There are a lot of benefits to meal prepping in order to create multiple meals or snacks for the upcoming week. It can reduce stress, save time and money, and help you and your loved ones eat healthier. Think of having lunches already prepped so you don’t have to spend time making them every morning, or stress about what you’re going to make. Not buying a lunch every day is easier on your wallet as well! And, it’s so nice to come home knowing what’s for dinner because it’s prepped and ready to cook in a jiffy.
It can be difficult to maintain your healthiest lifestyle when the pace of your schedule picks up. Sometimes, it seems easier to go for what’s more convenient rather than what’s healthy. Planning your meals in advance can not only save you time during the week, it can also save you money and stress. We’ve put together a simple guide to creating your meal plan for the week.
Get PreparedBefore you go grocery shopping, it helps to have a game plan. Set aside about an hour or so to create your weekly strategy. There are a number of ways to get started! You’ll find dozens of deals in your local Sprouts’ weekly flyer, the digital version is only a click away online and our Deals of the Month flyer is available in-store. A super-easy way to find deals, coupons and even create a shopping list is with our app—it’s available for both the Apple and Android, so you can easily download it on your smartphone! It’s simple to save money when you plan around sales.
Filling it All inNow you’re ready to start filling in your weekly meal plan. If using your smartphone to create a list isn’t your thing, you can print off a copy of our handy template and start filling in your meals and snacks. Whether you choose digital or analog, a great way to begin planning the week’s meals is with your family’s favorites, filling in around those days you usually serve a certain dinner. Similarly, you’ll want to add any special meals, like birthdays or friends joining you. Stumped on what to have for breakfast, pack for lunch or make for dinner? We have tons of great meal ideas and inspiration on our recipes page.
Shopping with EaseOne of the most frustrating parts about grocery shopping can be bouncing from department to department looking for all the items on your shopping list. When you make your list, break it down by department, grouping like items together. This approach allows you to check off all the items on the list before moving on to the next department—your weekly shopping will be done in no time! (Our weekly meal-planning guide is great because it includes a shopping list which is already divided by department for you.) Did you know? The average American household throws out 25% of their groceries—meal planning can help cut down on food waste!
As everyone gets back into the groove of school, schedules become more and more crowded. Packed schedules don’t have to always mean that packed lunches get moved to the wayside. Step aside crustless PB&Js, we’re here to make health taste great. Here are six new inspired lunch ideas your kiddos will love to eat and you’ll be proud to make. Bonus: added notes with jokes or fun facts are always a hit.
Brain BoosterIt’s time to get those little gears turnin’! Easy to assemble, the Brain Booster Lunch packs some nutritious punch with healthy fats from the eggs and a vitamin-rich berry medley.
- Sunflower seed butter
- Boiled eggs
- Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips
- Broccoli with ranch dipping sauce
- Mixed berries
Yippee for Vitamin CBursting with vitamin C, the colorful fruits and veggies in this lunch will help keep your kiddos’ immune systems strong.
- Clementine orange
- Red bell pepper
- Yogurt dip made from Mountain High Yogurt
- PB&J quesadilla
- Annie’s Berry Patch fruit snacks
Brunch BoxWhen your kid can’t get enough of breakfast, pack it up again for lunch! Super easy to assemble in a snap, your kids will love the theme. Pro tip: cut the waffles into strips after you toast them so the pieces are easy to dip.
- Sprouts Multigrain Waffle strips
- Syrup for dipping
- Fresh cut fruit
- Sprouts Vanilla Greek Yogurt
- Cascadian Farm Granola or Cereal
Colors of the RainbowAlmost too pretty to eat, these assorted colorful goodies are sure to put a smile on their faces. From the red cherry tomatoes to the purple wrap bites, these ingredients will provide natural antioxidants and nutrients that taste just as good as they look.
- Cherry tomatoes
- Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies
- Snap peas
- Cream Cheese & Turkey Wrap, cut into bite-size pieces
- Purple corn tortilla
- Whipped cream cheese
- Sliced turkey
Plant-Based BentoCheck all the macronutrient boxes, with a plant-based lunch box. Proteins? Check. Healthy fats? Check. Complex carbs? Check. You probably already have most of these ingredients in your pantry!
