One of my favorite takeout-fakeout recipes…healthy Meal Prep Burrito Bowls! Loaded with lean protein, healthy fats, and whole grains – these are sure to satisfy your fast-food cravings. AND the best part is that this easy meal prep recipe makes enough to keep you stocked with fresh meals for four days!
You guys, THESE BURRITO BOWLS! These were kind of a game-changer for me when I was living on my own and trying to navigate those precarious first steps on my healthy eating journey. All my fast-food brain wanted was the ease and comfort of a big burrito, with all the fixins – creamy guacamole, thick sour cream, and spicy salsa. But my budget and my stomach were not keen on the idea of me eating takeout every single night.
The funny thing about restaurant food is that it always sounds like a GREAT idea. But sometimes, it just has a way of not making you feel awesome – you know what I mean?
The glorious thing about making your own burrito bowls at home is that 1) you can have them as often as you want (guilt-free + made to suit your budget) and… 2) YOU control the ingredients!
So whatever your stomach is sensitive to or that doesn’t make you feel your best, doesn’t have to be in there. You can swap it out and switch it up to suit your own, unique needs.
For me personally, the oil that some restaurants use to cook their food can really upset my stomach and makes me feel awful not just that night but the entire day afterwards. My stomach is used to eating food cooked in either olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, or ghee. If I eat food cooked in canola, soy, sunflower, cottonseed, safflower, corn oil, or mixed vegetable oil (which can contain GMO’s or omega-6’s which can cause inflammation) – my body tends to be pretty unhappy afterwards. I get headaches, feel lethargic, am low on energy, feel overly full, and just all around kind of queasy to be honest. It’s not my favorite way to feel.
For you it might be a different ingredient, maybe food that’s too spicy doesn’t sit well with you or having a ton of raw onion in the guac gives you indigestion. Maybe you want the option of having brown rice instead of white rice, or no rice at all. Maybe you don’t love that the beans are cooked in lard, or that the meat they use isn’t organic // lean // responsibly-raised // antibiotic-free. Maybe it’s just the amount of certain foods that you don’t love – more of this and less of that.
Love the idea of MEAL PREP but...
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Whatever it may be, the point is that when you go out to eat there’s a lot of variables in play. But when you cook at home, you’re the boss and you call the shots!
You get to choose each and every ingredient that makes it onto your plate. And you can feel good knowing that each bite of food you’re eating is one you are going to enjoy.
Plus with this meal prep method I’ve laid out in the recipe card below you get to have this takeout-style burrito bowl four times a week, without leaving your house and without shelling extra cash out of your pocket. Cook one time, eat FOUR times.
And if you’re the sort of person who hates eating leftovers, I’ve got some tips for you to make your leftovers feel a lot less “left over”:
- Take your prepared meal and put it on a REAL PLATE + eat it with a REAL UTENSIL. Treat it the same way you would if you just cooked up dinner 20 min ago (instead of 2 days ago). It makes a big difference to feel like you’re not eating food straight out of a Tupperware with a plastic fork. Plate it up, and make it visually inviting.
- Add greens + garnish with even more toppings. A squeeze of citrus and some baby romaine leaves are my favorites to freshen up almost any leftovers. It brightens up your plate with a punch of color and gives it a boost of fresh flavor.
You can see a plated version of these leftovers in this picture that I shared on my Instagram (I heated them up in their glass containers in the microwave, dumped them upside down onto fresh plates, and added fresh greens, a dollop of Greek yogurt, guacamole, and a sprinkle of cotjia cheese). Doesn’t the plated meal just LOOK a million times fresher than the ones packed into those containers? A squeeze of that lime wedge right over the top and I was all set to dig into a meal I felt genuinely excited to eat.
Yes – it means dirtying an extra dish, but when I’m home after a long day of work there’s just nothing better than a hot meal served up on a beautiful plate. It’s worth it to me if it means the food I made won’t go uneaten and go to waste, and if it enhances my experience of sitting down to that meal.
Now let’s talk HOW you can make this meal prep happen in an hour (or less).
The strategy I use to save time on meal prep is simple – stack the quicker, more hands-on tasks within the same time window as the ingredient with the longest (and most hands-off) cook time.
For example, in this recipe – we start with the rice first because 1) it has the longest cook time and 2) the cooking it requires is mostly hands-off (you just set it up to boil and check on it when the timer goes off). Freeing you up to chip away at other tasks – like mixing spices, microwaving frozen corn, rinsing and draining beans, and quickly sautéing the ground turkey. All these shorter, simpler tasks can be accomplished while you are waiting for the rice to finish cooking.
If by the time I’ve finished all these smaller tasks, I find that the rice is still cooking – even better! That gives me time to start assembling the bowls ahead of time. Divvying up the corn + beans + meat…slicing some lime wedges…and portioning out my fresh toppings into separate containers for the week ahead. Then when the rice is finally done, all that’s left to do is divide the rice between the four bowls, seal them up and store them in the fridge!
And if you REALLY wanted to cut down on the overall cook and prep time, you could use cooked frozen brown rice (both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods carry these in the freezer aisle) which is ready in a matter of minutes in your microwave. Sometimes a shortcut like that is just the thing you need to make healthy meals happen for your schedule and time constraints – and hey, I won’t tell if you don’t!
What takeout meals do you always find yourself craving? I’d LOVE to know which ones you’d like to see made into healthy homemade versions here on the blog!
MORE MEAL PREP FRIENDLY RECIPES:
Healthy Meal Prep Burrito Bowls! This recipe is loaded with lean protein from black beans and ground turkey, healthy fats, and whole grains. This flavor-packed recipe will satisfy your fast-food cravings and keep you stocked with fresh meals for 4 days!!
- 3 ½ c water
- 2 c short grain brown rice, uncooked
- 1 ½ lbs ground turkey
- ½ tbs avocado oil*
- ½ lemon
- salt (to taste)
- 1 tbs chili powder
- 1 tsp dried onion
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 c frozen grilled corn
- 1 lime
- 1 c cilantro
- 1 c salsa fresca
- Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- cotija cheese
- fresh greens
- MAKE THE RICE: In a medium-sized pot, bring water and rice to a boil. Turn down to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork.
- COOK THE MEAT: While the rice cooks, preheat a large pan over medium to medium-high heat. Then add avocado oil and meat to the pan, stir often and use a spatula to break it up into smaller bite-sized pieces. Season with spice mixture and the juice of ½ a lemon. Add salt to taste. Will cook quickly, in about 5-7 minutes.
- PREP THE CORN: Microwave the frozen corn for 2 minutes, or until just thawed through.
- ASSEMBLE THE BOWLS: Divide rice, beans, meat, and corn between four containers. Add a lime wedge and cilantro to each one. If eating right away, add choice of fresh toppings. If saving some portions for later, pack the chosen fresh toppings separately so that you can heat up all the hot ingredients at one time and add the cold ingredients later.
*or other cooking oil of choice
- Serving Size: 1 serving