People always look at me with a strange look on their faces when I mention that I meal prep every week for us. For me, meal prep is a way of life. It makes our lives much simpler and gives me more time to work on blogs, recipes, and business without having to worry about the dreaded question”WHAT’S FOR DINNER?”
So what exactly is meal prepping? For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, essentially it is planning and prepping your meals in advance for the week. This means cooking items in bulk and eating leftovers! For those of you who just groaned and are turned off to the thought of leftovers, if you are looking to save yourself time and energy you need to give leftovers another try. If you reheat in the best way for the food that you are eating, you will probably never know the difference. Now I rejoice in their existence and you should too! Leftovers are a wondrous time saver!
Before beginning any meal prep, I advise you to have a bunch of re-heatable containers on hand, you are going to need them! If you want to go hog-wild, I suggest buying Glad or Rubbermaid of similar sizes/shapes so you can easily stack them in your fridge, making your meal prep more space efficient so your fridge doesn’t become a war zone of toppling plastic containers.
If you’re looking to store your prepped food as meals, look into containers such as:
- I use Rubbermaid stackable containers. I have found that the size of the container is just right for our Protein, Veggies, and Starches. You can separate each portion of your meal but that will just make you needing more space in your refrigerator and I don’t know about your fridge but I never have enough room for everything.
- You can also find online or in specialty stores, specially designed containers for your meal prep. It is totally your choice.
SIDENOTE: I would love to get away from using a microwave to reheat our meals, but sometimes that is just not feasible. If you can plan to reheat the old-fashioned way, on the stove, great you will not need as many small containers as you will need larger ones because you will not be weighing till you are ready to serve. If you can not get away from the microwave or you don’t have an issue with using the microwave, then portion out meals and reheat in the microwave.
The Two P’s Plan and Prep
Please remember I am a wellness coach, not a nutritionist or personal trainer, this is just what works best for us and our bodies. Everyone’s ideas of “Healthy” varies and that is okay! If you don’t see a protein, veggie or starch on the list it’s only because we don’t eat it, it does not mean that you can’t eat it. Just make sure that it is healthy and nutritious for your family.
– Pick one day a week as your “Plan” Day
– Pick another day as your “Prep” day
– I usually make my weekly meal choices and grocery list on Thursday nights in getting ready for shopping day
– Grocery shop on a day prior to this day, so you will have everything that you will need for the meal prepping
– I choose Friday as my grocery shop day and Sunday or Monday morning as the cook day
- Plan out your meals for the week out u using the following guidelines:
– Protein + Starch + Vegetable (and make sure you are getting your healthy fats and minimum calories in each day)
– Protein options that I recommend are denoted with a * by them:
– Chicken* We use a lot of chicken boneless, skinless thighs, but you can use breast if you prefer
– Ground Beef – 85% lean or higher
– Ground Turkey* – 93% lean or higher
– Ground Pork* – I use a lot of pork in my cooking, I find it has less fat and more protein
– Fish* – Salmon, Tilapia*, Shrimp, Tuna* Most all white fish we eat
– Eggs – I hard boil eggs occasionally and we also eat a lot of egg whites, tons of good protein
– Steak and Sausage are ok but not on a weekly basis, store-bought sausage can have a ton of fillers and salt and for us steak is just for special celebrations
– Vegetarian or Vegan try plant-based protein
– Starch Options: opt for whole grain, complex carbohydrates as your fuel! Once again I put an * next to the ones we eat often:
– Quinoa* You can whatever flavors/spices to this starch for a boost in flavor
– Sweet Potato (I love, husband not so much)
– Brown Long Grain Rice*
– Whole Wheat Pasta* (this item will take some getting used to, because it is a firmer pasta then white flour pasta)
– Potatoes * I use mostly red potatoes, when we do eat them, they are a firmer but healthier for you
– Rice Varieties: Jasmine*, Basmati*, Wild Grain*
– Buck Wheat
– CousCous This is a flour product so be careful when using this for a starch
– Beans* I love using black beans, Pinto, Kidney, they add a starch to your meal plus more protein
– Vegetable Options: Leafy greens are your best bet here, the darker the healthier. I have also put an * next to the items we eat often:
– Green Beans*
– Broccoli (I love this veggie but my husband can’t eat it)
– Red, Yellow, Orange or Green Peppers*
– Zucchini ( I love it, husband not so much)
– Bok Choy
– Spaghetti Squash*
– Carrots* We eat them raw, not so much cooked
– Sugar Snap Peas
I am including a link to a pretty complete list of low carb veggies and high carb veggies.. This can help you to decide what you and your family should be eating:
2. Check to make sure you have all the ingredients for all recipes before you shop and start to prepare.
Make sure that you have enough healthy snacks for during the week, the worst thing to sabotage your week is to run out of snacks and end up eating unhealthy items because you need something on the go.
- Peel, chop, cut all raw veggies for the week to put in lunch or to have as a snack. Healthy choices are easier to make when they’re ready to be eaten.
- Same goes for fruit, cut and prepare for snacking.
- Make sure you have everything ready to cook. Read through all recipes just to finalize yourself with what you will be making and the steps in which you will need to take for everything to happen in a smooth fashion. Note: Understand that you may need to make each recipe one at a time. I have been doing this for a long time and can make 2 or 3 recipes at once. Don’t worry about it, work at your pace. Remember you are doing this for your family.
- Here comes the fun part COOKING!!
Following each recipe to completion, then you need to portion out the meal into your leftover containers, and store in fridge till day to reheat and serve.
I use a kitchen scale that shows me ounces and pounds. For my family I usually go with 10 ounces of meat for the husband, 5 to 6 ounces for the cook (ME), six ounces of starch for husband and four ounces of starch for cook. When it comes to the veggie, I don’t always weigh just because I make my veggie portion the filler for us. I used to allow us to fill up on the starchy side (because it tasted the best) learning that is how you gain weight and start feeling bad. This may not be the case if you are a big exerciser then you will need to talk to your trainer or seek further help about what your body will need to function with the increased exercise. My husband and I can give you private suggestions to help with that, contact us through main website.
When you are ready to reheat the meal, depending on the route you chose (To Microwave or Not)
This is the basic plan for meal prepping and feeding your family healthy choices during the week.
During the week, I am always looking for new recipes to try out and make healthier. Then when I think that I have an updated recipe I then need to test it out and who better to test on then my loving husband. This is how I come up with at least 2 to 3 new recipes each week.
I make sure that we have lots of protein snacks to have during the week. We have our 2 healthy shakes for breakfast and lunch, so I don’t need to worry about prepping for those meals. If you chose to feed your family normal foods for breakfast and lunch, then you will plan the same way. This will take a little longer to complete 3 meals a day for a week with snacks but it can be done.
As the Healthy recipe Geek, I am around to help you with any questions or issues you might have with your version of Meal Prep 101, just leave comment below and I will get back to you