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Your Complete Guide To Meal Prepping


You're probably reading this article because you want easy to grab meals without having to think, cook, or get too hungry. The purpose of meal prepping is to solve those issues. Most busy people want to have readily available meals that are nutrient dense and take the question out of "what's for lunch?"


Meal prepping can be confusing. Where do you begin? How do you keep food fresh? How long will shrimp last in the fridge? What if I get bored with the same foods?


This guide will help you down the path of meal prepping and planning so eating healthy becomes easier and simple. But, what is the difference between meal prepping and meal planning?


Meal prepping requires you to prepare your meal ahead of time so it is available when you need it.


Meal planning is having a set plan of what you will cook in the future.


I've found my clients are most successful when they meal prep lunch and meal plan dinner.


The Schedule

The following schedule tends to work well with both meal prepping and meal planning:


Lunches (meal prepping):

Mon-Wed: Meal prepped lunches on Sunday, typically the same meal, can vary proteins if desired

Thurs: Dinner leftovers for lunch

Fri: Take-out day


Dinner (meal planning):

Mon-Wed: Meal planned dinners, typically planned on Sunday and all of the ingredients will be shopped for on Sunday

Thurs: Freezer finds or leftovers

Fri-Sat: Restaurant/Eating out


Below is an example of a meal prepped and meal planned week:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Monday

Protein Shake

Meal Prepped Fajita Chicken Salad

Meal Planned: Cauliflower Gnocchi (meatless)

Tuesday

2 Hard boiled Eggs + Apple

Meal Prepped Fajita Chicken Salad

Meal Planned: Steak and Broccolini

Wednesday

Protein Shake

Meal Prepped Fajita Chicken Salad

Meal Planned: Salmon Arugula Salad

Thursday

2 Hard Boiled Eggs + Apple

Leftover Salmon & Arugula Salad

Freezer Finds

Friday

Protein Shake

Take-out

Restaurant

Saturday

Avocado Toast

Restaurant

Sunday

Greek Omelet

Grilled Chicken and Asparagus


The Meal Components

Now, for the information that truly matters! What are the components to your meal prepping? To maximize nutrition, the following macros should be incorporated in each meal, including your meal prepped lunch:


+ protein: preserves and rebuilds lean muscle tissue, will not spike blood sugar and is very satiating

+ fat: keeps you fuller for longer, sustains blood sugar

+ fiber (carbohydrate): helps aid in digestion, provides energy

+ micronutrients (greens): provides bulk without excess calories and is loaded with vitamins+minerals


On Sunday, you should meal prep your protein and vegetables. This can include your fiber source if it is brown rice or potatoes (fiber does not need to be a heavy carbohydrate. Remember, vegetables are also fiber sources!). Your fat source and micronutrients (greens) should be added before eating to preserve freshness.

Below are my favorite items to meal prep in each category. From here, you can mix and match to make fun combinations!

Protein (meal prep)

Chicken (thighs, breast, ground)

Beef (ground)

Steak (grilled, roasted)

Shrimp (grilled, pre-cooked, sautéed)

Salmon (grilled, air fried)

Tuna (canned)

Pork Chops (grilled, pan-fried, sautéed)


Fat (top before eating)

Fiber (meal prep)

Micronutrients (top before eating)



Prepping

After deciding your schedule and what you're preparing.. it's time to prep!


On Sunday, plan to make your proteins and fiber sources. You can prepare your proteins many ways; grilling, baking, sautéing, air frying, or even the new popular "smoking". Meats will last around three days and fish will last two days. I may be playing it safe here, but salmon after three days just doesn't sound good. So If you meal prep seafood on Sunday, it should be consumed by Tuesday to ensure freshness. Meats will typically last one day longer.


Sometimes fiber sources can be hard to meal prep. Personally, I don't like cooking vegetables and eating them days later. Therefore, a great option is to keep frozen bags of vegetables that are easy to heat the day of. This would mean cooking the vegetables and assembling the lunch the day of consuming it (assuming you have meal prepped your proteins).


If this takes too much thought, then plan to make your fiber sources on Sunday. Steaming vegetables is an easy way to cook them without getting soggy in the fridge. I also enjoy grilling vegetables on skewers. These should be consumed within three days maximum.


Everything you meal prep on Sunday should be gone by the end of Wednesday. This makes Thursday a great day for dinner leftovers. You're going to want something new and different by this day and it will keep you motivated to eat healthy.


On Friday, I encourage you to follow the meal component formula while ordering takeout. This may mean choosing the fiber-rich salad at the sub shop or opting for grilled chicken instead of chicken fingers. Keep your meals full and satisfying with fat and fiber sources.


Recipes

Below are some of my favorite recipes to meal prep. They are easy and require minimal ingredients. Choose one to try this week and set yourself up for healthy meal success!


Balsamic Glazed Steak (protein)

Herb Roasted Chicken (protein)

Cabbage Slaw (fiber, fat, micronutrients)

Brown Rice Tabbouleh


If you need extra assistance in meal prepping and planning, please inquire about my nutrition consults (phone). This is the best way to see weight loss success.

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