Each week I feature the “menu” I’ve put together in my NPC Bikini Prep Diary. On Sundays, I spend a couple hours prepping and packing each meal for Kevin and I. While I’m more strict and exact in my measurements during competition prep, this is something I do year-round. It’s important for the hubs and I to have healthy, ready-to-go meals to bring to work during the week. Not only does this help me stay on track with my physique goals, but it’s also a huge money-saver!
1. Get Inspired
Each week, I browse difference resources for meal prep inspiration. The first being meal prep companies’ menus.
Some people pay these companies to do all the hard work for them, and they will mail a cooler to your home or hotel. If you’re traveling, it’s actually a pretty great option. But since you’re home and just planning your menu for the week, you know better than to spend $7-$12 per meal. We’re just getting ideas here. Icon Meals and Fuel Meals, and Macro Fuel Meals are some of my favorite resources for meal ideas. Searching for “Meal Prep Ideas” on Pinterest is an awesome source, too!
2. Plan The Week’s Menu
This is where you decide what will sound good for a few days worth of meals. Two weeks ago, I saw Icon Meal’s turkey teriyaki on their menu, which sounded delicious.
I’ve been on a huge sauteed cabbage kick lately, so I decided to swap out the veggies for cabbage, and to make it a little more like stir-fry, I also decided to add in some shredded carrots. So lunches for the week became: ground turkey with a teriyaki sauce (I would look for a macro-friendly teriyaki sauce option at the grocery store), brown rice, sauteed cabbage and shredded carrots.
Yum! I also make a loose “meal plan” for the entire day to help plan my macros. This serves as my “skeleton” for the week, and I add in additional snacks where they may fit.
I use the app Evernote, but an old fashioned notebook works just as well!
3. Create Your Grocery List
This may be really “Type A” of me, but I like to be as efficient as possible in the grocery store. Not only does this prevent me from throwing everything and anything that looks good into my cart (S’mores Goldfish crackers?? YES!), it also cuts down on my shopping time.
I order my list by department as I walk through the store. I enter in produce, walk past the deli, next is the natural foods section, etc. I go from one wall to the other, and end at check-out.
I type this out under my “meal plan” so I don’t forget anything. Then the list is ready to print out and bring to the grocery store.
4. Meal Prep Sunday!
On Sundays, I spend 1-2 hours cooking and packing up our meals. It takes far less time if you multi-task and having multiple pots & pans going at once – timers are your friend.
For this particular meal prep, I started boiling the rice, cut up all the veggies & sauteed them, and then cooked the turkey last. Once everything is finished, you can just pack into meal containers (which you can find at the grocery store or on Amazon), and store in the fridge until you need a ready-made meal. I prepare five days at a time, Monday through Friday, but many just do a couple days at once. I find that as long as your meals are refrigerated in an air-tight container, meals are perfectly safe to eat five days later.
Meal Prep vs. Food Prep
If eating pre-packaged prepared meals doesn’t sound appetizing or like it would fit your lifestyle, keep in mind that “meal prep” can mean many different things! Another option is to bulk-cook protein for the week. If you bake a tray of chicken breasts, you can use them for salads, quick soups, sandwiches, to put on top of pasta, etc. Hard boil eggs to grab-and-go, cut up raw veggies for crudite snacks…the possibilities are endless.If you’re used to eating on the fly, this may seem like a lot of work. However, not having to think about cooking everyday is more than worth a couple hours on the front-end. At the end of a long work day, I don’t want to make any more decisions, including “What’s for dinner?”. Having meals prepped and ready not only helps me achieve my health & fitness goals, but removes the temptation of stopping at the drive-thru, or eating something I normally wouldn’t just because it’s “easy”.
I hope this is helpful if you’re wanting to start meal prepping! And please share any of your go-to meal prep recipes – I’m always looking for new ideas!