🏅

Not to mention that this specific set has graters and a slicer you can attach right on top of the bowl!!

Proper Labeling Tools #1: Sharpies

Sharpies

Sharpies

When doing meal prep, the gold standard for labeling baggies is the good ole’ Sharpie. And while I LOVE me some colored Sharpies, unfortunately teal and lighter colors just won’t cut it. Use BLACK, DARK BLUE, PURPLE, or RED.

Proper Labeling Tools #2: Dry Erase Markers

Dry Erase Markers with Magnetic Cap

Dry Erase Markers with Magnetic Cap

Guess what—DRY ERASE markers aren’t ONLY for a dry erase board!! They’re PERFECT for labeling FOOD CONTAINERS when you’re meal prepping or have leftovers!! 🤩

THESE dry erase markers are my favorite, because they have a fine tip, are black (same importance as the Sharpie situation), and they have a magnet, so you can keep it on the side of the fridge for easy access when labeling leftover containers!

*And a tip–although you may be super tempted to use the wet-erase version (usually Vis-a-Vis brand), DON’T! If any moisture gets on the container, the words will smear right off onto your hands and then take 17 days to get off… speaking from experience.)

Meal Prep Cutting Board

Meal Prep Cutting Board with Drawers and Graters

Meal Prep Cutting Board with Drawers and Graters

Ok, so I’ve saved the BEST for last. I never realized how much of a pain it was cutting up tons of veggies and fruits for meal prep until I started. This is my FAVORITE thing ever!

A cutting board with containers for what you’ve chopped under it! Eeeekkk! There are a couple of other options for meal prep cutting boards, but this one is by far my favorite!

So there ya have it! My list of the 15 best kitchen tools for meal prep! Keep in mind it’s not a dire situation if you don’t have these or can’t afford them right now. They simply make it easier to meal prep.

Got any more suggestions? Let’s hear them in the comments below!

Know someone that could use advice on what the best kitchen meal prep tools are? SHARE this post!

best kitchen tools for meal prep

Top 3 Mistakes in Anti Inflammatory Meal Planning + What to Do Instead

So look, meal planning can be tough enough on its own, but when you add in a dietary style that you’re totally new to, that just makes it that much more complicated. 

When doing anti-inflammatory meal planning there are three major mistakes that I see clients making over and over again that are costing you serious time, money, and the ability to get those anti-inflammatory meals cooked and on the table every night so that you can feel amazing every day. So let’s chat about those to make sure you’re not making those same mistakes, and let you in on what to do instead.

top 3 mistakes in anti inflammatory meal planning

🌟Don’t know which foods are on the ‘go/no-go’ list for an Anti-Inflammatory Diet? Check out ‘Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners’

Anti Inflammatory Meal Planning Mistake #1: Being overly ambitious

Mistake number one is being overly ambitious and thinking that you need to cook every night of the week.

So I get it–when we get excited about something new (especially if it’s supposed to help us reach our goals like managing a condition, getting your blood sugar under control, or even kick-starting weight loss), we just want to jump all in…But I want you to slow your roll for a minute because when we get overly ambitious and think that we need to cook every single night you’re sorta asking for trouble.

top 3 mistakes in anti inflammatory meal planning

The problem is that when we decide to jump all in and cook every single night, we’re going to get completely overwhelmed. And the usual response to getting overwhelmed is to shut down and do nothing. So I want to prevent that and just kind of take a step back instead. 

The reason that we’re going to take a step back on that is that when you stop putting that kind of pressure on yourself and allow yourself to learn in a really more relaxed way where you can learn to enjoy planning, prepping, and cooking and then appreciate what this dietary style can do for your body. 

So instead what I want you to do is maybe start out cooking three to four dinners in your first few weeks to get started…And take that time to get used to the types of food that you can be using. There’s a little bit different way of cooking sometimes for anti-inflammatory meals and I want you to really just kind of get the hang of what this whole dietary lifestyle and style is about before getting overwhelmed with the whole meal planning part of it. 

One of the really great strategies for this is when you cook those three to four meals go ahead and cook a little bit more so that you can have extra for other meals… which leads us into mistake number two. 

>>> Check out ALL my Best Kitchen Tools for Meal Prep HERE!

Anti Inflammatory Meal Planning Mistake #2: Not cooking enough food

So before you get all up in arms and overwhelmed at that let me just explain. It takes no extra time to cook 4 servings of a recipe versus 8 servings of a recipe. You’re simply using double the ingredients so what I want you to think about is that when you’re only cooking one recipe at a time for whatever meal that is you’re missing out on the opportunity to save so much time later. 

The reason why that happens is that whenever you cook more you have extra time, you have a fallback, and you have a backup plan. 

top 3 mistakes in anti inflammatory meal planning

I know a lot of families who do one night a week for leftovers for dinner, (we absolutely do that because it saves me cooking one night of the week and it also saves all of the other clean up that happens, and it cleans up whatever is left over in the fridge.) 

So instead, think about doing one and a half or even doubling up on your recipes. You do also have the option to take one recipe and cook it for your dinner that night and then make a second one at the same time to freeze for later. So I always recommend doing that and or making double at the recipe so that you can have enough for lunch the next day. 

I work out of the house but whenever I did not work out of the house I would get into that hangry situation right before lunch because I’d been really busy working and usually forgot to have a snack. So by the time lunch got there I was just being like in this annoyed, starving state where I really didn’t care what I went to eat, so I would just grab the closest most convenient thing that I could. Which would never work out on this type of dietary style. 

