We’ve all heard the saying: “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
Meal prep is actually not hard!!
We know meal prep benefits us, but taking the time to do it is may be more of a good intention than actually doing it!
This easy way will set you up and you will reach your nutritional goals A LOT EASIER! Plus, having several meals already packed allows you to eat only clean food (instead of what you can find quickly)
Im going to tell you how to build your daily meals around foods you already know and love. The only planning involved? The weekly run to the grocery store you are already doing. Here’s the easy way…
First go to the store to stock up on staples. Meat. Veggies. Healthy fats. Maybe some fresh fruits, and any longer lasting non-perishables I’m running low on (spices, seasonings, boxed almond milk/coconut milk, nuts/seeds, nutbutter, etc.). Buy what you need. Do your bulk food run maybe once per week to buy meats to make in bulk, lots of leafy greens, fruit, and anything else you go through a lot of. (Then throughout the week, if you can pick up more fresh veggies)
Here’s some examples:
6lb ground meat (ground turkey, grass-fed bison, or beef)
2lb chicken thighs
1-2 rotisserie chickens (can also buy a whole chicken and make it yourself)
1 carton eggs
Chicken/turkey sausage (nitrate-free)
LOTS of sweet potatoes (all varieties: Japanese, Garnet, Hannah Jane, etc.)
Carton of fresh strawberries (or other seasonal berry)
Get a Costco membership to do your ‘bulk’ shopping (meat you can freeze, some fruit and veggies, even frozen veggies). Also stock up on some good, sturdy portable food containers
Be prepared; but not too prepared. Don’t prep too much at once. I’ve pre-packed an entire week worth of breakfast/lunch/dinners and end up not eating them like I should because something came up or by the end of the week something didn’t mix right. For example, guacamole will get brown by the end of the week and olive oil will make your lettuce mush. Easy solution? Pick 2-3 meats a week to prepare in bulk with minimal or basic seasonings like onion and garlic powder so you can transform them for any meal later on.
Keep it simple. Simple is best. Rice, chicken, veggies, fat source – boom! Don’t try pulling out a cookbook and finding a different recipe for each day.
If anything else, prepare your proteins in advance. Those take the longest to cook.
Have a Few Go-Tos. Have a few default meals on hand to always go to when time is short or you need food NOW. Pick foods you enjoy, and rotate them on a weekly or biweekly basis to keep interested. It’s easiest to decide on a menu, make it for every day that week, and then switch the next week to something new.
A few staples could include:
Hardboiled eggs/broccoli/guac and salsa.
Deli turkey and cucumbers for the protein and a little crunch.
Sauteed zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, and onions to pack with ground turkey or grilled chicken
Here are some very simple go to recipes you can use during the week:
Sweet Potato Hash – Chop up one large sweet potato, large green apple, one red and one yellow sweet pepper, onion, shallot, one jalapeño, half a pound of bacon. Chop them all into small chunks. Bake the sweet potato chunks at 400 for 30 minutes. While baking, put the remaining ingredients in a skillet to cook. When potatoes are done baking, toss in skillet to combine, and done.
Ground chicken (or turkey) Sausage Hash – One pound of ground chicken (or ground turkey), 4 chicken sausages, handful (or more if desired) of spinach, one red and one yellow bell pepper, one medium zucchini. Cook ground chicken (or turkey) first in a skillet. When almost completely brown, add sausages and chopped veggies and cook in skillet for about 5 minutes. Enough to cook the veggies but not get them too soft. Done! Serve over rice and add an egg for an extra kick.
Crockpot Salsa Chicken –Place 2 pounds frozen chicken in a crockpot with a packet of taco seasoning and a small jar of salsa. Cook on low for 6-8 hours! Shred and store in your Tupperware.
Meatballs- Combine a pound of super lean ground turkey (99% fat free) with a pound of lean (like 93/7) ground beef, some spices, an egg, and about 1/3c almond flour and mash together. Roll into balls, brown in a skillet and then bake at 350 for 20 minutes, check with a thermometer to make sure it’s cooked through!
Follow these steps:
- Start with a base ingredient -brown rice, whole-grain pasta, or any other healthy carbohydrate you prefer. The first thing I do when prepping my weekly meals is set out five storage containers and place this base ingredient on the bottom. Wholesome carbs keep you feeling full longer. Be sure to include a base carb like this for every day you plan to exercise or be active.
2. Pick a protein and season it sparingly – Flavor can be added later to add variety, but when preparing your protein for the week, keep it simple. Most often, my choice is chicken. Other easy possibilities include turkey, fish, or lean beef. Chop and add to your storage containers.
3. Pick a vegetable – The steam-in-bag microwaveable vegetables in the freezer section are amazing for simplifying your week. Five minutes in the microwave and you can have fresh steamed broccoli or a bell pepper fajita vegetable mix. The steam-in-bag vegetables usually hold two to three servings of vegetables. To make enough, I steam two different bags: one of broccoli and one of peppers and onions. The vegetables in my meals are something I like to change up a bit. Separate the vegetables into your storage containers however you choose.
4. Pick a seasoning – Choose a couple of your favorites and vary them between containers. This is why I mentioned seasoning your protein sparingly. Many of us do not want to eat the exact same meal five days in a row, but you can trick your mind into thinking each meal is different by changing up the taste with spice, sauce, and seasoning.