How to Meal Prep Like a Champ

I’ve been doing meal prep since before it became trendy. And I only say trendy because suddenly I’ve been seeing it everywhere. Nonetheless, I’m glad it’s everywhere because it’s a super smart thing to do. Way to catch on, people! Welcome to the world of being prepared!!! Anyhow, hopefully this post will be timely if you just prepped yesterday or are getting ready to think about next week already!

:-)

Sunday mealprep _ Cherie Runs This 2_17_13_number1_pin it

Foods pictured are: paleo banana bread muffins {Google}, chicken salad {roasted chicken, plain Greek yogurt, hardboiled egg, relish}, almonds (20 per bag), grapes, tunafish {same as chicken but with tuna}, protein waffles {posted below}, tilapia, shrimp, broccoli, asparagus, brown rice, roasted chicken.

Seriously though, I’m a firm believer in “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.“  Especially where my food is concerned. Things may not always go according to plan, but at least I have one and I feel like that’s half the battle. And let’s be honest here–with a weight loss/get fit journey, the REAL battle is the eating part. People will do the workouts, but then they won’t change how they eat. Blows my mind. They go together y’all!!!

*Off my soapbox and back to meal prep*

One reason I’m writing this post is because people “hear” meal prep, but they’re not exactly sure what that is, or they see the foods in those little plastic containers and have no idea what to put in them–so basically, it’s to clear up that confusion. And the second reason is so when I get the question as I do A LOT, I can say, “Here you go–read this post.” Win win for everyone!

When I posted that pic {above} a few days ago, the questions flooded in–What’s in there? What did you make? Can you tell me every single thing in the picture? When did you start? When do you do it? How long does it take? Do you freeze it? Where did you buy the food? Do you make all the food yourself? What do you season it with? What is clean eating? Etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. I do feel bad if I didn’t answer everyone’s questions, but I do cardio in the morning before work, work all day, go to the gym after work, get home late, eat, spend time with my husband, try to get maaaaybe one hour of social media in to respond to stuff, and then I go back to bed to repeat it all. {Notice there really isn’t even any more time for blogging during the week–I’m on a mission with this body, y’all–sorry!} That doesn’t leave a lot of time, but again, I do my best!!! Okay, so here we go–I hope to cover it all!

Oh–and I’ll just say, this is what works FOR ME. You may have to change some things around depending on your time, your schedule, your dietary needs, etc. I meal plan so I have my BREAKFASTS, LUNCHES, MIDMORNING SNACK, MIDAFTERNOON SNACK, AND RANDOM EMERGENCY SNACKS ON HAND. I do not pre-make dinners for the week, but I do have a list on the fridge of what dinner will be for that day. My hubs makes dinner Monday through Thursday as I’m at the gym right after work on those nights. {But again, thanks to my handy planning ahead, he knows just what to do!}

meal prep, food prep

1.) Educate yourself!

If you want to eat clean, you need to know what clean eating is. Right? RIGHT?!! I think the Queen of Clean Eating is Tosca Reno. Google her and learn more. Also, if you want to know about my clean eating and the groceries I buy, click here.

2.) Decide which day is your prep day.

It used to drive me batty when people assumed I worked a regular 9-5 and had the weekends off. For the past six years, I didn’t. My schedule was all over the place, so I could never know for sure which day would be my day to prepare as it always changed. This may be your case, so you decide. Now, for the officey people like me who DO work M-F, Sunday seems to be a fabulous day to get it all done.

3.) Make a list.

So that you aren’t completed befuddled at the store and have no idea what to buy, be prepared by having a list with you of what you’ll need. Heck, if you live way out in the country like I do {way, way, way out}, you’ll need to make a list of which stores have which foods that you’ll need. I primarily grocery shop at Walmart, but some of my items can only be found at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s–ahead of time I have to plan out which day I’m going to which store so that I’ll have all of my items for Sunday’s prep. Since I know which day I’m prepping, I know when I need to go to the store(s) to get my items.

4.) Food storage.

Do you have enough containers in which to store your meals? Do you want to store your meals in plastic or glass containers? Do you want the containers that have little dividers in them? Do you have containers of different sizes to hold different types of foods? How about little plastic baggies? What about a lunch box/bag that will hold all of your meals {if you have several meals with you each day}? If you’ll be out at the store anyhow, make sure to pick up some of these items if you don’t already have enough at home.

5.) Food storage.

Yes, I know. I said it again. But I’m speaking about a different type. This time I mean, where are you storing all of these containers? Fridge? Freezer? Before you start cooking, make sure you have the space to put it all. I don’t freeze any of mine except for the little protein waffles. I keep them frozen and then take out a pack the night before so they’ll thaw and then pop ‘em in the toaster in the morning. Like that popular brand of frozen waffles, but mine don’t have all those preservatives and crap in ‘em. {More about the waffles below…} I also only make enough lunches for three days at a time and then Wednesday night, I make two more {for Thursday and Friday}. I like my stuff pretty fresh, but that’s just me.

6.) Cook.