So if you make enough for lunch the next day you can be assured that whatever you’re eating for lunch is compliant with the anti-inflammatory diet and that way you’re not even worrying about what you’re eating the next day because you know that it fit in because you made it for your dinner the night before.

Mistake #3: Not setting enough time aside

Mistake number three is not setting enough time aside for meal prep and for actual cooking

So the problem in this is that you’re making things more frantic for yourself if you have kids–and especially smaller ones. This could actually be pushing their bedtime later which we know makes us more stressed out and most of all you’re stressing yourself out trying to frantically cook a whole meal when you don’t really have enough time to cook it. 

top 3 mistakes in anti inflammatory meal planning

Here’s why: When you do allow yourself enough time, it just makes your time spent cooking way more relaxing… You just assemble the ingredients cook what needs to be cooked at your own pace, no rush…Instead of frantically running around with your hair on fire just to get dinner ready. 

But it also gives you peace of mind during the day because you know that those things are already prepped and ready to go and have the extra time to cook dinner. 

I can’t tell you the number of clients that tell me that even though they have meal plans technically done they still have anxiety about getting the meals actually cooked at night because of how long it will take. 

What to do instead is to make sure that you schedule in an hour maybe on Sunday (or one other day at the start of the week) to meal prep: chop veggies and even go ahead and make some of the meat even sauces. Sometimes if it’s a casserole a lot of those ingredients are pre-cooked and then you can just assemble them the night of and then just stick them in the oven so that you have as little to do as possible on the day of.

Bonus points!

Add even more bonus points if you go ahead and shop and then prep all of your veggies the minute that you get back inside with the groceries so that you’re saving yourself an extra trip of taking things back out of the fridge just to chop them and then put them back in the fridge.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve been making any of these mistakes (or even others that I didn’t touch on!)

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anti inflammatory meal planning mistakes

Quick and Easy Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep for Winter

This winter anti-inflammatory meal prep isn’t just packed with nutritious and delicous seasonal winter produce– it’s a pretty darn quick and easy meal plan. I started out doing meal prep sort of on the fly by just shopping seasonal produce, and prepping it ahead of time to just make meals on the fly throughout the week. But I do also need a structured meal plan a lot of times as well.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

But doing either way is a great way to make sure you’ve got anti-inflammatory meals through the week (especially when you’ve got those chaotic dumpster fire weeks when you need nourishing meals to keep you calm and collected even when nothing else in your life is.)

Click the image below to grab the free Winter Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep Guide! 👇

winter anti inflammatory meal prep guide

The basic steps of anti-inflammatory meal prep are:

  1. Shop
  2. Chop
  3. Roast
  4. Store
  5. Create meals

Shopping for your anti-inflammatory meal prep session

For this winter meal prep session I grabbed a pumpkin, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, purple cabbage, kale, and collard greens.

We promote eating seasonally at TRUEWELL for a few reasons:

  1. Eating seasonally costs less
  2. You’re not getting produce that came from halfway around the world (in other words–you’re getting produce more local which means much more flavor, less transport and less chance of it getting harvested before it’s ripe), and
  3. Studies have shown produce that’s grown IN SEASON actually has substantially greater values of vitamins and phytonutrients than those out of season.
anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

(And just to be clear on why I didn’t roast the pumpkin in my video… my kids freaked out about me roasting the pumpkin–cause they wanted to decorate it, and I had canned pumpkin in the pantry, so I used that for the meal that week…Long story short, kids ruin everything. 😂 Kidding. sort of)

Chopping veggies for your anti-inflammatory meal prep

So I started out with the spaghetti squash because it needs to be roasted, then needs to cool before you can scrape out the insides.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

These used to intimidate the heck out of me but they’re actually pretty cool. For this session I cut the squash in half lengthwise, then cut strips; but I think it’s actually easier to just roast the halves and then scrape the insides out from those large pieces.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

I have also learned that even scraping the seeds out is much easier when they’ve been roasted first.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

So lay the pieces out evenly on a pan.

I use a BBQ grill mat liner, which I’ve learned is amazing, nothing sticks to it, which you can grab here:

{Some of the links are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small portion of the proceeds if you purchase it, with no additional charge to you.}

BBQ Grill Mats

BBQ Grill Mats

Next I started on the butternut squash. Cut the ends off, then cut it in half vertically.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Lay each half on the pan face down.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Then I started on the leeks. I peeled a few of the outside leaves, cut the end of the bulb off, then cut a slit down the center before chopping it. The dark green ends usually get pretty tough, so cut the white part and some of the lighter green part, then put it on the pan to roast as well.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Some of this produce is really best cooked right before eaten, as it’s sauteed or put into soups. But the squash always needs to be cooked anyway, and I also knew I wanted to put the leeks into a soup. So for sure these all needed to be roasted.

Roasting vegetables for anti-inflammatory meal prep

My normal base seasoning is salt, pepper, and garlic powder, which you can add or wait until you make your dish—And then roast it at 350 degrees F for about 25-30 minutes.

(For squash, it may take a bit longer to get it soft enough. You want to be able to scoop and scrape easily or else it will take forever…)

Then I got to work on the kale, and I knew I just wanted it for kale chips. You would think the bags of it already chopped would be more convenient, but I’ve found it takes longer to pick out all the stems than to just buy a bunch of it and trim them off myself.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

I do a sort of scraping motion with the knife to get the leaves off, but you can also fold it in half and do just one cut to get the stems out.

