Meal Prep Tips for Beginners
Meal prep does not have to be difficult and it certainly does not need to take all day. I meal prep for a couple hours (or less) on Sundays every week because I have a crazy busy work schedule, like most of you. So having meals that taste good and that are easy to prepare is imperative to staying on track with my health goals! Having meals already prepped & ready to go also prevents me from grabbing something convenient, which – let’s be honest – are usually not the healthiest things! A couple hours out of my Sunday is well worth the time & energy I spend in order to make my work week that much easier 🙂 I prepare 4-5 meals for every day for about 5 days worth that I make sure fit my macros. If you are new to tracking macros, click here. If you are new to meal prep, here are my 5 tips to getting started!
- Calculate your macros
- If you have no interest in tracking your macros (which I hope you do!!) then skip this tip & start at #2. If you need some guidance and coaching with tracking macros, I suggest checking into my 12 week coaching program here!
- Don’t overcomplicate it
- Think of the basic macronutrients: protein, carbs & fats and try to assemble meals that include foods from each macronutrient group. By no means does meal prep have to mean that you are following a bunch of 15 step recipes to cook for the week. So, keep it simple – seriously! Simple does not have to mean boring or flavorless either. Here are some quick & easy protein, carb & fat sources to choose from.
- Protein: Foster Farms pre-cooked chicken strips (remember, we’re trying to make this as simple as possible), hard boiled eggs, cooked shrimp, greek yogurt (be careful of the sugars here, buy the plain flavor & add in your own fruit), protein bars & shakes (also be careful of the carb to protein ratio on bars & the sugar content. My favorites are Think Thin, and Pure Protein bars, and NLA For Her protein powder for shakes), tuna packets
- Carbs: brown/white rice (many store sell individual servings of pre-cooked rice that you simply microwave for 60 seconds), tortillas, bagels, oats, sweet potato & baked potato (cook these in the microwave instead of baking to make this prep easy), veggies in a steam bag, rice cakes
- Fats: almonds, oils (cook your protein in this to add fats to your meals), avocado, salad dressings, nut butters
– Once you select some favorites, then build your meals around those. Remember, each meal should include a protein, carb and a fat.
- Here’s a quick guide to give you some ideas also!
- Utilize different kitchen gadgets to cut down on your time
- There are SO many easy ways to cook meals that don’t require you to stand over your stove for hours. I use my crockpot A LOT to cook chicken and other meats. Throw some chicken breast in there with some seasonings, or salsa, maybe a little chicken stock and set it on low for 4-5 hours and it’s done. I mean, it doesn’t get easier than that. I also use the oven for a lot of my meals because I can throw in my protein (like salmon), a carb (potatoes) and some veggies (broccoli or green beans) and cook it altogether in one sheetpan. Another tool I use to help cut down on time (and dishes) is my rice cooker – best. invention. ever.
- Cook in bulk
- Cooking a bunch of stuff at once is what will save you the most time, no matter what it is you’re cooking. I do a lot of grilling in the summer, so I’ll put a ton of chicken or turkey burgers on the grill, along with a few ears of corn and foil wrapped baked potatoes and BOOM – there’s a meal. I also like to cook a little extra that I don’t include with my meal prep, just so I can have it ready to go on hand for dinners, etc.
- Use containers & a bag that can store your Tupperware
- I use an isolator fitness bag with different size containers to take most of my meals to work with me. I’m fortunate enough to have direct access to a fridge and a microwave, which definitely makes things easier! The containers are what I use on Sundays when I am dividing up all of my meals – that way, it’s literally a matter of grab & go in the morning on my way to work!
I hope these tips helped you get started on your meal prep! Keep up with me on Instagram to get some tasty & fun recipes and other healthy tips!