09 December 2017

Weekend Cooking: Healthy Meal Prep by Stephanie Tornatore and Adam Bannon

Review: Healthy Meal Prep by Stephanie Tornatore and Adam BannonI love the holiday season. I like the decorations, the parties and celebrations, and—of course—the food. But you know what happens when January rolls around? I’ve pretty much had it and am so, so ready to get back to real life.

The first thing I do once we’ve finished the leftovers from our annual New Year’s Eve dinner party is take hold of our diet. I don’t make resolutions; instead I simply return to sane, healthy eating.

One new cookbook that has me already looking forward to January is Stephanie Tornatore and Adam Bannon’s Healthy Meal Prep (DK, Dec. 12). You may know the pair as the hosts of YouTube’s Fit Couple Cooks.

The couple's goal is to show everyone how easy it is to eat healthfully if you take the time to plan and prep your meals. Totnatore and Bannon should know, they themselves lost weight and improved their fitness by eating the types of meals they share with their many fans.

For Tornatore and Bannon, the trick is all planning ahead, which saves time and money and guarantees they eat well. Healthy Meal Prep compiles all their best tips and tricks plus provides twelve weeks of meal plans. Each plan takes two to three hours to prep and provides a week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for a single person. Have more mouths to feed? The authors suggest that you “scale up the recipes as needed or meal prep . . . every few days instead of once a week.”

Review: Healthy Meal Prep by Stephanie Tornatore and Adam BannonEach meal plan includes an equipment list, shopping list, recipes, step-by-step directions for once-a-week cooking, tips, serving instructions, snack suggestions, vegetarian and/or vegan options, and more. There’s a full-color photo of each week’s completed meals, and each four-serving recipe is easy to follow and includes nutrition information.

The meals themselves are nutritionally balanced, are devoid of processed foods, and require no last-minute additions. Many of the dishes are also low carb, vegetarian, and low sugar. What's more, the couple's nutritious tricks are very easy to incorporate into your daily life; for example, their quick-to-make homemade ketchup is sweetened by a couple of dates instead of white sugar.

So what about the meals? Each meal plan provides six breakfasts (all the same) plus four servings each of three main meals (that’s twelve meals), which can be used for lunches or dinners. Breakfasts include make-ahead oatmeal, frittatas, yogurt cups, and pancakes. The main-meal recipes call for common, everyday ingredients to make dishes such as Mediterranean chicken with vegetables and rice, pesto salmon with roasted peppers and quinoa, black bean and lentil nachos with chips and lime, and turkey meatballs with broccoli and polenta (click the image just above to see more).

Each meal comes with assembly instructions and serving tips. So you cook one day and have twelve meals packaged and ready to eat all week. The portion sizes are satisfying for the average person, though you can, of course, adjust as needed for your own tastes.

Who will love this book? Healthy Meal Prep is geared specifically to people who are willing to cook but feel they just don’t have time during the week to put together a nutritious lunch to take to work or to get dinner going once they get home. It would also be perfect for a young person in his or her first apartment and for families with staggered eating times. People who are watching their diet for weight loss or general health can safely eat Tornatore and Bannon's meals. And, finally, I plan to use the book specifically for make-ahead lunches.

Review: Healthy Meal Prep by Stephanie Tornatore and Adam BannonAlthough I encourage motivated cooks to work their way through all twelve weeks of meals, I also strongly encourage people to mix and match the meals according their own situation. Remember, each meal makes four servings, and you can use those meals in a variety of ways.

Are Wednesday nights always a grind? Cook one meal ahead and save it for that midweek madness. Is everyone in your family on a different dinner schedule thanks to meetings, practice, and other activities? No worries; cooking ahead means there will always be a nutritious dinner ready and waiting in the refrigerator.

Cooking for a shut-in, new father, or elderly parents? With the recipes in Healthy Meal Prep and a couple hours of your time, you can be a godsend to a person in need.

Okay, what don't I like? Honestly, I don’t find much to complain about. My only real issue is this: although almost all of the meals can be eaten cold, I think the majority would be tastier heated up. That should be no problem for most workers and for at-home dining, but not everyone has access to a microwave during the day. In addition, experienced cooks may want to borrow Healthy Meal Prep from the library, reading through the tips and types of recipes so they can adapt their own family favorites to once-a-week cooking.

Watch the video to see how much fun Stephanie Tornatore and Adam Bannon have in the kitchen and to get an idea of the types of recipes you’ll find in Healthy Meal Prep.