Once all the leaves are torn and in a bowl, add oil, and massage it to soften the fibers.

For kale chips, don’t salt it until they’re out! They shrink and can turn out way too salty.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Kale chips go in the oven for about 20 minutes at 300 F.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Storing your anti-inflammatory meal prep vegetables

While that was cooking, I started cutting the greens.

I started on the collard greens. I wanted these to go in a soup, so I just washed them, trimmed them up the same way as kale, then store them in a baggie in the fridge until I need them that night.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

👉 A method I’ve found useful is using a large 4-cup measuring cup to hold the baggie in place to put food into during meal prep if you don’t have the baggie stands.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

The mustard greens got trimmed up the same way, and I wanted to sauté them later in the week, so I just store them in a baggie in the fridge as well.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Then I started on the cabbage. Peel those tough and usually dirty outer leaves, then chop it into slices, then into smaller pieces. I wanted to sauté it later in the week, so it goes into a baggie as well to store in the fridge.

I also grabbed some pears as a last minute add-on.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

These can be peeled, but the skins are usually actually less tough than apples, so eating the skins is pretty yummy. Make sure you get the core out, it does have seeds like apples.

I chunked it up because I wanted to add it as a snack on top of Greek yogurt.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

One trick is to cut the bottom off so it sits flat, then the top small part, then use an apple corer and slicer to slice it just like you would apples.

If you’re going to pre-cut them, they do also turn brown like apples, so add a bit of lemon juice to keep that from happening and store them in a container in the fridge.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Lastly we take the roasted veggies out of the oven and let them cool.

I put the leeks into a container to go in the fridge.

Then I started on the butternut squash. I’ve found using a grapefruit spoon with a serrated edge make scooping the seeds and flesh out really easy.

But I also sometimes use an avocado slicer to scoop it out. You can also use a paring knife to slice around the edges before scooping the flesh out.

Serrated Edge Grapefruit Spoons

Serrated Edge Grapefruit Spoons

Avocado Slicer Tool

Avocado Slicer Tool

Henckels Paring Knife

Henckels Paring Knife

>>> Check out ALL my Best Kitchen Tools for Meal Prep HERE!

I put it all in a container and seal it to store in the fridge.

Spaghetti squash can be a bit tricky. It definitely needs to be soft enough. But you can use a fork to scrape the spaghetti parts out into a container. Then store in the fridge.

And lastly, I pulled the kale chips out. Then I season with garlic and salt so it doesn’t get oversalted before because it shrinks. Scoop them into a container and enjoy as a snack.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Create anti-inflammatory dinners for the week

The meals for this winter anti-inflammatory meal prep session were…

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Pumpkin alfredo on spaghetti squash with grilled chicken…

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Leek and cauliflower soup

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Sauteed chicken sausage and red cabbage

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Creamy Collard Greens Soup (with butternut squash)…

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

And for a snack I had a Winter Pear and Yogurt Bowl.

And as promised, to grab the FREE Winter Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep printable guide, just click the image below! 👇

winter anti-inflammatory meal plan

📌 Know someone that would love to learn Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep? SHARE this post or PIN IT for LATER! 💖

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Quick and Easy Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep for Fall

https://youtu.be/_7J-Bq8GoGU

Anti-inflammatory recipes are a great addition to a healthy eating pattern as they can help manage, prevent or reverse the effects of inflammation in the body.

Ingredients like dark leafy greens, beets and cauliflower are packed with anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce chronic pain and prevent age-related illnesses.

Eating anti-inflammatory foods doesn’t have to be bland or boring either, as there are plenty of fresh and healthy recipes to choose from that cater to different dietary needs. Incorporating these recipes into your meal prep routine can help balance your blood sugar and reduce chronic inflammation.

What is an anti-inflammatory diet?

An anti-inflammatory diet focuses on consuming foods that have anti-inflammatory properties, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

It aims to reduce chronic inflammation in the body, which can help prevent chronic diseases and promote overall health and well-being.

What are the benefits of anti-inflammatory meal prep?

No matter the season, your life is probably super busy. We have 4 kids (3 at home), and regardless of whether school is in or it’s summer or even winter break, things are always sorta chaotic.

So this method has actually been a lifesaver for us so that on weeks where I don’t even have the brainpower to put a meal plan together, this is our lifeline.

We have a backup.

No thinking about it all day, no scrambling at the last minute, and definitely no ultra-processed, inflammatory, and overpriced drive-thru or takeout.

So I’m gonna show you how to meal prep with fall anti-inflammatory foods (meaning: in season for fall in the US).

I’m also linking the example meals that we made for the week with all of the produce that we got.

And if you scroll a bit, you can get the GUIDE that shows you the details for all of this so you can keep it on hand for ANY time you have weeks like this.

Step 1: Choose your produce

So for anti-inflammatory meal prep, you start out by simply choosing a bunch of SEASONAL produce.

Our shopping order for this meal prep session I got:

  • broccoli,
  • brussels sprouts,
  • kale (can be already chopped up in a bag),
  • mushrooms, you can choose any kind,
  • sweet potatoes,
  • regular potatoes,
  • an onion,
  • sage,
  • and cauliflower.

