Changing how you eat can seem like a daunting task, but it is half of the journey to living a healthy lifestyle and achieving your fitness goals. So often I hear of people who consistently go to the gym, but ruin all of their hard work with a burger, piece of cake, or even something as simple as a couple glasses of wine. However, you can avoid these missteps and make eating healthy easier with just a little bit more planning in your weekly routine.
So what is meal prep and why should you do it? Meal prep entails cooking and packaging all the meals and snacks you need for the week (or shorter if you have limited fridge space) to avoid cooking later. Meal prep is essential to my weekly routine because it removes the daily battle of deciding what to eat when hunger takes over. It allows me to be more thoughtful about nutrition and replenishment, saves time in an already busy schedule, and helps me stick to a diet that matches my fitness goals. In other words, Past Me tells and sets up Future Me before she even has the chance to think about it. In return, Future Me falls in f*cking line since she knows to not waste Past Me's money or time. :)
What and how you meal prep is totally dependent on your goals and daily routine. Do you need to be at a calorie deficit? Surplus? Are you fat or carb sensitive? How often do you eat during the day? Through trial and error I created a pretty consistent meal prep routine that may serve as a starting place for you as you figure out what your body needs and likes. Feel free to check it out below or get started with your own this weekend!
- Friday: Decide lunch, dinner, and snack menu for the upcoming week. Make grocery list. (1 hr)
- Saturday: Grocery shop and marinate meats/fish (optional) (2hrs)
- Sunday: Cook, pack individual meals and snacks per day (4 hrs)
- Monday - Friday: Just pull meal packs from fridge/cupboard for the day
*Note: Stock up on Tupperware and ziplock bags. I tend to get a medium sized pack of Tupperware for lunch meals, large Tupperware to pack dinner salad for the week, snack size 5-pack of Tupperware and snack size box of Ziploc bags for snacks.
Breakfast: Tends to not be meal prepped but prepared by day. Normally 2 eggs any style + toast or oatmeal. (1 per day)
Lunch: Meat Protein + Carb (1 per day)
- Meat Protein Options: Salmon, Tuna, Shrimp, Chicken Breast
- Carb: Pasta, Bread (Sandwich), Rice, Quinoa, Farro
Dinner: Meat Protein + Veggie (1 per day)
- Meat Protein Options: Salmon, Cod, Halibut, Shrimp, Crab, Beef Flank
- Veggie: Various Mixed Salads, Bok Choy + Pepper Mix, Green Beans
Snacks: 1 Non-Meat Protein + 1 Veggie, Fruit, or Carb (2 per day)
- Non-Meat Protein Options: Boiled eggs, Plain Greek yogurt, Bean Dip/Hummus/Avocado + Pita, Nuts
- Veggie Options: Celery + Peanut/Apple Butter, Pickled Cucumber. Kimchi, Carrots
- Fruit Options: Strawberries, Oranges, Mango, Pineapple, Grapes, Grapefruit, Dried Fruit
- Carb Options: Popcorn, Pretzels, Granola bars
Tip: I typically shop at Whole Foods for my groceries, but occasionally I will shop with a friend at Costco and split the bill and groceries. This way, you can still save money despite grocery shopping each week.
Have you created your own meal prep routine? What tips do you have to share?