- Three bean salad: kidney, black and garbanzo beans, diced cucumber, your choice of dressing, parsley
- Banana roll ups: Sprouts Artisan Corn Tortillas, sunflower seed butter, banana
- Food Should Taste Good Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
- Sprouts Hummus
Protein-Packed BoxProtein doesn’t always have to come from meat. Your kids’ favorite foods, like cheese and peanut butter, have plenty of protein too. The sharp taste of cheese goes just right with the sweet grapes.
- Cheddar cheese cubes
- Sprouts Organic Golden Round Crackers
- Leftover roasted chicken
- Cascadian Farm Peanut Pretzel Bars
Did you know?
Composting improves soil’s ability to retain water, which may help you save money on the water bill!
Aerobic Bacteria vs. Anaerobic BacteriaComposting can be a carefully curated cast of characters. True, it’s easy enough to pile your leftover fruit and veggie kitchen scraps in with lawn clippings and leaves to create a basic compost. That will yield results—eventually. But if you’re interested in attaining some DIY soil a little more quickly, or curious to know more, here are some of the key characters you’ll want to become familiar with in order to direct the best production.
The Cast of Characters
Compost Heroes: Aerobic BacteriaThese little powerhouses are the star of the show. They need oxygen (aerobic) to help break down all the matter you put in your compost bin. To create nutrient-rich matter in a timely manner, you need the right environment to encourage a healthy population of these good guys.
The Baddies: Anaerobic BacteriaThese guys steal the scene when the pile has gotten compacted and has little to no air flow. Because they thrive in an airless environment (anaerobic), they have the power to overwhelm the population of the aerobic bacteria. A burgeoning population of anaerobic bacteria can bring composting to a near standstill.
Browns: Carbonaceous MatterCarbon-rich matter, or browns as they’re also known, are like the carbs in the diet of those good-guy bacteria. Think of browns like the colors they often are: dried grass cuttings, dried leaves, sawdust and shredded newspaper.
Greens: Nitrogen-Rich MatterThose hero bacteria also need to consume protein—enter the nitrogen-rich matter, or greens. These are your kitchen scraps from fruits and veggies, as well as things like coffee grounds (and your coffee filters, though technically, they are a brown) and green grass clippings.
WaterWater stars as herself in this mellow-drama. You’ll need the right amount of moisture to ensure your good-guy bacteria neither drown nor dehydrate.
PitchforkThis character enters to stir things up when the plot … uh, compost thickens.
Use Your NoseProperly tended, compost does not smell! Rather, it does not smell bad—it should smell rich and earthy. Here are some troubleshooting tips if your compost develops an unsavory scent. An ammonia odor means you have too much nitrogen-rich, green matter. Adding some browns to the pile, like shredded newspaper, dried leaves or straw, and giving it a swirl with the pitchfork should help immensely. Also, compost that has been layered, but not turned recently can emit this eye-watering aroma. Smells like sulfurous rotting eggs? If the pile is too damp or has become too compacted the result is a distinctive undesirable odor. If it’s been layered too tightly, simply turning the pile may alleviate the odorific problem. If it’s too wet, adding some carbonaceous materials and turning the pile will help give our compost heroes, the aerobic bacteria, a chance to breathe and thrive.
Happy EndingOur bacterial heroes require a proper ratio of green/nitrogen-rich to brown/carbonaceous matter or N:C. This proportion can be anywhere from 50:50 to 20:80 depending on environmental conditions and how quickly you want your pile to become useable. Additionally, they are living organisms and require a balance of air and water which you’ll achieve by turning the pile (aeration) and occasionally watering it if it becomes too dry. Ultimately, your compost pile should look like dirt when it’s done, with an earthy smell (not like decayed, rotted food) and you shouldn’t be able to recognize any of the matter you added to it earlier.
Did you know?
The rapid composting method, also known as the Berkeley Method, can effectively create compost in as little as 14 days!
Give into that sweet tooth craving- thank us later. Pile on scoops of gelato for a sweet, melt-in-your-mouth kind of bite. This is a fun way to get kids involved with cooking and an even better way to save time on dish washing, because you’ll be eating the bowl!