And all of this was just random stuff that I know my family will eat and that gave us a pretty good variety for meals this week.

Step 2: Prep your workspace

And after washing all the produce, I pre-heated both ovens for 350 degrees F.

The tools you’ll need for your meal prep session are a large cutting board, good knives, and roasting pans- probably with a lip, and something to line it with so stuff doesn’t stick.

Now I use something I found by accident with is a BBQ grilling mat—I love these because I can cut them to fit perfectly in my pan and NOTHING sticks to them—they come in a pack all rolled up in a box.

(Some links may be affiliate links, meaning if you click on and then purchase, I’ll get a portion of the proceeds, at no additional charge to you.) 🙂

BBQ Grill Mats

BBQ Grill Mats

>>> Check out ALL my Best Kitchen Tools for Meal Prep HERE!

Step 3: Get your base seasoning out

So our base seasoning includes avodado oil to drizzle on, I use this to cook with because it has a high smoke point. Or you can use something like this Misto spray can where you put the oil in, pump air in to build pressure, and spray it on.

Then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and it’s ready to go in the oven.

Click the image below to grab the free Fall Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep Guide!👇

fall anti-inflammatory meal prep guide free pdf

Step 4: Prep foods that cook the longest first

So, even though I didn’t have full meals planned out when I got all this produce, I had a loose plan for a few things. So I knew I’d want to do baked potatoes one night, so since they take an hour to bake you’ll want to do these first if you’re doing baked potatoes one night.

And for baked potatoes, you just coat each one individually with oil, salt it, wrap it in foil, and then punch some holes with a fork.

Once I’ve got those all set and into the oven for one hour, I get to work chopping everything else.

Step 5: Prep all other foods that cook the same length of time

Broccoli and cauliflower

I started out with broccoli, and just basically cut all the florets off—and if you don’t like to chop you can always buy the bags where it’s pre-chopped. It does save time, but may cost a little more.

Once these were all cut up, I put them all on the pan on one end, because I put the cauliflower on the other end.

Then I started with the cauliflower and removed that large base then cut those into florets as well, breaking some of them apart. And you can also buy these prechopped if you don’t like cutting them up- it does save a lot of time and mess.

Then I placed all those on the second half of the pan where the broccoli was. I cook these on the same pan because cook at right about the same rate.

And then I wanted a bit more flavor than just our base seasoning, so I chopped an onion into chunks and just spread it out evenly on the pan.

Brussels sprouts

Next I prepped brussels sprouts, and the easiest way to do these is chop off the end piece slice them in half and lay them face down on the pan.

I arranged mine with a hole in the middle for all the loose little leaves because they get extra crispy and are a super yummy snack!

Then drizzle or spray with oil, then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.—and they’re ready to go!

Mushrooms.

I decided to split the mushrooms and do half chopped pretty small and the other half roasted.

I chopped one half because I like to mix them in with ground meat to give it bulk and really boost the vitamin content-and my kids can never tell! I don’t precook those, so I just put them in a baggie to store in the fridge until the night I needed them.

The other half I just spread out on the pan, and I had a pack of sage I grabbed at the store as well—this is such a fragrant and nutrition-packed herb, and perfect for colder weather.

So I just chopped some of it, sprinkled it on the mushrooms, then added our oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and it’s ready to go.

Sweet potatoes

I roughly chopped the sweet potatoes because I had loosely planned mashed sweet potates with cinnamon- my kids love those- and the rest I planned to use in my lunches during the week.

But that meant that all of them needed to be chopped.

Regular potatoes

Then I started on the rest of the regular potatoes I had. So for the ones I wasn’t using for a whole baked potato, we like to sometimes do homemade fries and this tool makes it super easy.

It’s a fry cutter and has this grid blade inside to cut the potato in perfectly squared fries.

So how it works is that you take the lid off, place the potato wedge on top of that grid, then put the lid on and push it down to force the potato through the grid. And you have perfectly shaped fries.

Fry and Vegetable Cutter

Fry and Vegetable Cutter

So I repeated this process until I got all the rest of the potatoes cut, then put them with the sweet potatoes on a pan, because they cook at about the same rate. I got them all seasoned and ready for the oven.

Step 6: Put all prepped veggies into the oven

All of the veggies go into the oven at that 350 degrees F for 30 minutes- just keep an eye out and take out anything that’s cooking a little too much.

Step 7: Any veg that won’t be pre-cooked

And the last thing I prepped was kale. Since this came in a bag, I picked out any bad pieces since it was already chopped, and planned to wilt some one night for dinner, and then would have a massaged kale salad one night as well.

So once all the bad pieces were picked out I just stored it in a Ziploc in the fridge.

Step 8: Remove veggies from oven

And when they’re done, just take all the pans out, and let them cool…

Step 9: Store prepped veggies

Then start putting them into your storage containers.

I do recommend putting them in separate containers because some veggies do have a higher water content and a lot of times they get a little bit mushy in there and you don’t want that water running into the other vegetables.

And then you’ve got all your veggies prepped for the week! You can store all of these AND your baked potatoes in the fridge until the night you need them.

4+ Meals with pre-prepped fall anti-inflammatory vegetables

The meals we cooked with our freestyle meal prep session were:

Chicken sausage with the broccoli and cauliflower,

Baked potato with shredded chicken, sugar-free bbq sauce, mushrooms, and brussels sprouts,

Turkey burgers that had the chopped mushrooms with sage built into it, and those homemade fries with Dijon mustard for dipping, and a massaged kale salad, AND

Lemony baked cod with wilted kale and mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon.

