Meal prep is probably my most asked about topic. How to do it, what I do, what they should do… I hope this post will help demystify the topic. At the end of the day, it is a pretty simple process once you get the basics down!
#1: Don’t over complicate it! Meal prep is as simple as it sounds… prepping your food for the week. Why is it important? It helps you stay on track, because the food is ready to go every day. No guessing at what you’ll be eating, which leads to less eating out and reaching for quick, unhealthy options. Don’t get caught up with trying to find the perfect recipes or perfect portions–the fact that you’re taking the step to prep ahead of time automatically puts you on a better track. Here is a great article on some meal prep tips!
#2: Make a plan. I plan out my week and meals on the weekend, prior to going grocery shopping. I made the following meal planner to plan out my daily meals (find a sample meal plan here). I follow the 21 Day Fix meal program because I really like that it focuses on portions and not calories! You can find out more about the program here. The guide I use allows me to plan out all my meals and snacks. Once you have a plan make a grocery list and get shopping!
Here are some of my favorite foods by meal!
- Shakeology with banana, flax, almond milk and PB
- Hard boiled eggs with cayenne pepper sprinkled on top and fruit side
- Ezekiel raisin bread toast with peanut butter and bananas
- Poached eggs over Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Grain toast, topped with seasoned steamed asparagus spears
Lunch (For lunch I always do a protein, carb and veggie. It makes it simple… here are my favorites):
- Ground turkey (cook on the stovetop on med/high heat until cooked through; season to your liking)
- Grilled chicken (cook in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes; season to your liking)
- Roasted sweet potatoes
- Brown rice
- Broccoli and cauliflower
- Brussel sprouts
- FIND YOUR FAVS!
Dinner (here are two of my favorite dinner recipes; both are great made ahead of time and reheated):
Zoodles with Turkey Marinara Sauce
Ground Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers
PRO TIP: Buy pre-cut fruits and veggies to make prep quicker and easier. My go to pre-cut foods are onions, broccoli/cauliflower, sweet potato and fresh fruits.
#3: Time to prep! I lay out everything based on time and what I need to do. For instance, I ALWAYS fill up and start my rice cooker first because it takes the longest. I put all veggies or fruit that need to be cut up in one section next to my cutting board, and anything that is going in the oven is in one section. I get out the spices I will be using along with my non-stick spray, olive oil and garlic (these are my staples). Here are my biggest tips:
- Use one big metal pan (like the one here) to do all oven cooking. This saves a ton of time and saves on constantly washing dishes. Start with veggies first, and do any meat last.
- Olive oil and some spices (find a post on my favorite seasonings here) go a long way in making your carbs, veggies and protein taste amazing! For most dishes I simply drizzle with olive oil and seasoning and bake at 400 degrees for roughly 15-20 minutes. I make broccoli and cauliflower, cubed sweet potatoes, asparagus, brussel sprouts and chicken breast this way!
- Get some cheap food storage containers and sandwich bags. You will use the containers for your lunches/meals and sandwich bags for snacks. PRE-PORTION all snacks—don’t just put a bag of something in front of you. That is a sure way to overeat. Mixed veggies, hard boiled eggs, cut up fruit and hummus or peanut butter are great snacks.
#4: Once everything is cooked portion out your food into your containers, fill up your sandwich bags with proper amount of each food, and organize in the refrigerator or pantry for easy access. You want to be able to wake up, pack a bag and be ready for the day is less than 5 minutes. The less time it takes you to put together, the better the chance that you will actually bring your food with you. Having a cute lunch bag doesn’t hurt either!
#5: Never stop trying new things. I have tried so many recipes in my meal prep journey. Some I love, some I hate, and some I continuously edit in an attempt to make it even better. When you find healthy recipes you are excited to eat on a daily basis you are so much closer to making healthy eating a habit. Find some of my favorite recipe blogs below:
www.onefitbunny.com (shameless plug)