- Foodstirs Organic Chocolate Chippy Cookie Mix
- Sprouts Organic Vanilla Gelato
- 1 egg
- 6 Tbsp. Sprouts Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- Chocolate sauce, for drizzling
- Sprouts Maraschino Cherries, optional
- Wooden spoon
- Mixing bowl
- Set of measuring spoons
- Mixer (optional)
- Muffin tin
- Cooking spray
- 5-inch round disk cookie cutter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Using a hand mixer or wooden spoon, blend butter until smooth. Add egg and Organic Chocolate Chippy Cookie Mix and continue blending mixture until dough is formed.
- Grease bottom of muffin tin. Roll out dough on floured surface to 1/3 inch thickness. Cut 5-inch round disks from dough. Cover one disk over the bottom of each muffin tin, pressing to form smooth surface.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
- Cool on pan for 10 minutes, then carefully loosen bottom edges of cookies from pan using spatula. Allow cups to cool completely on wire cooling rack.
- Fill up cookie cups with Sprouts Organic Vanilla Gelato, and drizzle with your favorite chocolate sauce. Enjoy!
Did you know there is a difference between soil and dirt? Soil is nutrient-rich because it contains microorganisms, decaying organic matter, earthworms and other helpful insects. Dirt lacks all of those nourishing and living things. Even earthworms will not thrive in dirt—composting to the rescue! You can turn your dirt into soil with these composting steps.
What is Compost?Compost is a mixture of decaying organic material that helps to fertilize soil. At its simplest form, you can easily make compost by taking your vegetable-based kitchen scraps and yard waste like leaves and grass, putting them in a pile, and letting nature decompose it into nutrient-rich fertilizer for your house plants, garden or plants in your yard.
1. Pile vs. BinDecide whether you’re a super-DIYer and want to build a place for a compost pile in your yard or you’d rather use a bin. There are loads of simple plans for containing a compost pile online as well as various types of compost bins. Choose whichever best suits you.
2. PlacementYou’ll want to find a spot in your yard to place your composting bin or pile. Ideally, this spot is not too sunny and easy to access from your kitchen. (The easier it is, the more apt you’ll be to continue your new composting routine!)
3. Save up StuffYou’ve got your bin or pile space all situated and ready to go, now’s the time to rake your yard for dried leaves to use as the base of your pile. You’ll also want to start saving kitchen scraps of veggies and fruits. (Remember, no animal products can make their way into your compost pile!)
4. LayeringIdeally, you’ll want to have about three times as much dried matter to the wetter fruit and veggie scraps from your kitchen. Put down the dried matter first, then add your kitchen scraps on top. Add a layer of soil and a little water to moisten and there you have it—your beginning compost pile!
5. TurningYou’ll need to turn your compost from time to time. Also, if it is dry, give it a little water. If it smells, it has too much water, add some crushed leaves (not more kitchen scraps), turn it and that should do the trick! If it’s really dry, it needs to be turned and watered, or add more fruit and vegetable scraps.
6. Ready to UseYou’ll know your compost is ready to use when it looks like dark rich soil. Add it to your houseplants or garden—they’ll love you and so will the environment! Tip: Crushing or shredding your dried yard leaves and cutting your kitchen scraps into smaller pieces will help your compost turn into usable compost more quickly.
Did you know?
Crushed egg shells are the only exception to the no-animal products rule in composting. Including them in your compost pile adds calcium—an important nutrient in helping plants build cell walls!
The WhyNourishing to your plants, the environment and even your own wellbeing, composting is a pretty easy and straightforward endeavor. The EPA reports food and yard waste make up 20–30% of what we throw away. When those food and yard scraps make their way into the landfill, they break down anaerobically (without oxygen) and release methane. The less of this greenhouse gas we are able to produce, the better for the environment. Knowing you’re making a difference by utilizing those scraps to feed your plants and help the environment is good for you too!
Video Description: Creating & maintaining a compost pile is easy, here’s the 411 on how you can get started!