And there ya go! That’s how to do Fall Anti-Inflammatory Meal prep!

Don’t forget to click the image below to grab the free Fall Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep Guide! 👇

📌PIN IT FOR LATER!

The Effortless Guide to Perfectly Roasted Spring Vegetables Every Time

One thing that always makes me super happy in spring is to have already meal prepped roasted spring vegetables ready to add to any meal.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to effortlessly roast your favorite spring vegetables with maximum flavor and minimal effort. From choosing the right vegetables to testing for doneness, we’ve got you covered. So, grab your sheet pan, and let’s get roasting!

This recipe is featured in our Spring Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep Guide! Grab it HERE!

Choosing the Right Spring Vegetables

Before you start roasting your spring vegetables, it’s important to choose the right ones. Not all vegetables are created equal when it comes to roasting. Some may become too mushy, while others may not cook through evenly.

Also, we’re going for in-season vegetables because of their natural nutrient content and also price. So, how do you choose the right spring vegetables for roasting?

In-season spring vegetables

Since choosing veg that are in season is the name of the game, just know that we’re in North America (just outside Houston), so our spring may be different than yours.

If you’re in the same hemisphere, here are some great spring vegetables to roast (that I’m using in these photos):

  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Cauliflower
  • Onions

Get an entire week of spring anti-inflammatory meals with our Spring Meal Prep Guide click HERE!

Size, texture, and flavor

First and foremost, consider the size of the vegetable. Vegetables that are too big, such as large broccoli or cauliflower florets, may take longer to cook and may not roast evenly.

It’s super easy to just cut up larger vegetables or buy it already cut and bagged. Or you can stick to smaller and more uniform vegetables like baby carrots and thin green beans.

Next, consider the texture of the vegetable. Vegetables with a firm texture, like Brussels sprouts or cauliflower, will hold up well during roasting and won’t become too mushy. On the other hand, softer vegetables like zucchini or yellow squash may become too tender and fall apart during roasting.

Finally, think about the flavor profile of the vegetable. Roasting can bring out the natural sweetness of vegetables, so choose vegetables that will complement each other. For example, try roasting a mix of sweet bell peppers and red onions for a delicious and colorful side dish.

Prepping your spring vegetables

Before you can start roasting your spring vegetables, it’s important to properly prep them.

Start by washing and drying the vegetables thoroughly. Then, cut them into evenly sized pieces to ensure they cook uniformly.

Seasoning for Flavor

With your vegetables prepped and ready to go, it’s time to move on to seasoning them for maximum flavor. Salt and pepper are essential, but don’t be afraid to experiment with other spices that complement your vegetables. For example, rosemary and thyme are perfect for hearty spring root vegetables like potatoes and carrots.

For a more exotic flavor, consider using cumin and coriander on cauliflower or turmeric on Brussels sprouts. To add a little kick, try a pinch of red pepper flakes on your asparagus or broccoli.

When seasoning your vegetables, be sure to coat them evenly with (an appropriate) oil or butter to help the spices stick. This will also help them crisp up in the oven.

Roasting techniques

To ensure that your roasted vegetables come out perfectly, it’s important to use the right roasting techniques. Here are a few tricks to keep in mind:

First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees F (163 C). This ensures that your veggies cook evenly and don’t dry out. Next, chop your vegetables into evenly-sized pieces so that they roast uniformly. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet before adding oil or butter and seasonings.

Make sure to toss your vegetables halfway through the cooking process. This helps them cook evenly on both sides and ensures that they’re crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Finally, let your vegetables rest for a few minutes after cooking to allow the flavors to meld together.

Testing for Doneness

Roasting vegetables can be a breeze, as long as you know when they’re done cooking. Overcooking can result in a mushy or burned, unappetizing mess while undercooking can leave them tough and lacking in flavor. Here are a few tips for testing for doneness when roasting your favorite spring veggies.

First, use a fork or a skewer to test the texture of your vegetables. You should be able to pierce them easily without too much resistance. If they’re still hard or crunchy, they need more time in the oven. On the other hand, if they’re too soft or mushy, they may be overcooked.

Second, check the color of your vegetables. They should be evenly browned and caramelized, with no raw or uncooked areas. If they’re still pale or green, they need more time in the oven. Conversely, if they’re starting to char or blacken, they may be overcooked.

Third, use your senses to determine if your vegetables are ready. They should smell fragrant and delicious, with a slightly sweet and nutty aroma. They should also sound crispy and crackly when you move them around in the pan.

Once you’re confident that your vegetables are done, take them out of the oven and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to mingle and intensify, resulting in a more delicious and satisfying dish.

If you’re cooking your spring veg for meal prep, let them cool completely before putting them into storage containers and into the fridge. I recommend separating them out as some vegetables have more liquid in them than others.

Roasting spring vegetables doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right techniques and a little bit of patience, you can achieve crispy and delicious veggies every time to take advantage of the seasonal anti-inflammatory produce!

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Perfectly Roasted Spring Vegetables

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How to effortlessly make your favorite roasted spring vegetables with maximum flavor and minimal effort. Perfect for side dishes during the week or meal prep!

