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I am sure we have all heard of meal prepping, however, you also likely think it’s not the easiest thing in the world. Well, you could be correct, which is why I am creating this meal prepping how to article.
You see, there are many things to consider with meal prepping, however, if you break it down, it’s not that complicated. Will it take time? Absolutely. Will it take dedication? You bet. Will it take consistency? You got it! However, it is so worth it! With that in mind, continue reading and learn the information that can help with your meal prep!
Within this article, I will be breaking meal prepping down into 3 distinct sections, ones that will be easy to comprehend, apply and execute! These will include:
- Knowing Your Goal
- Figuring Out What You Need For That Goal
- Let’s Get to Prepping
Knowing Your Goal:
If you have read any of my articles, I am sure I’m beginning to sound like a broken record with all this knowing your goal stuff. There is a reason it is a major contributor to your success, it keeps you focused and sets in you in the right direction to help you succeed.
With this in mind, let’s think about our goal in relation to meal prepping. When we are meal prepping, it is going to be for a specific goal relative to you. This may be fat loss, muscle gain, or just prepping for an overall healthy lifestyle.
These goals will narrow down what our meal prep will look like, from the type of food to the number of meals and portion sizes. Each goal will look different, and to help show you this, I will make a list below with some general guidelines for each goal.
- Fat Loss – (High volume and low calorically dense foods, quality lean proteins, foods you enjoy and can sustain eating)
- Muscle Gain – (Quality calorie dense foods, quality proteins, foods you can eat enough of in a day and will fuel you well)
- Maintaining Bodyweight and General Health – (Foods you enjoy, amounts relative to your maintenance calories, not being too particular/precise)
Figuring Out What You Need:
This is where we start to think about our actual meals, this may include what they will look like, the amounts of them and other factors relative to you. Following the guidelines of the above list, you will look for foods that make sense for your meal prep. So something like a whole turkey, likely not practical for most. How about chicken breast for those looking to lose fat? That would likely be one good option.
I would start in descending order with the above list, to put this into perspective, let’s look at fat loss. This is when talking about our actual food choices. Low calorie, high volume foods would include things like broccoli, your proffered leafy green, peppers, etc. These are foods that will help fill you up, without significantly digging into your allotted calories. For quality, lean proteins, these could include things like chicken, turkey, or lean red meat sometimes. Chicken and turkey are lower calorie, lean proteins. Red meat is typically higher in calories, however, there are benefits that come along with it such as a better taste and being more nutrient dense. Just make sure it fits into your calories. With all of your food choices, make sure you enjoy them for the most part and can sustain it!
As far as the amounts go, this is highly relative to you. For me, I need to meal prep my lunches and an additional snack as breakfast and dinners are made daily. However, for you, it may be completely different.
Maybe you come home for lunch, but are out late, so you need to prep a snack and dinner. Regardless, you need to think about the number of meals you are going to need to prep for a certain time period (3-4 days if prepping twice a week or 7 days if prepping once a week and freezing some meals). Then, you need to think about what is going to be within these meals. Will it be chicken and sweet potato for someone with the goal of fat loss, or lean ground beef and rice for someone trying to build muscle? This is a guideline to get you pointed in the right direction, where the specifics will need to be determined by you.
Let’s Get To Prepping:
Onto the actual meal making! Now that we know our goal, and subsequently the type of food and amounts we will need, it is time to start thinking about preparing it and the logistics. As far as preparing it goes, it’s fairly straight forward, use the kitchen items necessary. What it comes down to is knowing if/what you want for flavouring and the calories within it. This is more for fat loss where you need to be conscious of it. For example, 1 tablespoon of olive oil has over 100 calories in it. These are the types of food where “hidden calories” can come from.
It is more up to you to prepare the food how you like it. I am sure many of you have more experience with cooking then I do anyways, haha. Now for the logistics side of things. You need to think about where these meals will be eaten and how they will be eaten (hot, cold, etc). As well as how you plan on keeping them hot or cold and preparing them for eating.
With this in mind, you need to make sure you have the means to transport them when and how they need to be. For example, thermoses to keep them hot or a freezer bag to keep them cold. Then you need to make sure you have the means of heating them up if necessary. You also need to ensure you actually have the time to eat them. Now your meal prep journey is finished! You simply need to repeat the process!
My Own Meal Prepping:
To put all of this into context, allow me to share with you how I meal prep. First, my goal is to gain muscle, and I am following the Vertical Diet. This means my meals are with muscle building in mind and stay rather consistent.
- Breakfast – Made each morning, typically eggs with spinach and cheese, toast or rice, cranberry or orange juice and occasionally some bacon
- Lunch – These meals are prepped every Sunday for the entire week, with Thursday – Saturdays meals being frozen. They consist of white rice, lean ground beef, chicken stock, baby carrots and usually some milk.
- Supper – Made each day, which consists of white rice and either steak, salmon, another one of my lunch meals or occasionally chicken
- Snack – Prepped every Sunday for the week with Thursday – Saturdays meals being frozen. This meal consists of white rice, ground turkey and sometimes some milk if I need more calories
This is repeated daily, not always bang on, there are some days when I stray from the path. However, that is my own decision and I can afford to do so. As far as my prepping goes, I do it every Sunday, making around 20 – 25 cups of white rice, 4 – 5 pounds of ground beef, 2 pounds of turkey and I am starting to prep some baked baby potatoes. I then portion out my lunches and snacks, throw until Wednesdays meals in the fridge and freeze Thursday – Saturdays meals for future eating.
This is just what I do, and as I am sure you are beginning to understand, there are numerous, numerous ways to meal prep. It is about knowing your goals, figuring out what you will need, prepping the meals and executing, and of course, being consistent and staying the course!
Whew, after reading this article I would be thrilled if you learned your way around meal prepping to some degree, and I look forward to it benefiting, and hopefully kick-starting your meal prepping journey! I thank you for taking the time to read this article, and as always, if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to leave them below and I will be sure to reply!
Until Next Time,
Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.