What If You Don’t Garden?Even if you don’t garden in what you might think of as the traditional sense by growing your own fruits and vegetables, you might have a yard full of plants that could benefit from the extra nutrients in your DIY soil. Even without a yard, there are still plenty of things to do with your compost. If you have houseplants, they’ll benefit from the extra nutrients. Local schools may have garden programs and would welcome compost, likewise for community or urban gardens in your neighborhood. If you like the idea of composting but don’t have space to dedicate to it, look for a curbside composting service in your area. These kinds of services usually provide the bins and all the education you’ll need to get composting quickly!
How to Get Started CompostingYou can learn how to start composting in our article Composting: How-to Basics. You’ll find even more details and helpful tips in our article Composting Cast of Characters.
Did you know?
Methane gas is 30 times more potent than CO2 (carbon dioxide), another greenhouse gas.
How to Clean a Grill in Three Steps
This natural and non-toxic grill cleaner produced by food journalist, Kate Kordsmeier of Root + Revel, is a must during summer! Homemade grill cleaner is not only safer and cheaper, but also makes a perfect Father’s Day gift. You just need four natural ingredients (no harmful ammonia) to clean your grill grates, improve taste, reduce gas expenses and prevent rust!
- 1 Tbsp. Baking soda
- 1 Tbsp. Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds
- 1 Tbsp. Cleaning vinegar (can substitute distilled white vinegar)
- 1 ball Aluminum foil, or grill brush if preferred)
- 2 Tbsp. Sprouts Avocado Oil Spray
- Fill a shallow tin (I recommend an aluminum baking tin) with boiling water and stick it in the lit grill. Close the lid and let steam for 10 minutes to loosen any dirt, grime and stuck on food. Remove water pan and turn off heat when ready to clean.
- Meanwhile, combine baking soda and Sal Suds with 12 ounces of warm water. Pour into a glass bottle fitted with a sprayer and add vinegar. Gently swirl to combine. Spray cleaning mixture onto grill to thoroughly coat the grates. Ball up aluminum foil until it’s the size of a baseball and scour the grill to clean. If you prefer a grill brush, that works great too.
- Once the grill is clean, spray avocado oil onto a paper towel and give your grill a quick wipe over to stop it from rusting and season it for future use.
Meet Our Food BloggerKate Kordsmeier is a food journalist and restaurant reporter turned real food expert after her own chronic health issues (PCOS, Hypothyroidism + IBS/Leaky Gut) catapulted her into a long journey of trying to heal her body naturally. Today, she blogs full-time over at Root + Revel, a natural living site helping people strike the balance between good and good for you.
Still searching for a last minute Father’s Day gift? Check out these DIY gift baskets your dad will love!Father’s Day is coming up fast, and you may still be looking for the perfect gift for dad. A gift basket personalized just for him is a great, practical gift any dad would be excited to receive. Get some inspiration from these easy, DIY gift basket ideas created by our friends at Fresh Mommy Blog; Food, Pleasure & Health; and Root + Revel!
The Manly Pampering Gift Basket by Fresh Mommy BlogWhile dads might not purchase pampering items for themselves, it doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy a manly pampering gift basket, or a “man-pering” basket! Impress dad with natural products that smell incredible and give him the gift of taking his morning routine up to the next level.
From the grocery section:
- Lucky Jack and Sumptown Cold Brew Coffee
- Tillamook Country Smoker Beef Jerky
From the body care section:
- Cologne – Dusk by Herban Cowboy
- Aftershave – Dusk by Herban Cowboy
- Beard Oil – Bull Dog
- Soap –The Grandpa Soap Pine Bar
- Razor – Every Man Jack
- Deodorant – Dusk by Herban Cowboy
- Body brush or natural sponge – Bass Brushes
From a craft store:
- Start with a color theme! Choosing a color theme really completes the overall look of the gift. While browsing the bath and personal care aisles of Sprouts, the masculine, neutral color theme of black and brown popped, not only because so many of the men’s products fell into this color range, but I truly loved the packaging and the scents.
- Gather any items that would make dad feel special, and don’t forget the little touches that he might not purchase for himself. A cologne is a top gift for dads, as well as shaving products. Add some soap and deodorant, as well as a body scrubber, to complete his pampering routine.