  • Author: Laura Brigance, MS, CHC
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Method: Oven

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1/2 onion

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (163 C).
  2. Chop your vegetables into evenly-sized pieces so that they roast uniformly.
  3. Spray a sheet pan with avocado oil.
  4. Spread the vegetables out in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  5. Give a light spray of avocado oil. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and any other seasonings you wish.
  6. Roast for 25-30 minutes until done. Let cool, then serve.

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Anti-Inflammatory Overnight Oats

When it comes to overnight oats, nothing is more simple for delicious, easy, and anti-inflammatory breakfasts.

anti inflammatory overnight oats

It is, however, a little harder to find one that’s sugar-free, as sugar is inflammatory. That’s why this basic overnight oats recipe is just as yummy, but without any added sugars.

So before I get into the recipe and how to make overnight oats, I want to talk about what exactly makes this an anti-inflammatory recipe so you can do the same, no matter which flavor variation you make at home.

How to make anti-inflammatory overnight oats

There are 3 things that put these overnight oats into the anti inflammatory recipes category:

Number 1 is what you leave out.

This would be the things that ultra processed options like instant oatmeal put in their products that contribute to chronic inflammation in the body. These include sugar, artificial colorings, flavors, and preservatives, and oxidated unhealthy fats.

The overnight oats recipes I’m gonna show you eliminates ALL those from the start.

The second way this is an anti-inflammatory breakfast recipe is all in how you prepare it.

This is because how you prepare your overnight oats recipes determines how it will affect your blood sugar response. By eliminating the sugar in step 1, you’re on your way.

However, the carbohydrates from grains like oats are also absorbed into the bloodstream at different rates depending on 1) how they’re cut and 2) how you prepare it.

Using the LEAST processed form like steel-cut or rolled keeps that grain in tact as much as possible, which helps slow down those carbohydrates from hitting your blood stream so fast. However, studies have shown that you can increase resistant starches by actually cooking the oats, then letting them cool in the fridge, then reheating them.

different types of oats on a countertop

So, traditionally for overnight oats you would let your oats soak in the liquid overnight in the fridge. We’re still gonna do that, but by using this trick of cooking them first, then letting them cool overnight, we’re increasing those resistant starches.

And the third way these meal prep overnight oats are an anti-inflammatory recipe is by the add-ins.

There are so many different options for add-ins to create different flavors and textures. But if you’re purposeful in your add-ins, you can get an even bigger anti-inflammatory boost without adding in a ton of extra calories, which is helpful if you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight.

Some of these add-ins that fight inflammation can be cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, or even lower-sugar fruit like berries. And if you want to add a bit of extra crunch, you can use toppers like chopped almonds, macadamia nuts, or walnuts.

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So let’s jump into how to make overnight oats to keep them anti-inflammatory and insulin friendly.

Basic recipe ingredients list for anti inflammatory overnight oats

Ingredients

The typical ingredients in a basic overnight oats recipe are:

  • Oats
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Chia seeds
  • Vanilla extract
  • Sweetener
  • Salt

So, we already started talking about the oats. The more intact they are, the better for your blood sugar levels.

Your options for oats are :

Steel cut, rolled, and quick oats.

You can see the difference in texture here, and if you’ve had any experience with oats and oatmeal you’ll know that the thinner the cut, the more mushy they can get. So the steel cut will be a bit chewier, and can take a bit longer to cook. The rolled only take about a minute and a half to cook in the microwave, and the quick oats a little shorter.

different types of oats you can use in anti inflammatory overnight oats

Per anti-inflammatory diet basics, whole or partially cracked grains are acceptable because of those lower blood sugar hits, so I recommend using steel-cut or rolled.

As far as them being gluten free, oats are inherently gluten free, however, cross contamination is really frequent with oats, so I recommend getting oats that are labeled as gluten-free.

gluten free oats package

Directions

1-For this overnight oats recipe, we use ½ cup of oats. **Now one thing to note in CASE you don’t have the correct type of oats and want to use up what you have is that there are different calorie and macro counts for the different types of oats because of the difference in their denseness.

adding oats to a meal prep container to make anti inflammatory overnight oats

So you want to make sure you match those if you are counting calories or macros for your weight. (Check out the video for that if you need help, which I’ll have listed below)

2-Next, we add milk. Now, not everyone *needs* to go dairy-free to follow an anti-inflammatory diet as the guidelines of anti-inflammatory dictate that it’s unique to each person after eliminating foods KNOWN to be inflammatory to all humans. So, obviously, don’t use cow’s milk if you’re lactose intolerant, If you’re allergic, and if you’re adapting this recipe to be a vegan breakfast.

adding milk to a meal prep container to make anti inflammatory overnight oats

There are a ton of other non-dairy options. However, make sure you find one that is sugar-free. The label will say ‘Unsweetened’, and try to find one with as few fillers and thickeners as possible. Many people react to these and some people even end up making their own nut milks because of this.

We’ll need ½ cup of milk.

3-Next we’ll add yogurt. Again—if you’re fine with dairy, choose a plain, unsweetened yogurt.

adding yogurt to a meal prep container to make anti inflammatory overnight oats

I prefer Greek, and if you’re dairy-free or vegan, coconut milk yogurt or any other dairy-free option is fine as long as it’s plain and unsweetened.

4-Chia seeds are our next add-in. Chia seeds are great because they’re high in protein and healthy fat, can help lower LDL cholesterol, and they also help blunt that blood sugar spike.

chia seeds that have been soaked, in a bowl

And when they have moisture, the seed has sort of a gelatinous coating that helps us feel full, they give a tiny bit of a crunch.