(Note: all images in this post are from Healthy Meal Prep and are used in the context of this review (any blurriness is totally my fault). All rights remain with the original copyright holder: DK Publishing. Thanks to the publicist for a review copy; all thoughts are my honest opinion.)
Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

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rhapsodyinbooks 12/9/17, 7:18 AM  

Makes me wish I had more energy. I love the concept, but cooking a lot at once sounds like too much work for me. (which is of course irrational since if you apportion out the work during the week it would come out the same!)

gluten Free A_Z Blog 12/9/17, 7:51 AM  

Sounds like a worthwhile read- eating healthy is all in the planning and if this book can make it easier I'm all for it!

Molly 12/9/17, 8:56 AM  

I don't make resolutions, but I do try to start each new year with a small list of lifestyle changes I want to focus on. Eating more healthy, home-cooked meals tops the list for 2018 - in part because this weekly blog feature has inspired me to return to the kitchen :)

This book sounds wonderful (although I will probably do as you suggest and mix-and-match the meals. My issue isn't so much lack of time as lack of motivation).

In the meantime, I think I will check out their YouTube videos!

Jackie McGuinness 12/9/17, 9:46 AM  

I think a lot of meal planning is just common sense that more experienced cooks like ourselves have figured out.

I also like when everything gets back to normal.

Tina 12/9/17, 10:23 AM  

About the only resolutions I make involve book challenges. We try and eat healthy year round with the occasional cheeseburger or pizza so holidays don’t bother me too much, eating wise. I love the sound of this and absolutely agree planning is essential.

Claudia 12/9/17, 11:14 AM  

This book reminds me, from your description, of the Food 52 A New Way to Dinner book, with all the planning ahead and healthy meals prep for the coming week. Good ideas in both.

Les in Oregon 12/9/17, 11:42 AM  

This might be a good cookbook for me to peruse from the library. My husband's doctor has told him he needs to watch his carbs/sugars since his family has a history of diabetes and his labs indicate he's borderline. It also might give me some new ideas for meals to prep ahead of time for our camping adventures. Off to watch the video...

Deb in Hawaii 12/9/17, 12:24 PM  

Great review. When I was teaching a lot of healthy cooking classes, I always focused on meal planning as a great way to eat healthy for people who lack much time on a daily basis to cook meals. This sounds like a good book to refer people to. I know for me, making a big batch of soup on Sundays to eat during the week is helpful when I need to pull out a quick lunch or dinner and I'm too busy or tired to think about it. Thanks for sharing. ;-)

Daniela 12/9/17, 1:20 PM  

Dear Beth,

thank you heartily for the lovely comment you left on ~ My little old world ~ - I sincerely appreciate it !
I'd love to follow your blog, so I'm going to make copy-paste of the URL of your web page :)

Sending blessings of joy on your weekend

XOXO Daniela at ~ My little old world ~ (Dany)

Nan 12/9/17, 1:22 PM  

I was just telling my daughter the other day that 30 years ago or so people were eating differently. There were a number of things thought to increase cancer risk - grilling outdoors, luncheon meats, bacon, red meat in general. And now those four things are hugely popular. A book like this is so important, but yet people really should know by now what is good for them and what isn't, and that there are always choices. People have always eaten french fries. Now I see them, not only deep fat fried potatoes but topped with cheese and gravy. My daughter and I were looking at a restaurant menu online the other day and she used the word 'gluttony.' I kinda think that's true. It seems people just eat and eat, and not the best things for them.

Vicki 12/9/17, 3:28 PM  

I'm going to see if my library has this book.

Mae Travels 12/9/17, 7:58 PM  

@ Nan -- The idea that American people's meat consumption is higher now than 30 years ago is interesting, but not accurate. Beef consumption in the US peaked in 1985 and has been declining since then. Pork consumption (including bacon, obviously) peaked in 1980. Consumption of turkey, fish, and chicken have also declined in recent years. Maybe people are actually getting the message that too much meat isn't a good thing.

Several quite reliable sources present the historic meat consumption info in various ways -- a clear one is here:

@rhapsodyin books -- I agree with you that the method of doing all the cooking at once seems to be too much work all at once. Also, I think I like the possibility of changing my mind about what to eat on any given day, not figuring it all out on Sunday when I don't know what I'll feel like for dinner next Thursday.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

bermudaonion 12/9/17, 10:05 PM  

This sounds perfect for someone like Vance - he likes home cooked food but doesn't have time to cook on a daily basis. I think I'll check it out to see if it would be a good gift for him.

(Diane) bookchickdi 12/15/17, 8:47 AM  

I love the video- I’m going to subscribe to their channel and look for the book

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