A 33-year-old teacher who prepares her food for the week for just $40 has revealed how her clever side hustle has earned her an extra $16,000 on top of her regular salary.
Katie Lolas, from Sydney, turned to meal prepping as a way to help to manage her nutrition and digestive health – and has since built up a loyal following of 167,000 people online who turn to her for food tips and tricks.
Now, Katie has designed her own meal prep containers, and since launching them, she has sold around 100 containers a week – netting her a profit of $16,000.
Katie told FEMAIL that people love the containers because they are portion-controlled, stackable in cupboards and also lightweight.
A 33-year-old teacher (pictured) who prepares her food for the week for just $40 has revealed how her clever side hustle has earned her an extra $16,000 on top of her regular salary
Katie Lolas (pictured), from Sydney, turned to meal prepping as a way to help to manage her nutrition and digestive health – and has since built up a loyal following of 167,000 people
Now, Katie has designed her own meal prep containers (pictured), and since launching them, she has sold around 100 containers a week – netting her a profit of $16,000
‘I’ve meal prepped every Sunday for the past three years and I wasn’t happy with the containers that were on the market,’ Katie told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I found most meal prep boxes took up too much cupboard space in my tiny Sydney apartment kitchen, and I also didn’t enjoy having to carry three or four different-sized containers to work for my meals throughout the day.’
Katie’s own ‘MealPrep MVP’ containers are made from high-quality BPA-free recycled plastic and come in 10 packs, which cost $39.95.
This means a single container costs just $4, and you can pick whether you want a meal prep box with either two or three compartments.
‘I’ve meal prepped every Sunday for the past three years and I wasn’t happy with the containers that were on the market,’ Katie (pictured) told Daily Mail Australia
Since launching the meal prep containers last November, Katie said she has sold somewhere between 50 and 100 container packets a week.
This equates to around $16,000 so far.
‘I designed the containers partially as a reminder to include a variety of different foods in our diets,’ Katie said.
‘For example, with the three-compartment containers, I fill the largest compartment with colourful veggies, then one of the compartments with a lean protein and the last one with a low-GI carb source.
‘By meal prepping with this method, you are less likely to spend on eating out and you shouldn’t need to buy unnecessary snacks.’
Katie recommends planning meal prepping around sales and promotions found in supermarket catalogues before your weekly shop and picking recipes with fruits and vegetables that are in season as it’s cheaper
She said she cooks up a weekly batch of fresh food on a Sunday morning to ensure she has everything ready for the week on Monday (pictured: a week in dinners)
Speaking previously to FEMAIL, Katie revealed how she turned to meal prepping to help her own nutrition and digestive health.
‘I cook up my weekly batch of fresh food on a Sunday morning, to ensure I have everything ready for work on Monday,’ she said.
It takes between 1.5 to two hours depending on what I make. I always have my groceries ready though, so I can start cooking on Sunday morning.
‘I prepare five breakfasts and between four and five lunches each week. To change things up, I usually have morning tea at work on Friday and I grab something different from the shops for lunch.
‘I still like to make healthy choices even on my days off prepping. Sometimes I’ll have brown rice sushi for lunch or a brown bread egg and salad sandwich. It really just depends on what I feel like on that particular day.’
Katie (pictured) shared her meal prepping staples with FEMAIL, which include mixed nuts, chia seeds, oats and quinoa
How to meal prep Thai Red Curry Noodle Soup
Ready in: 45 minutes
Serves: 4 – 5
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
250g lean chicken breast, cut into small chunks
2 garlic cloves, crushed (or 2 tbsp garlic infused olive oil)
1 red capsicum, diced
3 tbsp red curry paste
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
100g snow peas
Bean sprouts to garnish (optional)
100g mushrooms of choice sliced
6 cups reduced salt chicken broth
1 x 400ml can light coconut milk
200g rice noodles
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp rice malt syrup
3 shallot spears, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
Step 1. Heat a small drizzle of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken to the pot and cook until golden.
Step 2. Add garlic, capsicum and tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
Step 3. Stir in red curry paste and ginger until fragrant.
Step 4. Stir in mushrooms, snow peas, chicken broth and coconut milk, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced, about 10 minutes.