5-Next we’re adding in vanilla extract. Just make sure this is REAL vanilla extract, not imitation as that’s an artificial flavoring. The vanilla flavor goes with practically any flavor profile that you want to create, unless it’s a savory flavor, and it helps add to the overall sweetness factor.

6-So speaking of sweetness, let’s talk sweeteners.  Although there ARE savory flavors of overnight oats, most recipes are for sweeter versions. Since we’re eliminating sugar per anti-inflammatory diet guidelines, we can use zero calorie natural sweeteners.

Artificial sweeteners are terrible for your gut health, among other things, so we’re gonna steer clear of those.

I know many people will still insist on using natural sweeteners that do have sugar like honey or maple syrup. Those sweeteners are allowed in a Paleo diet, which is considered one type of anti inflammatory diet, so you use your own judgement for your own body.

natural zero calorie sweeteners you can use in anti inflammatory overnight oats

If you are trying to lose weight or reduce chronic inflammation, I recommend steering clear even of those natural sweeteners daily, and instead using stevia, monk fruit, erythritol, or allulose.

7-Now, I want to touch on the salt. In all honesty, oats can sometimes taste a little like cardboard if you don’t know how to prepare them. Salt livens up that plain grain flavor, but it also adds a counter balance to the sweetness. So don’t forget to add in a pinch or two of salt.

8-What’s so great about overnight oats anti inflammatory options is that you can add combinations of fresh fruits and spices that are super delicious.

So the last part of the ingredients is the add-ins. Cinnamon has been shown to lower blood sugar, so it’s a perfect add-in if you have insulin resistance or are trying to lose weight.

Turmeric and ginger have a bit of a bite, but are perfect for helping to lower chronic inflammation as well.  And if you want to add a bit more crunch, those chopped almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts, or walnuts that I mentioned before are perfect here as well.

chopping assorted nuts on a cutting board

The flavor combinations are endless, but if you’d like some flavor pairing suggestions, check out the recommendations below.

To prepare the overnight oats, you have two options:

stirring anti inflammatory overnight oats with a spoon on a countertop
  1. Mix them all together, seal in a container and pop in the fridge for about 8 hours or overnight, Or
  2. If you’re going for the more insulin-friendly option, cook the oats with water and salt per the package directions. Let it cool, THEN add in the other ingredients before you pop it in the fridge and leave it overnight. This helps increase those resistant starches and gives you a super yummy, filling, and healthy meal prep breakfast.
anti inflammatory overnight oats

CLICK HERE FOR MORE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY BREAKFAST RECIPES / SNACK OPTIONS

Extra flavor variations:

  • Apple + cinnamon
  • Mashed banana + keto maple syrup + chopped pecans
  • Peanut butter + chocolate chips (sugar-free)
  • Chopped strawberries + peanut butter
  • Coconut flakes + chocolate chips + almonds + keto maple syrup
  • Peppermint extract + mini chocolate chips (sugar-free)
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Anti-Inflammatory Overnight Oats

anti inflammatory overnight oats

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A fantastic anti inflammatory overnight oats recipe that’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free, and totally customizable!

  • Author: Laura @ TRUEWELL
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Breakfast

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten-free (or steel-cut))
  • 1/2 cup milk (dairy or dairy-free)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (Greek, or dairy-free option)
  • 1 TBSP monk fruit (granulated)
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to container with a lid. Stir until well combined.
  2. Seal the container, and let sit in the fridge a minimum of 2 hours. (Best to prepare the night before and let it soak overnight.)
  3. Top with fresh or frozen fruit, and add other spices like cinnamon for a flavor boost!
  4. *If you prefer warm, pop in the microwave in the morning for 30-60 seconds.
  5. *Tip: For even more efficiency, double the recipe for 2 days worth of breakfasts. 🙂

Notes

*Get our Anti-Inflammatory Oats Cookbook (25 Delicious gluten-free, sugar-free oats recipes) for ONLY $5 HERE!  👈

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: Serving
  • Calories: 392
  • Sugar: 18.1 g
  • Sodium: 94.5 mg
  • Fat: 7.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 55.1 g
  • Fiber: 9.3 g
  • Protein: 18.5 g

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The Ultimate How-to Meal Planning for Beginners Guide

How to Meal Plan for Beginners Guide

As a busy mom, I’m sure you can relate to the dinner-time frenzy of ‘what’s for dinner?’, as well as the panic that beginners of meal planning encounter regularly. It’s seriously draining to have tiny humans to feed when you have no clue how to meal plan or where to start meal planning. 

I actually advocate meal planning as one of the FIRST things to get in order in your household to help reduce stress. (Seriously–order and a plan = calm + collected).

Finding the magic ✨ middle between healthy + efficient will change everything.

But there are actually a lot of other reasons to meal plan, and here’s why you should get your ish in order and get started!

meal planning for beginners

1. Benefits of meal planning

Meal planning is one of those things that people just hate doing. It usually feels like an impossible task, not knowing where to start or end. Most people are very confused about what meals they should include for staying with a particular dietary style, which meals through the week they should plan for, and how make the shopping lists.

