Cooking with Kefir: Meal Prep

Everyone is busy, and it seems like every time we take steps to lighten our load, we end up committing to more. Work, school, the gym and social gatherings (for ourselves and our children) cut chunks out of our days and can make preparing delicious healthy meals (breakfast, lunch or dinner) an obstacle not worth tackling. That’s where meal prep comes in!

All the rage in 2016, meal prepping has gone from simply “making a weekly grocery list” (this is as far as many of the Lifeway team get, and they’re proud of it), to planning, shopping, prepping and freezing meals for weeks – even months – in advance.

Because we believe kefir is delicious and important part of a healthy diet for many people, we’ve developed a list of ways you can use kefir in your meal prep plans. From sauces to smoothies, dips to dressings and everything in between, here are our favorite ways to save time by cooking with kefir!


Over the Weekend

The first part of our series provides ideas for what you can do on a Saturday or Sunday to set yourself (and your family) up for meal success throughout the week. Check back soon for more day before and day of ideas!

Strain your Kefir:

Straining kefir is one of our all-time best tips for delicious meals in a flash. Strained kefir is excellent in dips (both sweet and savory), as the base of a sandwich spread, on top of your favorite salad, or served with tacos or burritos. We even add it to our favorite breakfast foods, like this savory waffle!

We use strained kefir in place of yogurt, sour cream, mayo and even cream cheese in many of our recipes. It provides an awesomely tart and tangy punch, plus our favorite powerful probiotics, with less fat and fewer calories, making it an easy way to add flavor to your foods without extra calories.

Check out how to strain your kefir, and find our recipe for French Onion Dip, here.

Make your Sauces. Then Freeze Them.

Using kefir in place of butter, oil or cream in sauces is another great way to add flavor without calories. Right now, our favorite sauce is this Kefir Pesto, made with kefir, basil, kale and pistachios. Not a true “pesto,” this pesto-style sauce is extremely versatile (use whatever greens and herbs you have on hand) and is an easy way to add extra fiber and veggies to your diet, if you find yourself coming up short.

Pesto-style sauces are great because they freeze incredibly well and are awesomely multi-purpose: add pesto to pasta or rice/a grain, stir it into a dip or into soups, add it to your favorite salad dressing, use it as a sandwich spread, or top your favorite pizza with it – your imagination is your only limitation!

For an easy way to freeze your pesto, check out this blog.

Make Smoothie Bags

Aside from reaching eating peanut butter straight from the jar and calling it breakfast, smoothies are one of the easiest and quickest ways to make a healthy meal that’s exactly what you want. The most time consuming aspect of a smoothie is prepping the produce, which can be done in advance and save you time on a busy morning. The trick: freeze your smoothie bags.

It’s simple, first clean and prepare fruits and vegetables that are freezer friendly and section them into individual bags or jars. Next, place them in the freezer (or in the fridge, if you prefer) for use throughout the week. When you’re ready to make one, add the contents of one bag/jar into your blender with your kefir of choice and ice (if desired) and blend away!

For our favorite smoothie inspirations, head over to the smoothie section of our recipe archive here.

What are your best #MealPrep tips and tricks? Let us know by visiting us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Find more of our favorite recipes in the in winter edition of our Made with Lifeway recipe ebook here.