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4 Meals 1 Prep: New Years Jumpstart Edition

dairy freedinnergluten freehealthylunchmeal preprefined sugar freevegan

It’s simple. It’s tasty. It’s cleansing. It’s resolution-proof. It’s my New Years edition of 4 Meals 1 Prep! I originally started making these healthy meal prep series because I love having delicious, veggie-packed meals ready to go, but hate eating the same thing every day. Unless it’s cookies and mashed potatoes, then that pretty much sums up my December. Basically ~some~ of us need to get back on track and jumpstart a healthy New Year. If that hits home, this vegan meal plan’s for you– and a friend because this plan makes four dinners for two people!

The idea behind 4 Meals 1 Prep is simple. You do prep one day, and then have four delicious, completely unique dinners in 10 minutes or less for the week ahead. The recipes I’ve created for this edition are the definition of a flavor adventure– because I think every New Year should be a sampling of trying new things. I’ve pulled inspiration from my favorite dishes from around the world– Thailand, Morocco, Mexico…. you’re going to love it!

What’s inside this week’s healthy meal plan:

3 genius cooking hacks to make you an at-home chef

I’m giving you THREE of my best healthy cooking secrets so you, too, can drool over the results of your labor from this week’s delicious meal prep.

  1. How to keep fresh herbs SUPER fresh: Put the herbs stem-side down in a cup or mason jar with water. Cover it with a Ziplock bag, seal it at the bottom with a rubber band, and store in fridge. Basil is the exception, which should be kept at room temperature. See the technique here.
  2. How to maximize garlic’s powerful health benefits. Chop the garlic at the beginning of cooking and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. This activates a component called allicin which has antimicrobial, anti-tumor, antibacterial properties and is shown to reduce inflammation and disease. You’ll add the garlic to your skillet or pot at the very end of the cooking process to preserve the allicin and, also, ensure the garlic doesn’t burn.
  3. How to sneak more veggies into your meals. Instead of serving a dish with just white rice, mix in sautéed cauliflower rice to form a blend. It’s one of my all-time favorite tricks for getting in more vegetables in a way where you can’t even taste it.

Grocery List for 4 Meals 1 Prep: New Years Jumpstart Edition

Think of this grocery list as a celebration of how easy it is to eat delicious, nutritious meals all week long.

(Serves 2)

PANTRY

  • 1.5 cups uncooked beluga lentils (can sub french green or le puy)
  • 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
  • 1 sourdough batard or loaf (the best you can find– if gluten-free, substitute with gluten-free bread)
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 4.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup raw pistachios
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
  • Sesame seeds, to garnish
  • Red pepper flakes, to garnish (optional)
  • Fine grain mineral or sea salt
  • Olive or avocado oil

FROZEN

  • 2 cups cauliflower rice (1 small bag)

PRODUCE

  • 1 raw red beet
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 small heads of broccoli
  • 1 bunch of basil (2 oz large container)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 2 medjool or deglet noor dates
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 limes
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 medium yellow onion

How to make this healthy vegan meal prep

  1. Peel and grate the carrots⁣ and the beet. ⁣Store them in individual sealed containers in the refrigerator.
  2. Roughly chop the broccoli, discarding only the woodiest parts of the stems. Then, place it in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
  3. Slice the sourdough bread about the thickness of sandwich bread. Put two slices in the fridge and store the rest in the freezer.⁣
  4. Make the lentils. Combine the uncooked black lentils in a pot with the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain the lentils of any excess liquid, then store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.⁣
  5. Make the rice. In a large pot, combine the rice with 2 cups of water and a generous amount of salt. Bring it to a boil. Then, cover it and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it sit covered for 20 more minutes.⁣
  6. In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm a drizzle of oil. Add the cauliflower rice and a generous pinch of salt to sauté until browning at the edges. Then, mix the jasmine rice in with the cauliflower rice. Once combined, place it into a sealed container and store it in the refrigerator.⁣
  7. Place the cilantro and parsley stem side down in a cup with water. Cover them with a plastic bag and seal it at the bottom with a rubber band. Store them in the refrigerator (this keeps them super fresh!). leave basil at room temp. ⁣

Recipe #1: Larb-Inspired Tamari-Spiced Black Lentils with All the Herbs⁣

larb-inspired tamari-spiced black lentils with herbs

This recipe is loosely inspired by one of my all-time favorite Thai dishes, Larb, which is typically made from ground beef, a delicious blend of Thai spices, and ALL the fresh herbs. ⁣Instead of beef, I chose lentils as the protein because they’re a TOP functional food, meaning their nutrient value is so high, they could be used medicinally. This recipe gets an additional, big ol’ health boost from fresh basil and cilantro. Repeat after me: use ALL the fresh herbs to eat ALL the therapeutic benefits. This really cool study in India found that ingesting high levels of cilantro produced the same anti-anxiety effects as the prescription drug, Valium (Diazepam)! So, put on your happy song and eat up.

(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • A drizzle of avocado or olive oil
  • 1.5 cups prepared lentils
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 container of fresh basil
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, with or without stems
  • 2 cups white rice/cauliflower rice blend
  • 1 lime, cut in 2 halves
  • Sesame seeds, to garnish
  • Red pepper flakes, to garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Add a drizzle of oil to a skillet and place it over medium heat. Add the prepared lentils with tamari, toasted sesame oil, onion powder, garlic powder, and maple syrup.
  2. Toss them together and cook until warmed through, stirring regularly. ⁣
  3. Chop the basil and cilantro, leaving the non-woody stems on the cilantro. ⁣
  4. Warm the cauliflower/rice mixture in the microwave or on the stove. Once warm, divide it between 2 bowls.
  5. Divide lentil mixture between the 2 bowls, and top each dish with half the herbs.
  6. Squeeze lime juice on each bowl. Garnish with red pepper flakes and sesame seeds, as desired. ⁣Enjoy!