I get it—before I started meal planning it felt completely overwhelming. Evenings were stressful, because even if we did agree on a meal, I had no idea if we had the ingredients to make it. (Forget whether or not it fit into our ‘diet’ we tried to adhere to at the time!) The frustration of not ever really knowing what was for dinner got the best of me once we had kids and our time became a gazillion times for valuable (because it was qucily becoming in more short supply).

That’s when I decided to get serious about meal planning.

And you know what? I discovered that there were several benefits to  meal planning I didn’t even realize until we were into it a couople weeks.

First, our ‘diet’ we were trying to follow—we stuck to it because I took the time to search out recipes that followed it. The confidence it built in both my husband and I after eating good for two weeks was amazing! That alone helped us stay motivated to keep working out as well. We didn’t want to waste our efforts at proper eating habits.

Second, we saved money. (Serious.) When you have an actual plan, you don’t wander through the store and grab at whatever looks good. You get your stuff and get out. This also allows to intentiaonally search up recipes that cost less if you’re serious about bringing your budget down on groceries.

Third, we eliminated multiple trips to the store. Translation: time saver!! We honestly didn’t have time to make so many trips to the store in the first place, and this just put me into panic runaround mode the days I had to ‘stop real quick’. Think about how much time (and brainpower) it’s taking for you to realize you forgot something or you’re out of whatever you dreamed up for dinner on a whim, then the time to get into the store (especially if you have to take kids in with you!), the time in the store, loading the car back up, then unloading everything while unloading kids. Oh yeah—and getting everything put up. This can suck hours out of your week. Only one trip a week has saved me boatloads of time!

And last, our stress levels were exponentially less in the evenings. That may sound like an exaggeration, but I’m not kidding. There was no scrambling around, no arguments, no searching online like a madwoman for something—anything—I could make with mushrooms and ajar of relish. We had a plan, we both helped in cooking every night, and we started having some amazing conversations while spending relaxing before-dinner time with the kiddos.

So now that you’re convinced you’re definitely on the right track–

2. How do you start meal planning?

Meal planning will come down to a couple of different things.

First, are there any dietary styles you need to adhere to? If so, those are the kinds of recipes you need to search up.

Second, how many people will you be cooking for at night? Think about if you need to cook for adults and kids.

Third, do you want to take advantage of leftovers for lunches? This will determine the number of servings you cook of the dinner recipe. This is a GREAT way to also make sure you stay on track with your dietary style. As long as you cook your dinners in that style, you’re assured your lunch is the same when you’re using them as leftovers. Plus you don’t have to go searching for lunch when you’re hungry. It’s already done and ready in the fridge.

Do you need to plan for breakfasts, snacks, or more lunches? If so, you should also account for these when sitting down to meal plan.

3. How do I create a weekly meal plan?

Creating a meal plan takes a little time each week, but once you have a system set, you begin to follow it automatically and it gets easier.

The first thing you should do is print out a meal planning template (which you can get below), and find recipes. Consider all those things above when coming up with your plan.

Next, start filling in the days and slots you need a meal for with the recipes you’ve found. Think about any nights you won’t be home for kids’ practices, nights you eat out, or nights you’re planning for leftovers. Mark those out or make a note.

You’ll also want to note any nights you want to cook but it needs to be simple or a slow cooker meal that you threw in first thing in the morning to be ready by dinnertime.

Third, you’ll need to create shopping lists. This can be done by either using recipe or meal planning apps, or by simply writing a list with a meal planning template and shopping list template yourself while looking at the recipe. It’s a little time-consuming, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not difficult.

Fourth, double-check you don’t already have those ingredients (I hate when I buy something I already had 5 of !)

Last, I suggest posting your weekly meal plans somewhere anyone can find it. This is so that if your partner needs/wants to start the meal, or even has questions about it, you always have a designated place so there are no questions.

4. Meal Planning Template With Shopping List

Meal planning templates with a shopping list can be very simple, planning only for dinners, or you can find very complex meal planning templates when you need to plan for multiple meals per day. The advantage of printing these out is that you have a very clear, organized picture of your week right in front of you.

5. Schedule in Meal Planning Every Week

One of the biggest mistakes I see beginners make is not taking the time to meal plan, and not making it a priority. If you’re serious about saving time in your week and nixing the constant anxiety about what’s for dinner- schedule in a time to sit and do meal planning every single week! 

6. Get organized

Every time I ask a client where their recipes are, I know what’s coming: “Oh they’re on my phone”. But the where is the bigger issue. I know how this works– we get going down the recipe rabbit hole on Pinterest, pin a thousand recipes that all look amazing, then we never see them again. 

Friend! Stop doing this!! If you find something you think looks fantastic and your family will love it, do yourself a HUGE favor and get organized with your recipes so you can find them again later!! I use a recipe organization app that’s amazing at analyzing nutrition information, too. They use a ‘collections’ feature to organize recipes, and (although they will have an official ‘meal planner’ feature soon within the app), I use that ‘collections’ feature to do my meal planning. Plus they generate my shopping list and you can send it any store from there for shopping– SO EASY!!

7. Save + Reuse Favorites

This one is so easy, but always easily forgotten. When you find something that everyone likes, don’t forget to save it and reuse it. These start to fall under the category I call ‘Family Faves’. What’s so great about these is that once you’ve made it a time or two, it starts to be second nature– meaning it takes you less time and brainpower to make it. Heck-some of ours I actually know all the ingredients by heart now! 

Know someone else that could use help meal planning? SHARE this post!

meal planning for beginners meal planner with grocery list