It’s time to cook! But like everything else, you need to have some kind of prioritization with your cooking. Can you be multitasking while something’s in the oven? Probably so. In that case, put that item in the oven while you do your XYZ chores around your house. I like to wake up somewhat early on Sunday and right away put a whole chicken in the oven so it’s roasting while I get in my morning workout.

roasted chickenchicken and sweet potatoes
You also may want to get up and get it done in the morning so it’s all over with and you have the rest of the day to do whatever it is you do. Or you may want to do it in the evening of Sunday night so it’s as close to fresh for the week ahead as you can get it. Do your thing and do what works for you. This is YOUR meal prep!

7.) Pack it up.

Pack, separate, combine, mix–get it into its storage container however you’d like to gather it together. With my lunches, I like to have a protein, a vegetable, and a carb–hence a lot of my chicken, broccoli and brown rice/quinoa packs. I like my snacks to be protein-centered, hence my tunafish or chicken salad or plain Greek yogurts with wild blueberrries. If I’m jonesin’ for an extra snack at my desk, I like to have almonds {just a serving of 20} or some grapes/apple/banana. I most certainly believe in treats–mine just happen to be clean-eating treats, of course, hence the Crisps or Banana Muffins–all made from scratch.

8.) Assess.

If you’re new to this–see what works for you. Did you love one food on Monday but by Wednesday it didn’t taste so good? Did you have enough food? Or too much? Are the containers working out for you? Did you have all the ingredients you needed? And maybe during the week you saw an Instagram pic of something you’d like to try…do you have the necessary items to make it? Which store will you get the ingredients from? When are you going? It’s all one big cycle and starts anew!

And now for my pics. Instead of inserting too many as I went along, I saved them for the end. Here ya go:

meal prep protein waffle

protein waffles
The recipe I use to make them is:

PROTEIN WAFFLES
½ cup old fashioned oats
½ cup low fat cottage cheese
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
Dash of salt {optional}

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend. Pour batter into a hot, non-stick sprayed waffle maker for a few minutes {til lightly browned}. This recipe usually yields me about 8 waffles. Make whatever substitutions you want and play around with it! You can make them into pancakes if you want. I just prefer waffles!

meal prep three meals
Sample lunches of mine–you can see what’s in it as labled and yes, I use Mrs. Dash to flavor!

paleo banana bread muffins, chocolate peanut butter crisps
meal prep protein crisps

I found the recipe for these on BodyBuilding.com. SOOOOOO good. And addictive. So, if you do not have good willpower for portion control yet, do not make them, haha!

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER PROTEIN CRISPS
Ingredients

  • 3 cups Nature’s Path Crispy Rice
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 cup whole oats
  • 1/4 cup crushed almonds
  • 1/2 cup Xylitol brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup smooth unsalted natural peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp. dark unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

    –Pour the crispy rice, protein powder, whole oats, and crushed almonds into a large bowl and shake gently. Avoid stirring to keep the protein powder from settling on the bottom.

  1. In a small glass bowl, combine the brown sugar, peanut butter, cocoa, honey, and vanilla extract and microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring until combined.
  2. Add the peanut butter mixture to the crispy rice mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until every piece is coated.
  3. Spread the mixture evenly into a 9×13 Pyrex dish or use cookie cutter shapes as molds* and fill with the mixture, pressing firmly into place. Place the 9×13 Pyrex dish in the freezer for at least one hour. Allow the crisp to soften a bit before cutting the squares, or simply break off pieces with your hands.
  4. Store in the freezer.

*If using cookie cutters, be sure to remove them before putting the crisp in the freezer.
(Yields 18 servings)

**I made a couple of switcheroos–I didn’t want the calories from the brown sugar so I used four packets of Truvia. I also didn’t have that cereal, so I used Whole Food’s Brown Rice Cereal. Delicious still, and less caloric!

That’s pretty much it. If I left anything out, I do apologize! Feel free to shoot me a question, but the fastest way to get me these days will be on Facebook or Instagram!

Do you meal prep? What foods do you cook? How does it work for you?  :-D

12 thoughts on “How to Meal Prep Like a Champ

  1. I love the fact that you are eating clean and everything is not salads! I see clean eating and being healthy and a lot of people think that is only lettuce and greens. Thanks for setting a good example for the rest of us.

    • Yay!! Thanks so much Amanda and thank you for stopping by! Haha, I loooove sandwiches personally, but this keeps me on track much better! ;-)

  2. I know WAYYYY toooooo many people who fail to plan and it drives me CRAZY because they wind up in the drive through of McDonalds and then after polishing off their burger say to me, “oh gigi, I want to eat healthier”…. DRIVES ME CRAZY!!!! (and they say this even AFTER I say DONT YOU DARE HIT UP MCDONALDS!!!!!)

    I always always always plan!!! I have cans of fish and a can open in my car, along with plastic forks, napkins, salt & pepper packets – EVERYTHING! I should have a mini fridge in there too! LOL! I am known as the girl who whips out grass-fed beef & bunless hamburgers from her purse too! LOL!
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  5. Excellent prep tips and I couldn’t thank you more for sharing your tips! I haven’t been making clean treats but after seeing what you’ve put together I might have to try!
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