I’ve had a quite a few questions about my meal prep and the food I eat during the week, so I thought I’d do a basic run down of how and what I meal prep.
Why meal prep?
During the week, I am so busy between work, meetings, appointments, work outs, ‘me’ time, and ‘us’ time, that if I don’t have readily accessible foods in the fridge, I’ll most likely order take out, go through a drive thru, or make quick and easy meals like boiled perogies or pasta (mmm…carbs). In the morning as I’m heading out the door, I take about 3 minutes to take my supplements, make Keurig coffee, and throw a few tupperware containers with the day’s food in a reusable bag. Meal prepping on Sunday sets me up for an effortlessly healthy week.
If I plan all of my meals/snacks at the beginning of the week, I’m also less likely to deviate from the plan and make unhealthy food choices. I totally believe in balance, and I am quite indulgent at times, but a general plan of lean, clean, and green foods helps to keep me healthy and happy.
I always start by planning every meal and snack for the week either in My Fitness Pal on my phone, or in a notebook. I have my week start on Monday and end on Sunday. If I am being stricter with my nutrition, I use My Fitness Pal to plan my meals based on calories, protein, carbs, fibre, and fat, and generally eat breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner. When I’m not working toward a specific goal and am just maintaining my weight, I plan my meals with the basic template of breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. *
When it comes to meal prep, the less I have to do, the better. So I plan foods and recipes that will make 4-6 servings for breakfasts and lunches, and recipes that make 4-6 servings for dinners (I cook for myself and my boyfriend for dinner, so a 4 serving dinner lasts us 2 days). When I look for recipes I look for meals that are high in lean protein, low in dairy and grains, and high in fruits and veggies. (Note: for personal dietary reasons, I’ve cut dairy almost entirely out of my regular diet, and that will be reflected in the recipes below).
I spend entirely too much time on Pinterest, so most of my recipes come from there. I do also use recipes from Tone It Up and Whole 30 quite often. Almost all of the recipes I use are really easy. If they’re more involved, I only plan to use them when I know I’ll have time to make them, and they’re usually do good that they’re worth the extra effort.
I usually make a grocery list and go grocery shopping on Sunday morning/early afternoon, and then spend 3-5 hours cooking and portioning food. It does take a long time, and it does require a lot of tupperware and dishwashing. But it is so worth it! Just throw your iTunes on shuffle, and bop around your kitchen while you cook up a storm! By the end of meal prep on Sundays, I usually have 5 containers of breakfast for the week, 5 containers of lunch for the week, one or two dinner recipes made and in tupperware, fruits and veggies washed and prepped for other dinners and snacks during the week, snacks portioned, and lemon cut up for waters during the week.
Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. I love sweet, and I love savory, and I love a good breakfast to start my day off on the right foot. I plan breakfasts that are high in protein (breakfast typically follows a cardio and strength training workout for me), fruity, and filled with complex carbs.
Some of my favourite breakfast recipes are:
- Triple Berry Overnight Oats (1/2 cup dry oatmeal, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 tbsp. black chia seeds, 1 tbsp. honey or agave nectar, 3/4 cup frozen mixed berries; keeps in the refrigerator for 3 days)
- Blueberry Protein Bars (Tone It Up)
- Green Juice (1 apple, ginger, 1/2 cucumber, handful of kale, handful of spinach, handful of fresh parsley, 1/2 lemon, hemp hearts; keeps in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 3 days)
- Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies
- Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies
- Protein Pancakes (2 eggs, 1 mashed banana, 1 scoop Vega Protein Powder, cinnamon, vanilla extract –> add nuts, raisins, or fruit on top or in batter to flavour)
By lunch time, I’m usually definitely ready to eat something. I need my lunches to be satisfying, but light, and not require any heating up. I usually go for some type of salad, be it spinach, green leaf, chopped, or quinoa.
Here’s a few of my go-to’s:
- Everything Quinoa Salad
- Root Up Apple Down Salad (Tone It Up)
- Greek Salad (dressing: olive oil, red wine vinegar, parsley, garlic)
- Avocado & White Bean Salad
- Moroccan Chickpea Salad
Dinner is always the most fun meal for me to make. Dinnertime seems to offer so many more choices than other meals. I like a variety of different lean meats and vegetarian dishes, but my boyfriend isn’t a huge fan of meals that don’t have chicken in them. We rarely eat red meat, and he doesn’t eat seafood, so chicken breast is out go-to. I look for recipes high in protein, high in veggies, and low/moderate in complex carbs, fruit, and dairy.
A few of our favourites are:
- Skinny Italian Beef and Peppers
- Southwestern Kale Power Salad
- Cajun Chicken (I substitute the rice for quinoa)
- Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai (Vegetarian)
- Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Soup (Whole 30)
Snacks need to be high in protein, but low in calories for me. Mid-morning snacks, when I have them, are usually one serving of fruit.
Afternoon snack ideas:
- Kind granola bars
- Thirsty Buddha Coconut Water
- peppers and hummus
- Protein Smoothie (Vega Protein Powder, unsweetened almond milk, ice)
- 1/4 cup almonds & 1/4 raisins
- Wasa crackers with mashed avocado, shrimp & chilli powder
Meal prep prep looks different for everyone, but this is how it works for me. Not all recipes I’ve tried have turned out, and not all recipes have been as delicious as I had hoped. But it’s fun to try new recipes and expand your cooking repertoire!
If this post was helpful for you, please Let me me know how your meal prep goes!
*I typically burn 200-300 calories during my morning work out when I’m using My Fitness Pal and being stricter with my routine, so I eat between 1400-1500 calories, and make sure I’m within 10 g of my protein, carbs, fibre, and fat daily goals. When I’m just maintaining, I don’t pay attention to any of those things, and just focus on eating lean, whole foods.