Recipe #2: Beet, Carrot, and Pistachio Moroccan-Spiced Salad

Beet and Carrot Moroccan-Spiced Salad

If you’re a salad-hater, I challenge you to feel anything but impressed while eating this one. I’m a newfound salad convert, and I can confidently say that this is one of my all-time favorites. It’s a version of a recipe from my Healthier Together cookbook, which remixes two of my favorite things: a French classic carrot salad and traditional Moroccan spices. It also has fresh parsley, which is one of the best herbs for our health, and pistachios, which are heart-healthy and shown to lower cholesterol. When I have this salad prepped and ready in my fridge (the longer the flavors mingle, the better they get), it literally assuages my anxiety as much as a meditation session. ⁣

(Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • All the grated beet (from 1 beet)
  • All the grated carrots (from 2 carrots)
  • 1/2 cup raw pistachios
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
  • A big pinch of fine grain salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 cup cooked lentils

Instructions:

  1. On a cutting board, mince the garlic clove and then roughly chop the pistachios, pitted dates, and parsley.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the grated beet, carrots, chopped pistachios, and dates. Then, add the cumin, cinnamon, paprika, minced garlic, parsley, salt, olive oil, and lemon juice.
  3. Once combined, stir in the cooked lentils. Divide between 2 bowls and enjoy!

Recipe #3: Charred Broccoli and Black Lentils over Sourdough with Jalapeño Garden Sauce

Charred Broccoli and Black Lentils over Sourdough
This one might be my favorite recipe out of this whole series. The flavor (and the aesthetic) is like something you’d get at a boujee, farm-to-table restaurant, but it only takes 5 minutes to make. Plus, this recipe uses my hack on how to to make bread WAY better for your gut and your blood sugar. The trick is: buy sourdough– the best sourdough you can find. Sourdough bread is already fermented, which is shown to be easier to digest, have less gluten, and has a lower glycemic index than other types of bread. Get ready for the most elevated toast of your life.

(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • All the remaining basil
  • All the remaining parsley, remove any woody stems
  • 1/2 of a jalapeño, seeds and stem removed
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
  • A big pinch of salt
  • Olive oil
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread
  • Half of the broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
  • All the remaining lentils

Instructions:

  1. Make the Garden Sauce. Add the basil and parsley to a food processor with the jalapeño, lime juice, garlic, honey or maple syrup, salt, and just enough olive oil to make it saucy. Blend until smooth, adding more olive oil if it needs more liquid. Set aside.⁣
  2. Place a pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a drizzle of olive oil. Toast the sourdough bread in the pan, flipping once golden on the bottom.
  3. Put a skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle it with olive oil and add the broccoli pieces. Toss occasionally until it’s brown and crispy on most edges. Mix in the lentils and heat until warmed through and evenly combined.
  4. Put each piece of toasted bread on a plate. Spoon a heap of the garden sauce on top of each slice. Then, add the lentil-broccoli mixture, and dollop any remaining sauce on top. ⁣Enjoy!

Recipe #4: Lemony Broccoli Rice Soup

healthy lemony broccoli soup

You made it to Day 4 of 4 Meals 1 Prep, aka the day you celebrate how easy it was to eat delicious, nutritious meals all week long. ⁣For the last healthy recipe, we have a soup worthy of a hundred chef’s kisses. It involves making a quick broccoli rice with your leftover broccoli stems (one of the BEST uses for cruciferous stems) and sauté that with the cauliflower/white rice mixture, which, after being cooled, is now a resistant starch and WAY better for your blood sugar and gut bacteria). To learn more about resistant starch, check out my recent podcast episode! You’re also employing one of my favorite healthy cooking hacks—chopping garlic at the BEGINNING of cooking, and adding it at the VERY end, cooking it just enough to take the sharp edge off but preserve all that powerful, health-boosting allicin. ⁣

(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • All the remaining broccoli
  • A drizzle of olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • Remaining 1/2 jalapeño, chopped with seeds removed
  • Remaining cauliflower rice
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • Juice of remaining lemon (1/2 lemon)
  • All remaining cilantro
  • Any remaining herbs (if there were left-overs)

Instructions:

  1. Mince the garlic cloves and chop the onion, the cilantro, and any remaining herbs. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the broccoli a few times. If you don’t have a food processor, finely chop it.
  3. In a medium pot, add a drizzle of olive or avocado oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, broccoli rice, and chopped jalapeño until brown at the edges. Add the remaining cauliflower rice, garlic, and vegetable broth. Bring it to a simmer, then turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice and the cilantro and any other remaining herbs.
  4. Divide between 2 bowls, and enjoy!

More healthy meal prep recipes

I hope you enjoyed 4 Meals 1 Prep: New Years Jumpstart Edition!

If you did, I’d so appreciate if you’d share it with a friend, so we can grow our little fam and keep getting healthier together! If you have an idea on what the next meal prep theme should be, comment below! Tag me on Instagram (@lizmoody) when you share your food pics!

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