- Next, it’s time to add a few extra treats. I stuck with a masculine theme, and our color scheme as well, and went for beef jerky.
- Don’t forget something to drink! What does the dad in your life love to drink? You could find a good beer, and I love that Sprouts stocks their beer section with local brews, so there’s always something new to discover. Is dad a coffee drinker? There are some amazing cold brew available, too. Whatever you choose, try and stick with the color theme.
- Choose an unexpected container to use as a gift basket! A tool box or wooden tool chest, a cooler or an ice bucket… the list goes on and on. A great container is like a gift in itself.
- Once you’ve settled on a container, load it up with the goods and some shredded paper, which helps with the natural masculine feel, keeping in mind height and placement.
- Give dad his gift and watch his face light up!
Grilling Guru Gift Basket by Food, Pleasure and HealthSurprise your dad with a gift basket filled with essentials for both indoor and outdoor grilling.
Supplies:From the grocery section:
- Sprouts Original Barbecue Sauce
- Sprouts Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
- Colgin Liquid Smoke Natural Hickory Original
- Sprouts Avocado Oil
- Sprouts Grapeseed Oil Spray
- Organic Sprouts White Corn Tortilla Chips
- Farmhouse Culture Zesty Garden Veggie Kraut Krisps
- 2 boxes Sprouts Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese
- LaCroix Natural Lime Sparkling Water
- Pamela’s Honey Grahams Graham Style Crackers
- Sprouts 54% Cocoa Dark Chocolate Bar
- Sprouts Toffee Caramel 33% Milk Chocolate Bar
- Cabo Fresh Authentic Guacamole
- Mocajete Salsa Roja Cup
- Sprouts Broccoli Slaw
- Mix of veggies, like bell peppers, squash, onions
- Fresh ground chicken breast
- Butcher Shop boneless, skinless chicken breast
- Everyone Lavender & Aloe Lotion
- Everyone 3-In-1 Lavender & Aloe Soap
- Basket or galvanized tub
- Tissue paper
- Cellophane bag
- Gather all the supplies from your favorite craft store such as basket, galvanized tub, cooler, riser, tissue paper or fabric for décor.
- Purchase all the groceries including produce, meat, condiments and personal items from your local Sprouts.
- Lay the basket or galvanized tub flat on a floor and put empty cardboard box or riser for height.
- Cover the riser/cardboard box with tissue paper or fabric.
- Arrange the non-perishable ingredients – think about color combination and height to make it visually appealing.
- Cover with cellophane bag, bows or other decorations as desired.
- Add ice to the cooler and pack it with perishable items like produce, raw meat, etc.
Mindful Man Gift Basket by Root + RevelThis Father’s Day, instead of picking just one gift for your mindful man, how about putting together a fun collection of delicious, yet healthy, foods and practical personal care products that he is bound to love?
Supplies:From the grocery section:
- Hope Foods Buffalo Blue Hummus
- Sprouts Organic Blue Corn Chips
- Surf Sweets Organic Candy
- Sprouts Organic Pink Salt Popcorn with Coconut Oil
- Sprouts Organic Salt + Vinegar Chips
- Sprouts Organic Teriyaki Beef Jerky
- Sprouts Thai Chili Beef Jerky
- Wild Tonic Blackberry Mint Jun Kombucha
- La Colombe Draft Latte in Vanilla and Mocha
- Dr. Bronner’s Shaving soap
- EveryOne soap for Every Man
- EO Lotion for Men
- Badger Anti-Bug Balm
- Badger Beard Oil
- Sprouts Salt Stone Deodorant
- Gaia Herbs Male Libido Supplement
- Rather than using a girly gift basket that the Father in your life will likely toss or forget about entirely, wrap all these healthy goodies up in something they’ll actually use. I opted for a veggie grill wok because what dad doesn’t love to grill?
- Gift and watch dad enjoy all his goodies!
Need a last minute Mother’s Day gift? Look no further than these DIY gift baskets your mom will love! Mother’s Day is just around the corner and you may be rushing to find the perfect gift for mom. A gift basket made by you is a thoughtful, practical and personalized gift that any mother in your life will cherish. Check out these easy, DIY gift basket ideas created by our friends at Fresh Mommy Blog; Food, Pleasure & Health; and One Lovely Life!