Step 5. Stir in rice noodles, fish sauce and rice malt syrup until noodles are tender, roughly 5 minutes.
Step 6. Remove from heat; stir in shallots, coriander, basil and lime juice; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Step 7. Garnish with bean sprouts and extra coriander (optional) and you’re done!
By prepping breakfasts, lunches and snacks, Katie (pictured) spends a third of the money she would have spent if she was buying each day and she has been able to manage health issues
By prepping breakfasts, lunches and snacks, Katie is spending a third of the money she would have spent if she was buying them each day and she has been able to manage various health issues.
‘It has helped me manage my IBS, which has made a world of difference in my life. My stomach cramps and bloating have markedly improved because I’m eating homemade food that is high in fibre and nutrition,’ she said.
‘I decided it was time to stop stressing about what to eat and wasting time each day looking for something and just have everything organised and ready.
‘It makes me feel organised and ready to succeed, which is most certainly a positive.’
Katie (pictured) said meal prepping has helped her to feel much more organised and positive about her life
What are Katie Lolas’ top proteins, veggies, fats and fruits?
Top five proteins
White poultry (turkey/chicken breast)
Legumes (chickpeas and lentils)
Top five fruits
Top five vegetables
Top five fats
Nuts (such as almonds and walnuts)
Katie (pictured) also shared her tips for beginner meal preppers, and it all starts with being organised and stocking up on pantry essentials
Katie also shared her tips for beginner meal preppers, and it all starts with being organised and stocking up on pantry essentials.
What are Katie Lolas’ 10 meal prep staples?
1. Mixed Nuts
2. Chia Seeds
3. Frozen Fruit
4. Whole-Wheat Pasta
5. Rolled Oats
6. Rice Malt Syrup
8. Canned Beans
9. Extra Virgin Oil
10. Canned Tuna
‘I purchase the majority of my staples like brown rice, quinoa, black beans and chickpeas from Aldi or opt for a Homebrand Woolies or Coles version,’ she said.
‘The quality, taste and nutritional value is always on par with the more expensive brands, so why not grab the less expensive option? Keeping your pantry stocked at all times is great too because you can create quick and easy meals using ingredients that you already have.’
Katie says things like hummus, casseroles and soups are easy to make out of long-life ingredients – and it also saves you a lot of money.
She recommends planning meal prepping around sales and promotions found in supermarket catalogues before your weekly shop and picking recipes with fruits and vegetables that are in season as it’s cheaper.
‘Vegetables that are in season include Asian greens like boy choy and Chinese broccoli, eggplant, kale, leeks, mushrooms and potatoes,’ she said.
‘Seasonal fruit includes grapes, apples, plums, avocados, pears, oranges, guava. These are plentiful and available at most local groceries for a competitive price.’
It’s equally as important to choose recipes that can be frozen or that will make enough food for the entire week and to make healthy snacks to save money.
‘We don’t realise just how much money we’re spending on snacks because it might seem like a small amount at the time,’ she said.
‘Instead of turning to ready-made and possibly unhealthy expensive options, prep your snacks such as hard-boiled eggs, carrots and hummus, trail mix, or even popcorn to keep your spending habits at bay.’
How to meal prep Low GI Super Fudgy Chocolate Protein Brownies
Ready in: 30 minutes
Serves: 9 pieces
400g sweet potatoes (roughly two medium sized)
2 scoops chocolate protein powder (I use Tropeaka)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup chopped cashews (or nuts of choice)
1/4 cup dark chocolate baking chips (optional)
3 tbsp cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut flour (or flour of choice)
2 tbsp rice malt syrup
1 tsp coconut oil
Step 1. Preheat oven to 180°. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and boil for 15 mins or until soft before draining and rinsing with cool water
Step 2. In a blender add the flour, protein powder, egg, rice malt syrup, baking powder, coconut oil and chopped nuts and give it a quick blitz
Step 3. Add the sweet potato (it doesn’t need to be completely cold, just not super hot) to the blender for 30 seconds or until mixed
Step 4. Grease a baking tray or line with baking paper and pour the mixture onto it
Step 5. Bake for 30 mins then allow to cool completely before removing from the baking tray and slicing into 9 pieces