Are you interested in meal prepping to kick start your healthy lifestyle but it all seems overwhelming and you don’t know where to start?
I have been in your exact spot and it’s easier than you think!
What exactly is Meal Prepping?
Meal prepping is preparing all or some of your meals ahead of time to eliminate eating unhealthy processed foods and making meals easy and convenient.
Meal prepping is becoming very popular in the fitness industry and living a healthy lifestyle but there’s all different reasons why someone would want to start meal prepping. Here’s a list of some reasons of why someone would want to meal prep.
~ You don’t have the time to cook during the week
~ You hate cooking and want to do as little as possible
~ You want to make sure you’re hitting your macros and calories
~ You want to lose weight and control your portions
~ You have a lot of food restrictions so it’s easier to pack food
~ You want to save money
The great thing about meal prepping is that it’s based on your needs and what works best for you. When someone first told me about meal prepping I pictured a fridge with about 20 different containers of prepped meals for the week and I thought “oh my gosh. 1. That’s a lot of cooking and 2. Who has time for that?!” I realized it’s not as bad as it looks and I hate cooking! There’re so many different reasons to meal prep and ways to meal prep, but I think it’s extremely important when trying to reach fitness goals or living a healthier life style.
A lot of people are interested in meal prepping but find it extremely overwhelming so I wanted to provide some tips and tricks to meal prepping. When I first started my fitness journey I didn’t know what macros were, nor did I have the knowledge to calculate and then figure out what to eat. I just knew that I needed to eat healthier and have better portion controls instead of eating whatever I wanted that was put in front of me.
Tips and Tricks to Meal Prepping
Keep it Simple!
When you think about meal prepping, keep it simple, you don’t need to go all out at first and prep your breakfast lunch dinner and snacks. Figure out what part of the day you struggle with most, maybe you really struggle with lunch and snacks. Start by prepping out your lunches and snacks for the week.
When you first start out stay in your comfort zone. You’re probably wondering what I mean by staying in your comfort zone, right? What I mean by this is don’t try out 5 different healthy new meals at once. When I first started meal prepping, I spent a WHOLE Sunday prepping out foods because I wanted to incorporate all these new recipes until I realized 8 hours had gone by. I usually take an hour or two on a Sunday to prep my food out for the week.
Keep it simple but not boring right?! You still want your meals to taste flavorful and not bland. A lot of people will look at my food and think it’s bland but I use a lot of different spices on my steak, chicken or turkey. I will even put spices on my vegetables and potatoes. The thing that I love about spices vs sauces is that spices will bring flavor to your food without the extra calories and sugars.
How to meal prep your food?
Prepping your food means that you’re going to cook in bulk to make the food last for the week. So pick foods that can be cooked in bulk!
~ Roasted potatoes or roasted sweet potatoes (cut into cubes and baked in the oven)
~ Roasted veggies – Green beans, peppers or tomatoes (baked in the oven with a little oil)
~ Basmati Rice
~ Ground turkey
~ Cauliflower (mashed or whole)
~ Spaghetti Squash
Create Theme Days and GET EXCITED!
Meal prepping doesn’t have to be a bore, make it fun! You always hear about those fun food theme days, well you can incorporate this into your meal prep as well, Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday etc.
Trying something new and starting to live a healthier lifestyle does not have to be a drag either. One thing I would recommend is buying new meal prep tupperware. I don’t know if it’s because I’m becoming a real adult but buying kitchenware brings so much happiness and excitement!! It’s going to get me excited to start meal prepping when I have something new to use. If you don’t like your food touching, they always have containers with sections which is very convenient.
Meal Prep Ideas
Below are meal and snack ideas that are all going to be foods that you can prep in bulk! Typically I will take an hour or two of my Sunday to cook all the food and it will be good for 3-5 days.
~ Roasted veggies, chicken and rice
~ Pasta, spinach, ground turkey and a little pasta sauce
~ Stir fry over rice
~ Steak, roasted potatoes and broccoli
~ Taco/Burrito Bowl
~ Romaine lettuce with peppers chicken and feta
~ Overnight oats with fruit
~ Salmon, asparagus and potatoes
~ Protein muffins for breakfast
~ Blueberries and Almonds
~ Yogurt, blueberries, cinnamon (optional)
~ Carrots, celery and peanut butter
~ Banana, apple, orange etc.
~ Rice cake with peanut butter or almond butter or sun butter
Different ways to cook chicken
~ Crock pot (find a marinading sauce that you love)
~ Bake (cover it in a different spice each week so you don’t get bored)
~ Fry (Marinade the chicken for a few hours and then cook on a frying pan)
~ Grilled (MY FAVORITE! You can use your out door grill or a cast iron grilling pan)
Already a Pro at Meal Prep?!
Time to take it to the next level then! You’ve been meal prepping for a while and love it but you want to take it to the next level to fit your needs and meet your new goals. This is the part that really excited me when people ask about next steps.
I get this question a lot… “What do you do for your food and how do you know what to eat for a meal plan”. Some of you may have heard of the term flexible dieting which basically if it fits in your macros and caloric intake then you can eat it! What’s great about flexible dieting is that I can eat ice cream every day because it fits. It’s all about portion control and eating the correct amount of protein, carbs and fats but the real question should be “Where do YOU start?!” because it doesn’t matter what I eat, everyone’s different and has different goals.
What are the next steps you ask?
Step #1: Calculate your macros
Basically you want to figure out how many carbs, protein and fats you need to consume to meet your goals. I use “Find your macro ratio by bodybuilding.com”, this site will ask your basic questions like what your goals are, your height, your weight, how active you are etc to determine how many protein fats and carbs you should be consuming in a day.
Step #2: Calculate your caloric intake
Whether you’re trying to gain weight, lose weight or stay constant there’s a certain number of calories you should be consuming in order to meet your goal. I use “Calculate your caloric intake by bodybuilding.com”, this site will ask your basic questions like what your goals are, your height, your weight, how active you are etc to determine how many calories you should be consuming in a day.
Step #3: Make a meal plan
Now that you know your numbers you can create a meal plan for yourself. I use a very popular food tracking app called My Fitness Pal which is where I will keep plugging in different foods that I want to eat throughout the day to make my meal plan and make sure it’s on point with my calories and macros.
AND WAH LAH! You’ve created yourself a meal plan. This can be very time consuming at first but losing weight and gaining weight is all about the numbers.
Disclaimer: I am not a personal trainer nor do I have a nutrition certification. This is just from my own personal experience, hours of research and trial and error.