“Failing to plan, is planning to fail!”
Today we want to help make your life just a little bit easier!! We want to go over all the Basics of Meal Prepping & How to Meal Prep for a week of healthy and clean eating!
Why should you Meal Prep?
Taking time one day a week to Meal Prep is SUPER important for your fitness goals. It will ensure that even when life gets absolutely crazy, that you have healthy and clean options.
Prepping all your food for one week may seem like a lot of work, but in the long run it will save you A LOT of time and make life a little less stressful. Luckily, we have compiled a tutorial of a basic meal prep and how to go about prepping your food AND we have even included some EASY meal prep recipes that are extremely versatile!
5 Steps for a Successful Meal Prep
Step 1: Plan your Meals for the Week & Prepare your Kitchen
This can be the fun part! Take some time to look up recipes (check out our Healthy Recipes for ideas!), and figure out how you want to prepare your food for the week. You can be creative or you can be simple. If you’re new to meal prepping we recommend to start slowly and use more basic recipes that don’t contain too many ingredients. Once you have done a few weeks of meal prepping then you can start to experiment.
Plan HOW you will prep everything and what sort of storage you will need for each meal. Decide what should be cooked first, second, and third. Usually we start with vegetables, but if you have certain meals that take longer to cook, like soups, or meals in your slow cooker, start those first.
Some other tips are:
- Clean all of your cooking equipment and storage containers BEFORE starting
- Clean your kitchen and working space BEFORE
- Plan your Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, and 2-3 snack options
Step 2: Make a Grocery List & Go Shopping
Now that you have your recipes gathered together and have a game plan on how you will prepare everything, you will need to make a list of groceries.
Make sure to take inventory of all of your ingredients before you hit the store so that you don’t end up buying double of something you may already have. Also, make sure you check stock of your pantry staples and fridge staples, in case you need to restock anything.
Below we have provided you with some of our staples each week when we go shopping. Most foods are “whole foods” meaning they come in there most natural state. No processed foods and very minimally processed condiments. (Find out WHY we eat this way HERE.)
Download your FREE Clean Eating Grocery Lists HERE! Right click, and “Save as…”
Because we like Eating Healthy on a Budget, we tend to buy fruits and veggies as natural as they come. So with that, you will have to cut and prepare your fruits and veggies for the week. We like making a big fruit salad each week, this way we know we are getting a whole rainbow of nutrients.
We also like to cut up an array of different veggies to keep raw. This is perfect to snack on with hummus or healthy dips, like our Sun-Dried Tomato Dip or our Skinny Blue Cheese Dip. Pre-cut veggies are also great to top salads with and to use in a stir-fry for a quick dinner.
We prefer buying lettuce that has already been cut and washed (just because it’s MUCH easier), but if you prefer, make sure to get your salad supplies ready for the week as well, wash and dry your lettuce and portion is out for easy lunch options. (We love storing our salads in big mason jars for freshness.)
It’s also best to cook some veggies as well. Our favorite method is roasting veggies. Many times it’s easiest to have a few different veggies, maybe three or so, and to roast them on a big baking sheet. But you can also steam or grill your veggies, just try to get some variety in there.
This can be where you can be as fancy or as simple as you want. If you want to marinate your protein, this will make your meals very planned, Meg tends to marinate her meats more than I do. But if you just want to have some protein that can be very versatile, it’s best to prepare it simply.
Some basic protein options are:
- Easy Shredded Chicken (recipe below!)
- Skinny BBQ Chicken
- Turkey Burgers
- Simple Herbed Salmon
- Simple Gilled Shrimp
These are great options to make for adding to salads, filling pita pockets, or throwing into a stir-fry or quick fajita.
Easy Shredded Chicken
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
- water or vegetable broth
- Pour enough water or vegetable broth to cover the chicken into a large sauce pot.
- Boil on high for 15-20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.
- Remove chicken from pot and let cool.
- When cool enough to handle, use a fork and your fingers to shred chicken into small shreds.
- Store in an airtight container.
Make sure you prepare plenty of complex carbs to give you energy all week long. I love making a BIG batch of brown rice every few weeks and freezing individual serving sizes. That way I know I always have a healthy carb that will be ready in only ONE minute! So much easier than having to wait for rice to cook for 45 minutes! Below is my favorite way to prepare rice in bulk (you can use the same freezing and reheating method for quinoa as well!)
Easy Baked Brown Rice
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice
- 2 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan Sea Salt (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Mix brown rice, olive oil, and sea salt together in a 9×9 baking dish.
- Pour boiling water (I usually just boil it in the microwave) over the rice and stir to combine.
- Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and tightly wrap.
- Bake for 1 hour.
- Scoop out 1/2 cup of rice at a time and place into a freezing dish or ziplock baggie.
- Freeze until ready to use.
- To reheat, just microwave for 2 minutes.
- So easy for a quick, and healthy side!
Here are some ideas to get you started on your Meal Prepping:
- Overnight Oats – we are loving Apple Pie Overnight Oats right now!
- Parfaits with Simple Granola & fruit
- Egg Muffins
- Healthy Toasted Coconut Donuts
- Greek Yogurt and Banana Nut Muffins
- Hard-Boiled Eggs & Ezekiel Toast
- Egg & Quinoa Breakfast Bowls
- Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars
- Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa
Lunches & Dinners
- Salads in a Jar
- Simple Fish & Veggie Packets (cook a few for the week ahead!)
- Pita Pocket Sandwiches
- Turkey Meatloaf
- Fajitas or Stir-Fry
- Healthy Shepherd’s Pie
- Zucchini Noodles & Turkey Meatballs
- Soups – our favorite right now is our Pumpkin Chicken Chili!
- Italian Turkey Stuffed Peppers
- Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps
- Honey Ginger Soy Salmon
- Balsamic Chicken
- Any Protein, Veggies, and a Grain
- Fruit & Almond Butter
- Fruit & Yogurt, cottage cheese, or a small piece of Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
- Homemade KIND Bars
- Veggies & Hummus or a Dip
- Trail Mix
We hope this little tutorial helps you on your goals to Living Fit! Tweet this to a friend who may need some help reaching their goals as well!
What other things do you do each week to prepare for a healthy week ahead?