The Ultimate Pampering Gift Bundle by Fresh Mommy BlogIf anyone needs a little pampering in their lives, it’s the mamas of the world! Give her the gift she may not give herself – everything she needs for an evening of relaxation and pampering.
- Body Wash – Nubian Heritage Patchouli & Buriti
- Body Lotion – Nubian Heritage Patchouli & Buriti
- Body Scrub – Nubian Heritage Patchouli & Buriti
- Pretty Soap – Sappohill Oatmeal Soap Bar
- Candle – Tru Mélange Harmony Vanilla & Peppermint
- Bath Bomb
- Body brush or natural sponge
- Wine – Gérard Bertrand Coté des Roses
- Hand towels
- Start with a color theme! While browsing the bath and beauty aisles of Sprouts, I landed on the theme of blush and vanilla. The Nubian Heritage bottles were pretty, and the perfect start to our themed basket. The product also smelled fantastic!
- Gather any items that would make bath-time a pampering and relaxing experience. In keeping with the vanilla theme, the Tru Mélange candle fit right in. The pumice stone and brush combo matched, and so did the oatmeal soap.
- Next, it was time to add a few extra treats. Chocolates are definitely part of a pampering experience, and I picked up a couple containers of various chocolates to put in mason jars to add to the look and feel of the gift basket. You could use goodie bags, add ribbon, tags, etc.
- Don’t forget something to drink! Mom’s favorite tea, coffee or wine makes a great pairing for a night of pampering. Rosé is not only a top choice, it’s also a beautiful one! This bottle of Gérard Bertrand Coté des Roses was stunning and I knew the bottle could even be reused later.
- Grab a beautiful bouquet to top off the basket, and you’re ready to go!
- Using towels, wash cloths or even a robe, begin to build the ultimate pampering basket by layering the items so each is visible and compliments the others.
Loves to Cook Bundle by Food, Pleasure & HealthEach item in this basket is hand-picked for moms who are adventurous cooks and are ready for more finesse in the kitchen.
- 1 Woven basket
- A few empty cardboard boxes or risers, for height
- Tissue paper or fabric
- Mason jars, for food ingredients
- Optional: Bows, cellophane bag, ribbons, etc.
- Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
- Sprouts Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sprouts Flat Bread Crackers
- Nut Thins
- Sprouts Quinoa Pesto
- Bulk Department items, like pistachio, dried chickpeas
- Sprouts Organic Spicy Red Tahini
- Tate’s Double Chocolate Cookies
- Original Macadamia Milk
- Sprouts Sparkling Lemonade
- Bouquet of Lilies
- Greeting card
- Gather all of the supplies from your favorite craft store and ingredients from Sprouts.
- Lay the basket flat on the floor and put empty cardboard box or riser inside for height.
- Cover the riser/cardboard box with tissue paper or fabric.
- Arrange the ingredients; think about color combination and height to make it visually appealing.
- Cover with cellphone bag, bows or other decorations as desired.
Natural Beauty Bundle by One Lovely LifeThis gorgeous basket is full of natural beauty favorites—from makeup to self-care and more. This is the perfect gift for the beauty lover in your life.
- Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides – Single Size
- Giovanni 2Chic Tangerine & Papaya Butter Ultra Volume Shampoo & Conditioner
- Schmidt’s Rose & Vanilla Deodorant
- AuraCacia Comforting Geranium Aromatherapy Mineral Bath Soak
- Andalou Naturals Instant Hydration Hydro Serum Facial Mask
- Mineral Fusion Nail Lacquer in Coral Reef
- Sprouts Vegan Lip Balm in Cherry Berry
- Mineral Fusion Volumizing Mineral Mascara – in Jet
- Mineral Fusion Sheer Moisture Lip Tint – in Smolder
- Sprouts Almond Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar
- Theo Organic Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar
- MadeCasse Madagascar Toasted Coconut Dark Chocolate Bar
- Assemble all items in your favorite basket or bag.
- Give along with fresh flowers.